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[Ink Review] Graf Von Faber-Castell Gulf Blue



Intensity

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I won't add much to previous fantastic reviews of this ink, such as the ones here: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/335816-gulf-blue-graf-von-faber-castell/

 

But I will add my subjective impressions of using this ink and some more scans and photographs.

 

Graf von Faber-Castell makes a luxury line of inks in beautiful, heavy glass bottles that will decorate any writing desk and will draw the eye. Despite the high price, the bottles contain 75ml of ink, so price per ml is actually reasonable. Considering other brands that sell in 20-30ml bottles for lower prices, but you get 2-3 times less ink. The packaging overall is top notch quality (personal note: I love the scent of the thick paper the box is made with, or maybe it's the ink used to print the graphics on the box).

 

In my experience with 10 colors of GvFC ink, all are a varying degree of low lubrication and dryness. Some might be "liquidy" coming off the nib, but the overall ink flow will not be high. Colors like Moss Green, Cobalt Blue, and Hazelnut Brown are more saturated and a bit more lubricated. Deep Sea Green and Gulf Blue have little to no lubrication and are very dry, and so they benefit from juicy pens with smooth nibs. Or else you will feel every imperfection of your nib and texture of the paper you write on.

 

Recently I have come to appreciate dry inks for the look they can provide if they are made of different hues of constituent dyes. This is the same type of dry flow and lack of lubrication one might find with certain translucent, multi-hue Sailor Manyo, Sailor Ink Studio, Troublemaker, and other inks of that nature. I am guessing the lack of surfactants, low saturation, and low lubrication are necessary to achieve color separation within a line, because some dyes flow farther than others, thus separating into gradients.

 

Graf von Faber-Castell Gulf Blue is a multi-hue powder blue ink. It reminds me of blue hydrangea flowers, with areas of pale aqua-sky blue in dry areas and shifting to lavender in more saturated areas. It has a similar idea to Troublemaker Milky Ocean, but Milky Ocean is comparatively more purple-shifted and slightly more saturated. I highly recommend broad or cursive italic/stub nibs for this ink to get the most of the color gradient effect. The wetter your pen, the better, both for the smoother writing experience and for the ink to be more prominent on paper.

 

fpn_1595705374__dscf5920_2.jpg

 

Here is a scan of a mini-review sheet, paper is ivory-toned Fabriano Bioprima 85g with 4mm dot grid:

fpn_1595706070__img_20200725_0001.jpg

 

 

Graf von Faber-Castell claims their inks are indelible. You can go back and forth about the ISO standard the brand uses, but in practical terms, the ink has some but low water resistance. The purplish line remains behind if you dab the wet writing with a paper towel quickly, and you might be able to read the original writing if the lines were thick enough, as you can see on the scan above (the grid lines are very faint compared to the cursive italic writing). The ink is pale to begin with, and the remaining lines are even more so.

 

Here's a scan of some blue-turquoise inks next to Gulf Blue on ivory-toned Nakabayashi Logical Prime notebook paper:

fpn_1595706216__img_20200725_0002.jpg

 

Photographs:

 

On Tomoe River 52g "white" in a Hobonichi Cousin planner:

 

fpn_1595706431__dscf5940_3.jpg

 

Fabriano Bioprima 85g, using water brushes:

fpn_1595706602__dscf5931_3.jpg

 

Comparison with Troublemaker Milky Ocean:

 

fpn_1595706694__dscf5936_1.jpg

 

Milky Ocean:

fpn_1595706716__dscf5942_1.jpg

 

Milky Ocean:

fpn_1595706764__dscf5943_1.jpg

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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Thanks for the review, I'm really liking this blue!

PAKMAN

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Many thanks from me, too. Yes, hydrangeas' lightness but deepness is the best recollection. Only to be topped off with your recognition of a shading in the direction of lavender.

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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I'm in loss of superlative for your poetic review.... Thanks..:)

Yesterday, I was looking at my hydrangea, the one "blue' that I've got trying to see what you were saying about the blue with a hint of lavender.

I hope you don't mind me adding a photo of a single flower... a blue centre in a sea of lavender....

 

Hydrangea.jpg

 

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Thank you for a great review of an ink I find very interesting. I wonder how it comes out with other nib sizes, flows and evaporation. The closest I can get to a baby blue such as this one is with Kon Peki on an EF Studio; a light Souten would seem to be able to get close but always seems to veer towards something much darker, with lots of sheen. I might have to give Tsuyu Kusa another try in a less saturated variant...

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

 

B. Russell

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You would need to dilute both Kon Peki and Souten to get this baby powder blue color. I'll make a sample writing with a fine nib.

“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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Here's Gulf Blue with a smooth fine nib Parker 51 fountain pen

 

on Fabriano Bioprima 85g ivory-toned uncoated paper (also added some paper towel droplets to show dye spread):

fpn_1595788281__img_20200726_0002.jpg

 

On Nakabayashi Logical Prime notebook paper, ivory-toned, I think coated paper:

fpn_1595788382__img_20200726_0001.jpg

 

On Kokuyo loose leaf paper (I think "sarasara" variety, from JetPens):

fpn_1595788450__img_20200726_0005.jpg

 

Looks somewhat like Diamine Misty Blue. Misty Blue is a touch more green-leaning, but otherwise a similar impression.

 

While the ink is still legible in a fine nib, you lose out on the shading and hue variation. Looks mostly uniform powdery blue on the cool side. There's minute hue variation to lavender, but it's difficult to see. Basically you need areas of more concentrated ink to see visible lavender, so either a wet pen or a broad pen, or both.

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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inkstainedruth

This looks pretty, but I suspect that unless it's used in a broader nib, it may not be all that legible on the page.

Thanks for the review though. This one is a maybe, because I do have a few stubs and italic nibs now.

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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Thanks Intensity! I like the calmness it transmits, after the quest for super saturated inks I finally managed to appreciate the unsaturated ones, like Hisoku and Aonibi, even though they might not get along with just any pen, and can be made to show some saturation with wet pens.

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

 

B. Russell

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  • 2 weeks later...
amberleadavis

A wonderful review.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).



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