Diamine Grape Review

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Purple is not a typical ink color I use due to it being a little out there. However, after a rather amazing experience with Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, I started to see how I could use purple as more of a color for personal stuff. I like to keep a bullet journal going, so I first started to use this ink as a specific color for tracking my tasks for the day. That was almost 2 months ago and I’m still using it to this day. In fact, the 30 mL bottle I had is almost finished and I’m contemplating getting more. I don’t know whether I want to make this a permanent member of the rotation given that Diamine and other brands all have offerings in a similar shade. Personally, by not making something permanent, I can go and get a variety of inks that I’ll be able to review and I might find some other ink that becomes a new favorite. I’m honestly a little stuck regarding this.

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However, you guys came here to learn about how this ink handles, so I’ll get back to the review. The ink is on the darker side of purple, which appeals to me a lot as I can see it being something that fits in with all the other inks I have. The shading is really nice but on the medium side due to how dark the ink already is. I found that you can’t see much difference between the second and third passes as it’s too dark to really tell. It can be exaggerated through the use of a folded pen, like I did in the first photo, but its limited. It’s pretty smooth flowing and the performance is up to Diamine standards, so it behaves well in every different pen I’ve tried it with.

One complaint I have with it is that it feels a little dry when in use. Don’t get me wrong, it flows smoothly, but the actual ink itself makes me feel more feedback when writing. I tried it out in the TWSBI ECO, Lamy 2000, Platinum Preppy and others, but the same feeling of dryness persisted. An example of an ink that doesn’t have this problem would be Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, it has a bit of a slick feeling to it, allowing a smoothed nib to glide across the page. With Grape, it lacks that same feeling, but at the price point that Diamine offers it at, it performs pretty well. If you’re looking for a dark purple with subtle shading at an affordable price, this is a great contender.

 

Diamine Red Dragon Review

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A review that I personally have been delaying for a while now. The main reason is that I just hadn’t been able to get a good chance to use it. The way I review inks is by inking up a daily use pen like my Pilot VP or my Lamy 2000. I use these pens specifically because I know how well they perform with my favorite inks like Diamine Asa Blue, Iroshizuku Shin-Kai and Kon-Peki. I have a solid grasp of how well they perform and by inking one of them up I can get the best grasp on how a particular ink performs. I use them for a week and a half minimum before I’m comfortable enough to voice my opinion on them. The biggest issue I had with this ink is the problem of incorporating it into my daily use.

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As anyone could probably tell by now, I love blue inks and all the shades they come in. One could even say I’m partial to the color blue. I’m not into red inks for the most part as I find no use for them when taking notes for my classes. My notes are done in different notebooks all with different shades of blue. The only other color I have used other than blue is black for the occasional diagram or note of importance. As one could imagine, suddenly transitioning from blue to red would be a little difficult. However, I chose to do so for my marketing class that I took for 6 weeks over summer. I started using Red Dragon halfway through the course and made sure to finish it by the time I was coming back home.

I can say with confidence that I am definitely happy with the experience. The ink shows consistent performance that one can expect out of a Diamine ink, but also be in such a tasteful color. The biggest gripe I have about colorful inks is that they always feel a bit too garish for my taste, I prefer subdued and subtle colors and that’s exactly what Red Dragon is. The shading is nice and visible at the points the nib is lifted off the paper. Its nice and smooth coming out of the nib, much like my favorite Asa Blue and to top it off, its available at the affordable prices that Diamine sets for their inks. I’m probably going to find some way to use this in my daily note taking for the upcoming Fall semester. If you’re looking for a very nice, subdued red ink that performs well, I cannot recommend Red Dragon enough. After I use up this 30mL bottle, I’m gonna go for the bigger 80mL, becuase that’s just how good this ink is.

Masgrimes Leather Calligraphy Writing Pad

Now this was a review that I initially didn’t anticipate doing. While I did initially start this blog off as only a stationary review blog and nothing else, I have since started to review my oblique pens and other calligraphy tools.

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I bought this pad as a step up from my normal style of using newspaper to help cultivate a lighter touch. The problem with newspaper was it was really hard to maintain a constant thickness due to all sorts of different reasons. Sometimes, the ones I picked up didn’t suit me and the bright colors on the page distracted me during my drills. I decided that this would be a good investment and boy was I right about that.

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David had a limited amount of this particular Italian patterned writing pads available and I was able to jump in and snag one before they went out of stock. I was still in my dorm when the package arrived and it was absolutely beautiful to look at in person. The pad was rolled into a cylinder and a little piece of the leather was used to tie it down, allowing it to keep its shape.

