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Ink Shoot-Out : Diamine Jade Green Vs Robert Oster Sublime


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Ink Shoot-Out : Diamine Jade Green vs Robert Oster Sublime


Winter is coming to my part of the world, which means that outside it’s damp and dark and depressing. Well… never mind – there’s always an ink to improve your mood, and make you think of the spring season with yellow-green grassy colours. I got a sample of Robert Oster Sublime from Catherine at Sakura, and couldn’t miss the similarities with Diamine Jade Green. Time to do a detailed comparison, and find out which of these is the better ink.




Enter... the Ink Shoot-Out. A brutal fight spanning five rounds, where (in this case) featherweight inks do battle to determine who is the winner. In the left corner – the English reigning champion: Diamine Jade Green. In the right corner, the challenger from Australia, Robert Oster Sublime. Let’s get a big round of applause for our champions! May the best ink win…


Round 1 - First Impressions




These are indeed featherweight inks … a very light yellow-green colour, with little contrast to the page with my Lamy Safari M-nib on Rhodia N°16 notepad paper. These inks are not my piece of cake … my guess is that they require broad nibs and non-glossy paper to shine. Both inks are a type of lime-green or yellow-green, that looks fresh and reminds me of springtime. They look quite similar, but there are some differences:
  • Jade Green wrote much drier than Robert Oster Sublime, resulting in a less saturated line of text, and really low contrast with the paper.
  • RO Sublime has visibly more yellow undertones
  • In my opinion, shading with Sublime looks nicer than with Jade Green
On first impression I preferred the more yellow-green appearance of Sublime. In comparison, Diamine Jade Green is more of a lime-green type of ink. Also, the RO ink was much better lubricated and wetter - Diamine Jade Green wrote really dry and the written text looks too undersaturated for my taste. As such, this round is a definite win for the Australian challenger. Well done, matey!
Round 2 - Writing Sample

The writing sample was done on Rhodia N°16 Notepad with 80 gsm paper. Both inks behaved flawlessly, with no feathering and no show-through or bleed-through. With the fine nibs, Diamine was a noticeably drier ink – in comparison, Sublime was much more pleasant to write with. With the broad nib, both inks were on par with each other. The Robert Oster ink disappointed with the EF nib – here the writing looks really spindly and ugly. The Diamine ink handled the EF nib much better.
Colourwise both inks look similar in writing, although there is definitely more of a yellow undertone in the Robert Oster ink. Both inks also shade nicely, without too much contrast between light and dark parts. This aesthetically pleasing shading gives more character to your writing.
For this round, the focus is on writing, and here both inks showed some weak points. RO Sublime lost points with the EF nib, and Diamine lost points because of its drier writing. Neither ink made impressive moves in this round – the crowd is boo-ing and urging the combatants to put more spirit into the fight. As far as the judge is concerned, this round ends in a draw.
Round 3 - Pen on Paper

This round allows the batlling inks to show how they behave on a range of fine writing papers. From top to bottom, we have : FantasticPaper, Life Noble, Tomoe River and Original Crown Mill cotton paper. All scribbling and writing was done with a Lamy Safari M-nib.
Both champions did well, with no show-through nor bleed-through. But this round is not about technicalities, it is about aesthetics and beauty. Are the fighters able to make the paper shine ?
One thing is immediately apparent: being yellow-green inks, you should not use them on yellowish paper, where these inks lose their punch, and look drab and uninteresting. The inks did really well on the more absorbent Fantasticpaper (top), where they look glorious. In written text, Robert Oster Sublime leaves a more saturated line, and manages to look a bit better. Personally, I also prefer the heavier yellow undertones in the RO ink.
Both inks are on par with each other, but Sublime has a slight advantage in the looks department. For this round, victory is granted to Sublime. Not a knock-out, but definitely a win on points.
Round 4 - Ink Properties

Diamine Jade Green dried quickly around the 10 second mark, with RO Sublime taking almost double this time to dry. As such, you need to be more careful with the Robert Oster ink not to smudge your writing. Even with a dried line, Robert Oster Sublime is much more prone to smudging – this is really obvious when dragging a moist Q-tip cotton swab across the text lines.
To test water resistance, I dripped water on the grid and let it sit there for 15 minutes, after which I removed the water with a paper towel. Both inks are completely lost in this situation. All the ink disappears, and no readable residue is left. Your writing will be lost forever! This is also clear from the bottom part of the chromatography, that clearly shows that the ink completely detaches from the paper.
For this round, another disappointing fight. Neither champion offered strong moves, although Diamine scored a point for its smudge resistance. This round goes to the English ink, on points. But c’mon guys, a bit more spirit ! We want to see some punches !
Round 5 - The Fun Factor

Welcome to the final round. Here I give you a purely personal impression of both inks, where I judge which of them I like most when doing some fun stuff like doodling and drawing. Both inks do well, and allow for some nice effects when using a water brush. I really enjoyed using them.
For drawing though, there really is no competition. Robert Oster Sublime completely overshadows Diamine Jade Green. First of all, Sublime is a wetter ink, making it easier to draw with … LEFT HOOK … It also leaves a much more saturated line, giving more punch to your drawings … RIGHT HOOK … Personally, I also prefer the more complex look of Sublime, with its heavier yellow undertones – which makes it the more beautiful ink for drawing … UPPERCUTand knock-out !!! The crowds are cheering. This round is a definite win for the Australian champion.
The Verdict
Both inks are fine yellow-green inks, that really need broad nibs and absorbent white paper if you want to use them for writing. For drawing, they are a great choice, and look very fresh and beautiful. But counting the points, the story is clear: Diamine Jade Green manages to win only one round on points. The Australian Robert Oster Sublime wins one round on points, and delivers a resounding knock-out in the fifth round. This fight thus has a clear winner: Robert Oster Sublime !
Edited by namrehsnoom
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Wow, another of your fantastically well-done reviews. You are a great contribution to this site! Levenger makes a somewhat similar lime green that is a little more fluorescent, called "Always Green." It is one of my spring time inks.

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova





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Great shoot-out! I love the drawing. I actually prefer the Jade Green, but I think it's for the same reason you prefer Sublime - less yellow in the Diamine.

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  • 4 months later...

Although not my cuppa, your shootout series is enlightening and I'm enjoying a cold winter Sunday, perusing your efforts. Thanks for this wonderful shootout series!

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