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Diamine Dark Forest (150 Anniversary II)


namrehsnoom
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Diamine Dark Forest (150th Anniversary II)

 

The ink maker from Liverpool is one of the staple brands in ink-land. They consistently produce solid inks for a very reasonable price. In 2017, Diamine released their second ink series to commemorate their 150th Anniversary. I obtained my set shortly thereafter, but more or less forgot about them when my attention drifted to Japanese inks. About time to do the reviews. Fortunately, these anniversary inks are still easily obtainable, so if you like what you see you can still get them.

 

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Diamine Dark Forest is another lovely ink in this Anniversary series. A dark & saturated green with strong blue undertones. My first reaction when seeing the ink was “definitely a dark green”. And then I got like “hmm… maybe a dark teal… lots of blue in there”. And after preparing the review material, I got to “well… not a teal yet, but going there.” I love it when inks leave the well-trodden path, and meander between the colour lines. More often then not they gain in complexity and beauty. Dark Forest is no exception – I find it to be a very interesting ink with lots of depth. 

 

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This Diamine ink is very saturated and lays down a dark blue-green line when writing. With a wet-writing pen, the colour can almost turn black. Where the ink gets overly saturated, you can often glimpse a reddish sheen. I like it that the ink looks totally different, depending on the wetness of the nib/pen combination. Teal-leaning in drier pens, and going dark green to green-black in wetter pens. 


To illustrate the colour span of this Diamine ink, I did a swab on 52 gsm Tomoe River paper, where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. Dark Forest has a broad colour span, with a substantial difference between the light and darker parts. This translates to strong (even harsh) shading when writing. Shading is present in all nib sizes, even the finer ones. Personally, my preferences go to soft & muted inks, and this Dark Forest is quite the opposite. But still, I like the complexity of its character.

 

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On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – the ink behaved badly. Tons of smudges, although the text itself remains very readable. Water resistance is almost zero in practice – from the bottom part of the chromatography, I had expected a better result. But no, this ink is very prone to watery accidents. This makes it - for me at least - unsuited for use in the workplace.

 

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I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On each scrap 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 a Lamy Safari M-nib fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a Lamy Safari B-nib
  • A small text sample, written with the Lamy Safari M-nib
  • Source of the quote, written with my Yard-o-Led Viceroy Standard with F-nib
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari)

The multi-paper writing test shows that Dark Forest can cope with a wide range of papers. With the lower-quality papers (Moleskine, copy paper) there is just a tiny bit of feathering,  and a small amount of bleed-through. Drying times are in the 10-15 second range on harder paper, and around 5 seconds on the more absorbent low-quality papers (with the Lamy Safari M-nib).  This dark blue-leaning green works well with both white and creamy paper. 

 

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Because scans don't always capture an ink's colour and contrast with good precision, I also add a few photos to give you an alternative look on this Diamine ink. In this case, the real colour seems to sit a bit between the two.

 

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Writing with different nib sizes
The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing (written on Rhodia N°16 80 gsm paper). All samples were written with a Lamy Safari. I also added a couple of visiting pens: a wet-writing Yard-o-Led Viceroy Standard Victorian, and a Pelikan M120 (which writes quite dry for a Pelikan). As you can see, the ink can look quite different depending on nib/pen combination – almost a teal in the 1.9 calligraphy nib, almost black in the Yard-o-Led. But in all cases quite saturated and with heavy shading. 

 

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Related inks
To compare Diamine Dark Forest 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. The ink that comes closest in comparison is the 2017 LE ink Lamy Petrol, which has just a touch more blue. With Lamy Petrol being unobtanium these days, this Dark Forest could be the replacement you were looking for.

 

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Inkxperiment – excalibur
With each review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I’m reviewing. This is often quite challenging, but it has the advantage of showing the ink’s colour range in a more artistic setting. I enjoy doing these little drawings immensely – it’s quite a fun extension of the ink hobby. Always good for a fun couple of hours.


For this inkxperiment, I had zero inspiration. So I started with word associations to get me going: English ink, dark forest… medieval woods… runes and druids… Avalon… King Arthur… Excalibur. OK - good enough to get the drawing started...