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Since it arrived back in February, I’ve been using it all the time. Whenever I sat down to practice, I would always have it ready. It has been a wonderful addition to my burgeoning collection of calligraphy related tools. It has allowed me to cultivate an almost feather-like touch and inhibits the smooth, gliding sensation of my nib every time it touches the paper. If I had one complaint, it would be that I’m not allowed an iron in my dorm to be able to straighten this pad out after traveling with it. Otherwise, it’s an absolutely amazing and affordable tool that will benefit anyone from a calligraphy noob like me to an amazing calligrapher like David.

Hiatus is Over

Hello Everyone,

A lot of things happened since April that made it more and more difficult for me to post. Chiefly, I developed a problem with my laptop that put it out of commission until I could get it fixed once I got home. Immediately after getting home, my family went on a road trip for 8 days and we’ve finally come back and settled down. I would like to apologize as I couldn’t upload anything new having left most of my stationary at home. Now that I’m back, I can start getting back to reviews again. I’ve left it off for longer than I’m comfortable with and can’t wait to get back to posting some new content. The posts I need to make up for are one from April, two from May, two from June and two for July. Seven reviews in total. Starting tomorrow, I will be posting one review per day until I make up for all the ones I’ve missed so far, so look forward to it. It’s great to be back! 🙂

Cheers,

Anchit, The Passionate Penman

Kyokuto Guildford Notebook

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Whenever I find myself in need of notebooks, it’s usually mainly for note-taking and assignments. I found my best notebook ages ago when I first got a 5 pack of Maruman Mnemosyne B5 notebooks from JetPens. Writing with those notebooks was a cathartic experience and no other notebook has ever given me the same feeling whenever I write. To me, the Maruman Mnemosyne line has become the bar I set whenever I write paper reviews. With that in mind, I felt that the blog was really lacking some paper reviews and decided that I needed to try out some new products. So as I was shopping for my spring quarter in early 2016, I stumbled upon the Kyokuto Guildford on JetPens. HAving never heard of this notebook before, I was curious and decided to do some research on it. As it turns out, there weren’t too many reviews from the mainstream stationary blogs I follow, so I decided to get it and put out a review myself.

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The notebook has a very simple design, yet within that simplicity is the sophistication as seen through the ornately embellished patterns that decorate the index page. The color scheme of the notebook is tasteful and bright.

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In regards to the paper, I have to say for such thin paper, I wasn’t expecting it to be so resilient against some pretty wet inks. I used many different inks in this notebook before I wrote this review and the paper withstood all of them, all while providing a smooth writing experience. This particular review was written with a Lamy 2000 M nib inked with Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. The paper simply soaks it up, resulting in quick dry times. This holds true for even inks with longer dry times like Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black. With all the inks, I also noticed that none of them feathered regardless of the nib size of the pen. All of these make the Guildford a solid choice for someone who requires a decent notebook for simple note taking and the like. However, there were some drawbacks that came with these positive aspects. Due to being thin, the paper has a tendency to be affected by the indentations on the opposite side. Ever since picking up pointed pen calligraphy, my writing pressure has gone down significantly, yet it still cause indents on this paper. Along with the indents, come the ghosting and with some inks like J. Herbin emerald of Chivor, it really posed a problem. One reason I simply could not use the Guildford for school more often was the lack of pages and perforation. I usually end up writing about 4-6 pages of notes every day I’m in class. I take a lot of technical courses that require notes to be numerous and comprehensive for future studying. With only 38 sheets, the Guildford would not be able to accommodate the amount of notes I take. Even when I use front and back, with 32 lines of 6mm per page, the notebook would still last less than a month of classes. Also, the lack of perforation means I can never do assignments on this paper and turn it in, as it would both look like and leave a mess.

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The binding is sturdy and does a great job of securing the pages within the notebook. This would be the one thing that I would admit that the Mnemosyne line can improve on. When turned all the way, the cover of the Mnemosyne tends to come loose of the binding and it’s a bit of a pain to realign it again every time. This binding has never failed me even once and is very resistant to bending, unlike the plastic ones present on the Mnemosyne notebooks.

With a tasteful color scheme and classy motifs, the Kyokuto Guildford is a functional and stylish notebook that can take on just about anything you throw at it. The thin paper saves on space and allows the notebook to have a compact form, while the durable covers protect them from wear and tear. The binding is strong and resistant to bending ensuring that you notebook will keep its shape and the pages inside will be protected. While it might not be ideal for doing assignments in with its lack of perforation, it still holds its own against other notebooks out there. I recommend everyone give this notebook a try.

