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Robert Oster Signature - Blue Water Ice


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Robert Oster Signature - Blue Water Ice


Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. On his website, he describes our shared love quite eloquently: "Robert Oster Signature originates from one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world, the Coonawarra district of South Australia, an idyllic setting with great influence on the senses. There is my inspiration. It's a joy to share it with you." Well, we are certainly fortunate to have inspiring ink makers like Robert Oster to satiate our thirst for glorious inks.




In this review, I take a closer look at Blue Water Ice. Catherine from Sakura provided me with a sample of this ink to play around with - much appreciated! This particular incarnation of a Robert Oster ink is a cerulean-style blue, that is quite similar in colour to Pelikan Edelstein Topaz or iroshizuku kon-peki. It's a nice vibrant sky-blue, that provides good contrast with the paper in all nib sizes. The ink also writes pleasantly, with a wet and well-lubricated feel to it.




Blue Water Ice shows nice and aesthetically pleasing shading, especially in broader nibs. But even with finer nibs, the shading is present, although less pronounced. Personally, I quite like the expressive shading that this ink displays - not too much contrast between light and darker parts, just as I like it.
To show you the impact of saturation on the ink's look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what Blue Water Ice is capable of in terms of colour range.
Like most Robert Oster inks, Blue Water Ice has zero water resistance. Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text, leaving next to nothing on the page. As the chromatography shows, only a faint blue residue remains on the paper. Smudge resistance is also bad, with terrible smearing of the text. One more thing I noticed: although not water-resistant, the ink clings to your pen's insides, and it takes a lot of rinsing with clean water to remove all traces of ink.

I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:
  • An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
  • 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
  • An ink scribble made with an M-nib fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)
Blue Water Ice behaved impeccably on most paper types, with no visible feathering. Only with the Moleskine paper a tiny amount of feathering is barely visible. The colour looks great across the different paper types, which I also appreciate. Despite feeling wet & lubricated when writing, this ink dries quite quickly within the 5-10 second range (with the M-nib).
I also show the back-side of the different paper types at the end of the review. No troubles there, except with the Moleskine paper, which shows significant bleed-through. All in all, a well-behaving ink.

Inkxperiment – Triangle Seaport
As a personal experiment, I try to produce interesting drawings using only the ink I'm reviewing. I find this to be a fun extension of the hobby, and have found these single-ink drawings a nice challenge. For this drawing I used OCM cotton paper, which has a nice texture to it. The background of the picture was painted with heavily diluted ink (20:1 water/ink ratio). For the scene itself, I used 5:1 diluted ink for the lighter blocks, and undiluted ink for the others. The dynamic range of this ink's colour is not very broad, but it's still possible to get an interesting result. At least you get a good idea of what Blue Water Ice is capable of in a more artistic setting.

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice is a nice cerulean-blue ink, that manages to look good on all of my test papers. The ink shows some prominent but still subtle shading, that is very pleasing to the eye. I really like this ink for writing, because it works very well with my usual F/M nib sizes. A pity that the ink has zero water resistance. My personal opinion: a good-looking ink, but no threat for Pelikan Edelstein Topaz, which remains my king of the cerulean blues.

Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types






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Right now this is my favorite ink and in too many of my pens. I love how this brand is good at shading and it's part of the reason I like Blue Water Ice over my other inks.

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Wow, great review! I've been using Oster Fire & Ice for a while now and it's a very impressive ink. The shading is wonderful. Fire & Ice is a bit darker dan Blue Water Ice.

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A very pleasant color with nice shading. Thanks for reviewing it.

It's hard work to tell which is Old Harry when everybody's got boots on.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great review! Thanks!

I somehow fell down the rabbit hole of ink pH, mainly out of fear of the slow degradation of my pens. Do you know if R.O. has pH info on his inks?

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