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[Mini Review] Graf Von Faber-Castell Deep Sea Green


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Disclaimer: I enjoy doing mini ink reviews for my personal reference, and I'd like to share them with others if they might be of help to gain an insight into the ink's appearance and performance. I generally don't have time to put together super comprehensive reviews, like some of our fantastic reviewers here do (thank you so much for your hard work!), but hopefully these mini reviews will still be useful as another point of reference.


Graf von Faber-Castell - Deep Sea Green


Recently I became interested in GvFC inks. They seemed overpriced before, and I was severely disappointed with my first encounter with Deep Sea Green. I had bought a set of DSG cartridges for a trip, and when I popped one into a pen in my hotel room and saw the watery, pale tealy green, I thought "This is not what I expected". This is a very dry ink with low lubrication, so that did not predispose me toward it either. I went to a local fountain pen shop next day, bought a set of Visconti Sepia cartridges, and did not look back. That was over a year ago.


Fast forward to a few months back. I kept looking at the writing made with this ink as well as at reviews. I have also since become more enamored with inks that 1. have a kind of watercolor look with color complexity (can see constituent dyes separate a bit) and 2. inks that are not so wet that they can provide high line definition with very thin hairlines. To that extent, high lubrication and wet flow are generally exclusive of good line definition and are more synonymous with increased line thickness. There was a good sale on GvFC inks around Black Friday, and so I ended up with 5 bottles of various colors, including this one.


I'm very happy to own this ink and other Graf von Faber-Castell inks. It is true: the bottles are absolutely luxurious--the best I have experienced to date of any brand. The way the bottle cap opens so smoothly and is very heavy is just so pleasant. I even love the scent of color print dyes in the cardboard packaging. It's all just perfectly appealing and tactile.


The inks themselves tend to be dry, with varying degrees of lubrication depending on color. Deep Sea Green in particular is not well lubricated. However, it is a sacrifice I am now willing to make given the aforementioned conditions.


What's cool about this ink is that it is not monochromatic, and it really does look like watercolor. It can be more or less gray or blue, or green depending on concentration, paper, and illumination.


Drying time is very fast to super slow--depends on whether you've let it sit and concentrate in a pen. At the end of this review, I am attaching a photograph of how this ink looks once it sits in a pen for a month and becomes fairly concentrated. The periods take close to half an hour to dry at that point (or even longer), until they stop smearing easily. That's an extreme case, but some inks do this more than others. Another ink that behaves like this in concentrated form is J. Herbin Lie de The, which can take multiple hours to fully dry in the dotted spots.


Water resistance is quite good: well-defined gray line remains.


This ink is an excellent candidate for watercolor-type drawings.


While Deep Sea Green can look somewhat similar to J. Herbin Vert de Gris, the two are very different in details. Vert de Gris has a very chalky pastel finish with some watercolor wash, Deep Sea Green looks like watercolor with more in-line hue variation.


Bottom line: A+ art and specialty ink. Beautiful and soothing for personal journaling for those who appreciate nuances of color and finish on good paper. I would not recommend it for note taking or professional environment due to lack of lubrication, dry flow, and rather pale appearance when fresh. If you let it concentrate, you will encounter long drying times, which is also not good on-the-go.



Papers used in this review are:

Fabriano Bioprima 4mm dot grid - a kind of ivory color, lightly textured, uncoated

Kokuyo loose leaf A5 - lightly coated white Japanese paper

Nakabayashi Logical Prime notebook - coated and super smooth ivory-toned Japanese paper, shows things like sheen and hue variation pretty well











Fabriano Bioprima, ivory:








Highly concentrated version that took forever to dry in the "dots"; paper is Kokuyo Loose Leaf A5. Ignore the comment about using this for notes and professional environment -- that's before I realized just how long it takes to dry like this..


Edited by Intensity

“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 for the very nice review of this ink.

I see the qualities you mention, although it's really not my colour, I just cannot make myself like these teal leaning blues.

Many thank for the very nice list of blues in comparison, very tidy writing is the best possible comparison I desire to see, I just cannot guess what colour I will get nib on paper when I see all those swabs.

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Thank you, excellent review and very interesting ink; it seems somewhere in between Vert de gris, as seen online since I don't have it, and Hisoku which I do have. I also got something similar with Bleu Austral and a piece of cellophane between feed and nib of an EF Ambition, although I stopped using it that way since it was bound to end staining the wooden barrel.


Hisoku and Aonibi are also low lubrication inks, but if you give them time to populate the feed they flow perfectly, and seem to have a preference for Pelikans with wider than fine nibs.


It's a shame GvFC ins are so expensive.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."


B. Russell

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Thank you for the excellent review. I like colors in this family, and have been thinking of trying Vert de Gris, so it was interesting to read your comparison of the two inks. I enjoyed looking at the list of comparison inks, too.

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As an all-purpose ink, I'd steer you toward Vert de Gris. It is cheaper to try out in a bottle (though similar enough price per ml), flows better with better lubrication, and is a gorgeous ink -- good for water brush drawings too. I've done a mini-review of that one as well:




Vert de Gris is similar but not the same as Deep Sea Green. The two inks can be pretty different.





Vert de gris: high density matte/chalky pastel surface finish kind of tealy gray.

GvFC: more translucent watercolor look with more color variation, a bit more green overall.

Edited by Intensity

“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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Outstanding review! Thank you for taking the time to do this! I really appreciate your comments about your first impressions and how you worked through them and what you believe is the best use for the ink. IMHO, this is what makes a good review. Please continue with them!


I, too, did not have a good first impression because of the slow drying. I quickly realized that I needed to use blotter paper when writing with this ink. I do like the color, but there are others in this same general shade that I like better.


Again, well done!

"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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As an all-purpose ink, I'd steer you toward Vert de Gris.



Wow, thank you for the additional helpful comparison and comments! They both look like lovely inks, but I think you may be right that Vert de Gris is more of what I'm looking for. Is there a specific term for ink enablers?

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