Nock Co. Sinclair

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From its inception in September 2013, Nock Co. has become a household name in the pen case industry. Though there are numerous offerings from well-established pen accessory companies, Nock Co.’s unique and well-designed cases always manage to make them stand out in the crowd. They have since expanded into paper products and have increased the various colors they offer their cases in.

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The list of materials that all the Nock Co. cases are made of simply ooze quality. All cases are made from 1000D Nylon with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) Coating. The coating makes the fabric hydrophobic, simply put, it makes water roll right off. A welcome addition as my clumsiness has led to water being spilled on my case many times. The inside material is Nylon Pack Cloth, which protects the surface of your pens and is durable enough to withstand constant friction from taking out and inserting pens into the slots. There are 3 pen slots provided, allowing for storage of up to 3 fountain pens, six non-fountain pens or a mix of the two. As shown in the last picture, I opt for 2 fountain pens, usually one with black ink and blue ink, a standard ballpoint and a pencil for scantron tests and the like. There is also a dedicated slot for a pocket notebook, which I often use to store my Field Notes notebooks, though this can be used with any pocket notebook of that size. I recommend keeping only one in there as it gets rather difficult to store and take out if there’s more than one. The zippers are YKK, which means that they will last a very long time. Overall, a huge win for those who desire a case made from quality materials.

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The Sinclair is one of the later additions to the line, as it was developed well after the original Kickstarter campaign. From the moment it was announced, I knew I had to have one. The zippered design and compact form attracted me away from my Hightower which I often had retention problems with the pocket notebook. It managed to slip out numerous times and I had to make a conscious effort to put it in my bag right side up. Now that I have a Sinclair, I can throw it in however and not have to worry about a thing.

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A real winner from Nock Co. Ever since I backed the initial Kickstarter, Nock Co. has grown into a well-known brand that is designing some awesome cases and paper products (I have their note cards!). The Sinclair is hands down my current favorite offering from the guys at Nock. However, with the blistering pace they’re setting and the innovative designs their showcasing, this might change in the near future. I highly recommend this case to anyone who likes colorful, well-designed and amazing pen cases. If you’re reading this, keep up the great work guys!

Sailor Souten Review

So sorry for not being active for the last month almost. After Spring Break, the amount of work I had to finish went up drastically and there’s still lots more to come. I just finished my exam week and only have a month to prepare for finals. This weekend is a small respite, as I finally had time to sit down and finish a couple of reviews. This will be number 1 of 3, to make up for the end of February. The second and third will come tomorrow, officially finishing the quota for March. I don’t know if I’ll be able to put any out until after the semester’s over in May, but I’ll try my best to keep you guys updated. Please follow me on social media for quick updates. You can follow me through the buttons on the right for Twitter and Facebook, and my Instagram feed gallery is linked to my profile.

DSCF9034As you all may know after all this time. I love me some blue inks. Any shade, any brand. You name it, I’m willing to give it a try. I’ve had this ink for almost 2 years now. The ink is almost finished, so I knew I needed to get a review in before it ran out.

DSCF9037By the time I got onto the Sailor bandwagon, I found that some of the inks I really wanted to try had officially been discontinued. I could no longer find Grenade, Epinard and Sky Blue. I was immensely disappointed at not getting the chance to review them, but perked up when Sailor announced that they would be revealing a new Four Seasons ink line that would be the future of Sailor inks. Excited, I waited with bated breath for the Los Angeles International Pen Show to get my hands on some. When I reached, I went straight over to the Anderson Pens booth and got this bottle of Sailor Souten (Azure Sky), the touted successor of the Sky High. I have to say, I was not disappointed at all with my purchase.

DSCF9043The performance of Souten is about as expected of any Sailor ink. It behaves well in every pen I ink it up in and shades differently based on the nib size and any special characteristics. While I wrote the review with my Lamy Safari M, I usually used it with my TWSBI 580 Pendleton BLS grind fountain pen. The unique grind on the nib allowed for the shading to really show through.

DSCF9039The ink also has a beautiful red sheen when used in a broad or wide italic nib. The red is concentrated around where the ink typically pools inside the letters. However, if you’re using this ink with a fine or extra fine nib, don’t expect any real shading or sheen to show when writing.

DSCF9046Now for the Sailor performance, you’re going to be paying a rather premium price. This ink typically retails for around $18 at Anderson Pens and other similar retailers, I’ve seen it go for $14.25 on JetPens, which is by far the cheapest I could find it going for. If the price doesn’t bother you, then this is a solid, well-behaved blue that will perform well in any pen you use it in. I recommend this to anyone who likes Sailor inks and wants a nice blue to add to their collection.