 

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I used an A4 piece of HP photo paper, that I covered with a paper towel on which I dripped water-diluted ink to create the textured background. Next I used pure Dark Forest to paint in some darker patches for the stone & sword, and as a background for the runes. With the side of a piece of cardboard dipped in ink, I added the branches of the medieval forest. Finally, I used cotton Q-tips with bleach to draw in the runes and Excalibur. The result is not a masterpiece, but it gives you an idea of what can be achieved with this Diamine ink in a more artistic context.

 

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Conclusion
Diamine Dark Forest is a saturated blue-leaning dark green that can look substantially different depending on your nib/pen combination – it can span the whole range from green-leaning teal to dark green black. A heavy shader that shows a bit of a reddish sheen in heavily saturated areas. For me personally, this Dark Forest is a bit too dark & harsh, but it’s certainly a complex and interesting ink. I enjoyed playing around with it.


Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib

 

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Backside of writing samples on different paper types

 

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Wonderful, wonderful review as always - thank you so much @namrehsnoom for a Saturday evening treat! I love the addition of the bleach to the inkxperiment too.

 

Sadly, this is a colour that does absolutely nothing for me - despite having and liking a lot of those in the rest of the comparison grid so it's not one I'm tempted by, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the read.

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Thanks, @namrehsnoom!  Great review.  The color isn't for me, but that makes no difference. :)  I really like the background of your inkxperiment - it looks like rippled glass - very cool effect.

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Really enjoyed this review! I love how you made the background with a paper towel to create the forest texture. It made such a cool effect. I'm going to try that technique in my next ink wash. That chroma is outstanding too. Very nice colors going on there.

 

I'd never heard of Fantasticpaper before seeing this review. How would you compare it to Tomoe River or Midori in terms of sheen and shading? Or is it some other reason that makes it your favorite? It looks to have a bit more texture than the other papers, almost like a watercolor paper.

 

 

"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." Psalm 118:29

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Great job as always. This is a great color and I recommend it as a decent alternative to the unobtainium Petrol. It's almost a tad too blue-leaning but I'm currently using it in my green/blue Optima and it's a really good match for the Auroloide.

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

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11 hours ago, axialix said:

I'd never heard of Fantasticpaper before seeing this review. How would you compare it to Tomoe River or Midori in terms of sheen and shading? Or is it some other reason that makes it your favorite? It looks to have a bit more texture than the other papers, almost like a watercolor paper.

TR and Midori are hard-surfaced, while Fantasticpaper uses an absorbent heavily textured paper. I love the way this paper brings out the best of ink colours, and the tactile feedback you get when writing.

From what I could find out online, they use 90 gsm Munken Premium paper (from Sweden) to create their notebooks. But I’m not sure if the company exists anymore … the www.fantasticpaper.de domain seems to be abandoned. Notebooks are still in stock at a number of German shops though.

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2 hours ago, namrehsnoom said:

TR and Midori are hard-surfaced, while Fantasticpaper uses an absorbent heavily textured paper. I love the way this paper brings out the best of ink colours, and the tactile feedback you get when writing.

From what I could find out online, they use 90 gsm Munken Premium paper (from Sweden) to create their notebooks. But I’m not sure if the company exists anymore … the www.fantasticpaper.de domain seems to be abandoned. Notebooks are still in stock at a number of German shops though.

 

Unobtainium paper I guess, at least here in the states. That's too bad. It sounds really good.

 

I don't know how to rep people, but I'd give you points for the Excalibur artwork. That's a great classic film.

"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." Psalm 118:29

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I love these reviews!

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

Create a Ghostly Avatar and I'll send you a letter. Check out some Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 

Don't know where to start?  Look at the Inky Topics O'day.  Then, see inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi @namrehsnoom , thank you for this extensive review.

While I don't like the ink colour so much, I always feel worth to read all your text and to look at all your images (OK, except the water tests, maybe). Not only educating, also entertaining!

From my subjective point of view, I see a lot of masterpieces in each of your reviews! 👍

One life!

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  • 2 months later...

Was researching this ink, stumbled upon your review, and knew immediately it contains everything I need to know about this ink!  Thank you so much for such fantastically thorough reviews.  I was wondering how it compares to Lamy Petrol, and there it is, compared!

“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 thorough review! I'm partial to Diamine inks and will add this one to my ink wish list.

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Excellent review! This is one of my daily inks and I currently have it in a capillary fill Parker 61 F nib, where it leans to green black.

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