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3 De Atramentis Brown Inks (& A Few Other Tobacco Leaves!)



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3 De Atramentis Brown Inks that I couldn't find distinguished elsewhere.

Umber : Havanna : York Brown

(with a few other tobacco leaves thrown in)

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Impressions:

 

De Atramentis packaging can be its own worst enemy! I used to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of different packaging options the De Atramentis inks come in - it's not fun to scroll through a dozen or more pages of options, without knowing which colors are duplicates. All resellers should pay attention to this! Once I figured how to separate out the Standard Inks from their multiple re-packagings (Vanness make this easy) I could start to look at what was available. I knew I liked their greys (Fog and Cement) but golly, looks like they a good range of browns are available. Unfortunately while some are well reviewed (Khaki, Maroon), others seem both very close in tone, with very few reviews available to help tell them apart. As I have become somewhat obsessive recently with exploring the borderland where warm becomes cool, green becomes yellow and brown becomes green, there seemed to be several options here worth exploring.

 

Comparing swatches is not enough! Here are the swatches from Vanness (with all respect to copyright etc):

fpn_1526233791__de_atramentis_earths_van

Edited by pgcauk
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Those are nice swatches! Now here's a bunch of the same inks from Everything Calligraphy (with all respect to copyright etc.). Nice swatches too, but in several cases the colors seem utterly different!

fpn_1526235115__de_atramentis_earths_eve

Edited by pgcauk
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Only options seems to be:

a) Throw up your hands! (Valid option, but rubbish!)

B) Do it yourself!

 

I managed to get samples of Havana and Umber, and liked them enough to stump up for a full bottle of York Brown.

Impressions II:
All three have some things in common; low saturation (Havana and Umber especially) and decent water resistance. Although they are clearly cousins, their distinctions are quite fascinating; Havana's undertone is a lovely sunshine yellow (although very much in the Brown range when compared to, say, J. Herbin Ambre De Birmanie), while Umber is cooler and greener. All three remind me of Renaissance sketchbooks and, while their low saturation may not be so suited to fountain pen use (?), they seem ideal for dip-pen and wash sketching.

I would love it if people could post their own samples to take this topic further, maybe creating a reference for all (6, 8, 10, 12?) De Atramentis Browns?

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inkstainedruth

Interesting. I got to see a swab of York Brown at Birmingham Pens (back when they still had the B&M store in Pittsburgh -- rumors abound as to whether Nick has found another location yet). And I didn't like it. So I got a bottle of Van Dyke Brown instead. Not sure if there are "relabeled" inks that are that color (I have it in my head that it's the same as Havanna Brown, but both are listed on the De Atramentis website as being "standard" line inks.

Thanks for doing the comparison -- love the artwork.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Hi Ruth,
Yes, Birmingham Pens have some of the better swatches on their website, but from their images York Brown looks almost identical to Umber!
York Brown has all of the appeal of good gamnivorous droppings (my mother was a keen gardener!)! I have a similar reaction to Robert Oster's Khakhi, which is both awesome and somewhat repugnant at the same time! I'm thinking these might be great for sketchbook work, but using them for correspondence etc. could easily loose you friends!
. . . . having plumped for York, I'm beginning to wish I had gone for Umber instead :headsmack: !
My impression was that Van Dyck was really quite dark and chocolatey?

Edited by pgcauk
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Barkingpig

Thank you for one of the most beautiful expressions of some of my favorite colors of ink!

 

I come from a tobacco state & although it was grown on our Family's land, I never had the "up close & personal" experiences with it. I surely saw it curing in the barns & recognize the colors you share with us.

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inkstainedruth

My impression was that Van Dyck was really quite dark and chocolatey?

 

It's not super dark (not as dark as say, Diamine Macassar) but it is a dark sepia brown.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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The Diamine's have been my brown inks hitherto:
Sepia / Ocher = Yellow(ish) Brown

Burnt Sienna = Orange Brown

Rustic = Red Brown

Macassar = proper (warm) brown!
. . . but the "cool brown" territory remains intriguing!

These De Atramentis inks have opened up a whole different perspective on the topic, and I am interested to learn from their different perspective!

 

My "Macassar" pen is still in shock with York Brown at the moment (I love Macassar, but I was getting tired with all that smearing (Ancient Copper begone!)). In a dip pen at least there seem to be genuine possibilities?
Umber strikes me as a great ink, but horribly "subtle", so now I have to figure the pens, nibs, and papers that will allow it to sing?

