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Robert Oster 1980S - Dusky Pink


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Robert Oster 1980s - Dusky Pink


Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. With this mini-series he gives us a conglomeration of colours inspired by the anything goes world of the 1980s. These inks fit my personal preferences: muted pastel-type colours with great shading.


In this review I take a closer look at Dusky Pink, a dim muted purple with a definite vintage feel. The ink feels sub-lubricated in dry pens like the Lamy Safari. Saturation is very low here, but there is still enough contrast with the page to make for easily legible writing. What this ink really needs is wet pens and broader nibs. It will then reward you with a beautiful well-saturated - but still toned-down - purple colour that exhibits great shading. Simply superb!


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 the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. As you can see, Dusky Pink is quite faint at the lower saturation end, but reaches a much darker purple colour when fully saturated. The colour remains muted across the saturation range, which I personally like. The ink has a definite vintage vibe to it.


Like most Robert Oster inks, Dusky Pink has zero water resistance. Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text, leaving next to nothing on the page. The chromatography seems to suggest that a faint rose-red residue remains, but don't let this fool you. What is left on the page after water damage is completely unreadable. Smudging is not a problem though - which is what I typically care about.


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 Lamy Safari fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib Lamy Safari
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib Lamy Safari
  • Origin of the quote, written with a Pelikan with M cursive italic nib
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Lamy)

Dusky Pink is a well-behaving ink on most paper types, with no visible feathering. The ink dries quite quickly around the 5 second mark (with the M-nib Lamy Safari). For some reason, Dusky Pink reacts weirdly with some types of paper, a.o. the Moleskine and HP printing paper. Here the ink looks just sick ... ugh! As can be seen from these writing samples, Dusky Pink looks at its best with broad nibs or wet pens, where you get nicely saturated writing with beautiful shading.

I also show the back-side of the different paper types at the end of the review. No troubles there, except with the Moleskine and Generic notepad paper, which show significant bleed-through. All in all, a well-behaving ink (if you avoid the few papers where the chemistry gets weird).





Writing with different nib sizes

The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. All samples were written with a Lamy Safari, which is typically a dry pen. I also added a couple of visiting pens - a TWSBI VAC mini with M-nib, and a wet-writing Pelikan with an M cursive italic nib. The ink's shading really starts showing up once you go to M-nibs or broader. With wet pens, the ink becomes much more saturated, while still keeping its toned-down muted appearance.


Personally I think Dusky Pink should be combined with wet pens and broader nibs. Below is a writing sample on Paperblanks journal paper, showcasing the diffence between a Lamy Safari M-nib (dry pen) and a wet-writing Pelikan with M cursive italic nib. For me personally, the writing with the wet Pelikan looks simply great.


Related inks

To compare Dusky Pink with related inks, I use my nine-grid format with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test - all in a very compact format. Dusky Purple fits nicely with my other muted purples, and is different enough to warrant its own place.


Inkxperiment - zen at the lake

As a personal challenge, I try to create interesting drawings using only the ink I'm reviewing. For me, this brings quite some extra fun to the hobby, and these single-ink drawings present a real challenge at times. With these small pictures, I try to give you an idea of what the ink is capable of in a more artistic setting. For this drawing I started off with HP Premium photo paper. I then painted in a background with heavily water-diluted ink. Next I used Q-tips and multiple ink/water ratios to draw the lake. The horizon line, and the rowing boat were painted with pure Dusky Pink. As a final touch, I added the pine trees on the mountain slope with a B-nibbed Lamy Safari filled with Dusky Pink. The resulting mini-picture gives you an idea of what can be achieved with this muted purple as a drawing ink.



Robert Oster 1980s Dusky Pink is a pastel-toned muted purple that totally fits my personal tastes - no wonder I like it ;-) Be aware that the ink looks quite unsaturated when using dry pens, and shows sub-par lubrication in fine nibs. Pair this ink with a wet pen and broader nibs, and the result is pure joy. In my opinion, Robert Oster produced a fine ink with this one.

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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You did it again! Another splendid review!! I think I like it -- although as everybody knows I usually loathe pinks -- because the dustiness has evidently chimed in. I see a hue of lavender there somewhere. Funny that those offsets away from pink were harvested after a toss of turquoise/south-sea-blue.

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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Thank you. This ink looks very attractive in your review. In fact, I almost always like the way that Oster purples and lavenders look in swabs and reviews, but my pens are not wet enough for them.

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Thanks for the review. I could see myself maybe using this ink but I'd want to see a comparison with J Herbin Rose Tendresse (which I thought I'd like, but there was this weirdness about the color that turned out to set my teeth on edge and I couldn't figure out what it was about the color I didn't like).

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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Your reviews are simply fantastic! So thorough and beautifully presented. Thank you so much for taking (I imagine a lot of) your time to prepare and post your tests!

. . .

On the plus side for my wallet, this ink is completely not for me. The color, the lack of water resistance, the paleness when combined with no additional hues peeking through. Eek.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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... Thank you so much for taking (I imagine a lot of) your time to prepare and post your tests!


Thanks for your nice comment. These reviews do indeed take time to prepare, but it's quality time that I enjoy a lot, and that let's me relax from my daytime job. To be really honest, my favourite part is doing the inkxperiments. I love to tinker around with new inks to see if I can create something nice and interesting with it. Sometimes it works, sometimes the result is only so-so, but it really is the process of creation that I enjoy the most... starting from a blank page and trying to create a small drawing using only the ink, water and some pens & brushes.




(photo taken in the evening under artificial light - the colour of the ink is totally off here, the real colour is like shown in the review)

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This is a double treat! Another excellent review AND insight into inkxperiment .


I really like this colour family, however my two bottles of Monteverde Rose Noir will keep me away from adding this RO.

Sidenote - Rose Noir is also quite dry, likes Pelikans and has good water resistance.


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Ohh yes, the extra insight was fun to see indeed! I love the watercolor mixing palette and the plastic (?) sheet under watercolor drawings. Very cozy setup.


Ive remembered that my Sailor Ink Studio #237 is somewhat similar to this ink - going to do a fill and play with it.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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Excellent review as always. As you recommended, I much prefer the color with a wide, wet nib. I love your studio setup. I am not sure I am as brave to have my painting area so close to electronics.

"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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