 

Pixelexia Blog

Hey Everyone,

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s triple release. It was a long time coming and I really wanted to reward your amazing patience and understanding. I wanted to quickly let you guys know that I have started a second blog. This one will be focused on photography and I will be using it to showcase my photography as well as any experimental shots. There will not be any stationary/pen photography on it as this is my designated spot for all that. However, if you’re interested in my both my life and photography, then please check it out as I will be really trying different styles and going out of my comfort zone. I hope to capture some amazing shots and show them to you all. Don’t worry, this blog will not affect my review posting schedule at all and will only be updated occasionally as I don’t plan to institute a set schedule. The photos I post will only be ones I feel best reflect my personal style. Come on over, drop a like or comment to let me know if you liked it. Here’s the link.

Sincerely,

Anchit, The Passionate Penman

Field Notes Black Ice Edition

Review 3/3

After running through my Sweet Tooth and Unexposed Editions, I was searching for another Field Notes edition, except this one was for a specific purpose. Recently, I’ve really delved into the world of photography and wanted a pocket notebook for quick descriptions of some of my favorite shots on campus. On some select weekends, when I had the luxury of free time and weather permitting conditions, I’ve ventured outside to take some pictures around my campus.

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Spanning nearly 1,933 acres, the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington is expansive and full of places to get some amazing shots. So far, I’ve stuck to the various buildings I usually walk by on the weekdays and seek to view them from a different perspective. On many occasions, I was walking to class or back home and I suddenly stopped after seeing a scene that would make a well composed photo. So to keep it in my head, I whip out my trusty Field Notes notebook and quickly jot down my location and what exactly I was looking at. If I didn’t have this, I would’ve actually forgotten some really nice locations by the my weekend morning photo walk.

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The cover of this edition looks stunning and glints in the sunlight. The embossing of the Field Notes Logo on the front page looks like it has been machined onto sheet metal rather than just shiny paper stock. I found on one of my photo walks that the cover could also be used as a light reflector that helped illuminate some of my darker macro shots.

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The paper they used for this edition is the Finch Fine Smooth 70# paper with gray line rulings and orange on top (Field Notes website). The thing that really excited me into getting this specific edition is the fact that this is Field Note’s very first non-staple-bound notebook. These notebooks are actually PUR-bound and Field Notes made an awesome video showcasing the process. The paper withstood almost everything I threw at it other than the Iroshizuku Shin-Kai that spread out a bit on the paper. Maybe if I had a finer nib, then it would be alright, but as far as the Lamy 2000 medium nib, it is a bit too juicy for the Field Notes to handle. I don’t need to harp on about how good Field Notes notebooks are as well as the convenience they afford. They have already established themselves and their brand in the market and my only input would be to get this edition to not only get a cool notebook, but also see Field Notes innovation first hand with the binding.

Thanks for reading and being so patient with my slightly erratic posting schedule. I expect my workload to drop down back to normal once my first exam week passes. Then I’ll be able to get back to a regular once every 2 weeks review schedule. I’ll see you all near the end of February. Until then, write on, my friends.

Huy Hoang Dao Oblique Holder 2

Review 2/3

 

 

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I remember a while back when I published the first oblique holder review on my blog and featured a Huy Hoang Dao holder that I had bought nearly a year back. Since then, I had a bit of an accident. While trying to adjust my flange, the glue gave in and the flange popped right out of the holder. Worried about the integrity of the wood, I promptly emailed Hoang about it and inquired what I could possibly do to revive it. As my first holder, it holds a lot of sentimental value that I just couldn’t get myself to let go of. Hoang got back to me and recommended me to get it fixed by Chris Yoke, given that I was based in Indiana now.

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In a completely surprising twist of events, he told me that since I had last ordered, his pen making skills had gone through considerable improvement and that I deserve a better pen, so he would send me one for free. He really didn’t need to and it wasn’t necessary, but Hoang took matters into his own hands and decided to send me a new one for free(!). It was amazing to see how sincere he is towards his customers and his passion towards his craft. I was absolutely inspired by him to really pursue my practice with more gusto than I thought I was capable of. So for the last couple months practicing exclusively with the one he sent.

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The very first thing I noticed were the beautiful contours of the holder. While the shape was very similar to my previous one, the thin profile really made it seem much more delicate and refined. If put right next to each other, one can see a quantum leap in the lines of the wood and how thorough Hoang was with the respective processes that made this pen look and feel absolutely stunning in my hand. All around another stunning holder by Hoang and something that I will be using for a long time. Hoang is putting some amazing holders up for sale and I would advise anyone in the market for a tastefully designed, well-made oblique holder at a price that won’t make your wallet cry, check out his online store.

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for my review and have written my impartial observations and thoughts for your reading pleasure.