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Interesting. I got to see a swab of York Brown at Birmingham Pens (back when they still had the B&M store in Pittsburgh -- rumors abound as to whether Nick has found another location yet).

 

I, for one, hope that Nick finds another place. Although I am unlikely ever to visit Pittsburgh, I think Nick is one of those good guys in this business who deserves to succeed, and Lord knows we need more good brick & mortar pen stores. I support him whenever and however I can.

 

Speaking of rumors, I saw elsewhere today that Pelikan (mirabile dictu) might release an M1000 with the Stresemann binde this year. This would be an elegant looking pen, and I would order one immediately. Even if Pelikan did an M600 in Stresemann, I would probably go for it, since I have several awesome custom-ground M600 nibs already. (If it's the M1000, I'll resume my awesome collection of custom-ground M1000 nibs.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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inkstainedruth

One heads up about the De Atramentis inks, especially the non-"standard" lines: relabeled inks have been known to change what they've previously been, with no warning. I had considered trying to order a bottle of De Atramentis Albrecht Dürer (which several years ago was relabeled Silver Grey) directly from their website but the shipping to the US seemed cost prohibitive (Goulet Pens and Anderson Pens didn't carry Dürer). Then Vanness Pens started carrying some of the De Atramentis inks and I took a chance on ordering a bottle from them. And it had changed to be relabeled Anthracite (a shading black)....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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inkstainedruth

Speaking of rumors, I saw elsewhere today that Pelikan (mirabile dictu) might release an M1000 with the Stresemann binde this year. This would be an elegant looking pen, and I would order one immediately. Even if Pelikan did an M600 in Stresemann, I would probably go for it, since I have several awesome custom-ground M600 nibs already. (If it's the M1000, I'll resume my awesome collection of custom-ground M1000 nibs.

Well, when they first came out with the Stresemann in the M800 size, I was drooling. But those are too large and heavy a pen for me -- an M1000 would be ginormous! But at the time I was going "Man, if they came out with this as an M400 size? I would so want one.... " And then they did, and at a time when I really had the budget (for once) to splurge. :thumbup:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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RoyalBlueNotebooks

I like artistic comparisons, great job and thanks for sharing it!

 

But it would be great if you (pgcauk) would type all the names of the inks you compare, so they can show up on the search function of the forum.

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Hello RoyalBlueNotebooks! Thanks for your interest. I was really only thinking to give a side-by-side of the three brown inks that I couldn't find reviewed elsewhere. Most of the other inks being already well reviewed. However, I guess if someone looking for "tobacco colored inks" happened across this topic (and couldn't read my cursive scrawl!), it may be helpful to list manufacturer, names and a brief impression of properties. Here we go then, left to right and top to bottom.

First batch:

Robert Oster Khakhi - plenty of reviews available. Impossible to scan as it appears olive in some lights and caca in others. Fascinating, complex and quite possibly repugnant ink with amazing shading!

De Atramentis Umber - the object of the exercise! I find this tonally the most intriguing of the three, but very pale for fountain-pen use.

Solar Terms #1 - Beginning of Spring I picked this up at the LA Pen Show. This was from a nice range of 24 seasonal inks and the two that I have perform very well. Manufacturer unknown but apparently Chinese (possibly a cousin of PenBBS)? This is a nicely murky green that only reveals its yellow side in the shading.

De Atramentis Havanna - a lovely (but pale) Yellow Brown with good water resistance. Reminds me of the torched sugar on creme brulee! If I get a chance I should post a comparison with Ambre De Birmanie (not brown at all) and Diamine Sepia (much richer and darker - which is not something I ever thought I would say!).

Organics Studio Willow Green - I don't want to talk about this one! Of all these inks this is my absolute favorite color, but unfortunately in my experience it's an almost unusable ink (for fountain pen at least). The color is just on the border of green/yellow/brown but unlike R.O. Khakhi it it manages to keep one finger in the green camp regardless of light conditions. I love this color so much, but both my bottles contain slime and sediment! Would be very happy if anyone knows of a fix!

De Atramentis York Brown - This drawing was my first experience with this ink. I have now had a bit more time to play. I was expecting a kind of herbivore dung brown. Out of the bottle it writes surprisingly chocolatey, but as it dries is gets significantly paler and greener. Dark enough to be legible as a writing ink, but who would want to? I cannot imagine using this for correspondence!

De Atramentis Sahara Grey - I bought this as a possible alternative to my beloved/grieved over Willow Green (see above). It's a similar yellowish green but without the brown component. Anderson's Split Pea Soup? A good Spring Green? Well reviewed elsewhere.

All the above was on Rhodia paper, but I wanted to throw in a couple of other olives, for which my Midori notebook seemed the perfect size:

Diamine Safari - Well reviewed elsewhere. Just after I had settled on Burma Road Brown as my olive I discovered this ink and convinced myself it would have been the better choice. Eventually I cracked and bought myself a bottle (my first venture into having two inks in a similar color range - the beginnings of a slippery slope!), only to find that I prefer Burma Road after all! Safari is better behaved, but with less ambiguity!

Diamine Macassar - Well reviewed elsewhere. This has been my "Brown Brown" for ages and I just wanted to compare it to York. An amazingly rich color. Dark but not black. I was surprised how much red and purple was apparent in the wash on Midori paper. One downside is that this is one of those saturated inks that continues to smear long after it appears to be dry.

Noodler's Burma Road Brown - Well reviewed elsewhere. I just love the unique color of this ink! Behavior is not always the best, but I'm prepared to modify mine to suit!

De Atramentis Sahara Grey - see above. The line holds up well once a wash is applied.

I was so impressed with the performance on the Midori paper compared to the Rhodia that I reprised a few more from Batch #1 as Batch #3!

 

Phew, that took more time than the samples! Hopefully it might be helpful to someone, somewhere?

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Barkingpig

I cannot suggest a fix for ORGANIC STUDIOS inks that have the slime or sediment, (I have experienced both in bottles that were NOT even opened!) but can suggest treating a new bottle with a good dose of PHENOL, upon arrival. I have done same to all mine after discovering the misbehaving ones & haven't had a "dosed" bottle exhibit either symptom since.

 

I suppose the name, "Organic," could be a tip off to the suggestion that it lacks a stabiliser or preservative, I just hadn't had another ink exhibit such behavior & was more shocked to find it in an UNopened bottle. I agree it is a beautiful color & I felt equally protective of OS's Walt Whitman to use the Phenol.

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Thanks for the tip!
Walt Whitman and Willow are two of my favorite colors, too subtle to find equivalents, but you can't ignore sediment!

I may try filtering and treating the current supply to see how that works first.
If that is successful, I may feel more confident in investing in "Wedding Bell Blue"!

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RoyalBlueNotebooks

Hello RoyalBlueNotebooks! Thanks for your interest. I was really only thinking to give a side-by-side of the three brown inks that I couldn't find reviewed elsewhere. Most of the other inks being already well reviewed. However, I guess if someone looking for "tobacco colored inks" happened across this topic (and couldn't read my cursive scrawl!), it may be helpful to list manufacturer, names and a brief impression of properties.

Thank you for the work!

I'm very grateful for the reviews, they're a great resource, but some don't have pictures anymore because the original host website has shut down or has restricted access, etc.

Some have pictures but uploading a whole A4 page to the forum means, so under 2MB, results in letters that are too small for me to see clearly.

Moreover, some pictures are taken under artificial yellow light bulbs, or with barely any light, so there's more yellow or dark gray than actual colors.

I can't fault reviewers because they take the time and energy to share their work with us, and maybe they don't have photo editing programs to lighten up the images, or they don't own a scanner, but for me personally, in, say, a dozen reviews of a color, usually only 2 or 3 are useful to me because I have poor eyesight.

(I know this may sound cruel, but in the Italian FP forum people are generally more outspoken about the quality of reviews so maybe I've come here with a wrong set of expectations).

 

This is a long-winded explanation to why I browse several different sections other than the Ink Reviews section when I'm interested in a color. Threads like this, with nice big images showing a variety of compared colors, are so great. I can see the colors so clearly. That's why I asked for the names of the inks. It would be a pity if a person looked for alternative images of a color, and couldn't find this thread in the search function.

fpn_1502425191__letter-mini.png

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Excellent comparisons! Thank you for the time and effort you spent to do this. This is very helpful.

 

Generally, this color range is not my favorite. But I love DeAtramentis inks. Recently, I picked up a sample of DeAtramentis Sahara Grey. As I said, I generally don't care for "murky greens", but I found Sahara Grey to be quite lively. At some point down the road, I will purchase a bottle.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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Thank you for taking the time to do this review and the wonderful drawing! I love this murky line of browns with yellow-green tints, as you aptly described it above. My bottle of DeA Khaki I got about four years ago looks more like Umber above--I wonder if they've reformulated the color.

 

I agree with you that Robert Oster Khaki is equally mesmerizing and unappealing. I loved its chameleon qualities when I first tried it, but the green tint has put me off buying a bottle.

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