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.

J . Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor

This was an ink review in the waiting for the last few months. I’ve been meaning to get around to it for a long time, but it just never happened with how hectic my schedule was. After a lot of delays, I finally decided that the first review of the summer, will be this. Without further ado, let us jump right in to my review of J. Herbin’s Emerald of Chivor.

The box it came in was very nicely detailed and shone exquisitely when it reflected the sun. The drawing was absolutely mesmerizing and a very nice touch to a somewhat luxurious product. Initially, I was very reluctant to spend $26 on a bottle of ink, but I bought my ticket and boarded the hype train. Looking back, I have no idea why it took me so long. Everything about this ink drove me absolutely crazy for it since my first use in my FC Model 40P. It retains all the great characteristics of a standard Herbin ink while adding an extra component that makes this ink shine(pun intended 😉 ). I also love using it in my Pilot Parallel pens because the ink just exhibits its characteristics much more beautifully when it’s used with a juicy, 6.0mm nib.

The one thing that makes a hype train possible is a unique characteristic that you can’t find anywhere else. For the J. Herbin 1670 inks, it’s the gold flakes that allow for some sparkly handwriting that glitters in the light. Seeing its commercial success, Diamine jumped aboard the gold flakes hype train, but failed to recreate the Herbin experience (more on that later). The beautiful teal color of the ink meshes really well with the gold and creates a stunning contrast that’s very pleasing to the eyes. My only gripe is that it is pretty expensive, making me hesitant to use it more liberally than I usually would. Other than that, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a change in their usual ink or those who love sparkly inks.

Pilot Mutli Ball Rollerball

100th post! Yay! New milestone. Onwards to 250. 🙂

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I was recommended the Pilot Multi Ball Liquid Ink pen by a friend and I simply got it just to give it a try. Little did I know, I would find such as amazing pen in the process. The Multi Ball is a liquid ink rollerball pen that has a fine tip. The writing experience is reminiscent of the Retro 51 but it has one very important difference, the size of the tip is absolutely perfect for me. The grip, while a little thin, is well designed with small circular indents to helps when I choke up my grip to try to gain maximum control. I tend to post most of my pens, but on the Multi Ball, the clip tended to dig in to my hand, so I just decided to not post. This was fine as the long body of the pen allowed for comfortable use without needing to post. Overall, I’m very happy with my decision to try this pen out. Go try the Pilot Multi Ball out and you’ll be surprised by the way it handles in comparison to the Retro 51 and for those looking for a thinner rollerball, give this a try.

Sharpie Fine Tip Pen

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The clip is a rather flimsy piece of plastic. It really isn’t very functional even on the day I bought it.

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The tip is surprisingly sturdy. I put varying amounts of pressure on it from different angles, but it maintained a crisp and consistent line. While the tip is similar to other plastic tip markers I’ve reviewed in the past this was by far the most solid of them all. It’s very forgiving of the writer as it can adapt to any writing style.

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My biggest complain against this pen is the grip. It is uncomfortable due to it’s size. The section that I usually grip is diminutive and feels awkward in my hand. The steep transition between the body and grip section further distract and take away from the writing experience. I generally used this pen for quick notes and not long writing sessions, while I haven’t been able to test it, from what I experienced, it wouldn’t be very comfortable. I found myself constantly readjusting my grip every 15 seconds as I just couldn’t find a sweet spot.

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The back where the cap posts is a little loose and doesn’t retain the cap very well. I found the cap slipping on many situations. This didn’t happen when I first bought the pen though, this problem started cropping up 2-3 months down the line, which became very annoying after a while.

 

Witch Pens Review

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Now this is one calligraphy tool I’ve been dying to review. I was initially exposed to Witch pens through a review by Leigh Reyes. The concept behind them is so simple, yet so efficient. The name is also pretty awesome, Witch pen (a contraction of William Mitchell).

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The design of the pen is simplistic yet utilitarian. The metal bends backwards to create a reservoir right underneath the nib. This allows the user to transition between fountain pen inks and other more viscous inks such as iron gall or sumi.

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The nib is a folded piece of metal that allows for easy use on many different papers. While I used it on a smooth Rhodia paper, I’m certain that I can definitely use it on some more textured kinds of paper such as cold-press watercolor paper. The way the nib is designed, it will provide a smooth writing experience on many different surfaces.

The Witch pens are a great starter for all those interested in broad edge pen calligraphy. While fountain pen inks do run a little, I have had positive results with gouache, some thick watercolor paints, as well as sumi and McCaffrey’s ink. My only gripe is the cleaning process. It is a little difficult to clean these pens thoroughly, with the only method being immersing them in water and then drying them out on paper towels. It is a little time consuming, but well worth it for the fun I’ve had.

 

Diamine Asa Blue

Let’s kick off review week with a long pending ink review.

Originally not on my radar, as I was too obsessed with Noodler’s Liberty Elysium, Iroshizuku Kon-Peki and the many other blue inks out there. This one took a while to get my attention. I was initially introduced to it through a post by Ed Jelley (love his photography 🙂 ). The post was titled “5 Best Inks for Everyday Use”. Curious about his choices, I read through it, and the one that caught my eye was his photo of the shading of Diamine Asa Blue. It just called out to me through the screen, begging me to try it. Being the highly disciplined person I am with full control of my impulses, I immediately went and purchased a 30mL bottle and haven’t looked back since. I have gone through many a sample of blue inks, some I have loved, others not so much, but this… After I first used it, I felt like the search for my ideal blue ink was finally over.

While it may sound like hyperbole, I sincerely believe that I have finally found it. Diamine has been holding the hidden gem that I have been searching for all this time. If only a month ago, you had asked me what my favorite blue ink was, I would’ve unhesitatingly answered: “Iroshizuku Kon-Peki”, but now it would be “Diamine Asa Blue”. To me, Asa Blue is now the benchmark I will judge all the other blue inks I have yet to try. For me, Asa blue satisfies many requirements when it comes to color and performance, so I’ll be elucidating upon requirements shortly.

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From the moment the nib touched the paper, I knew that this would most likely replace Kon-Peki as my favorite blue. The color and shading resembled Kon-Peki so much, yet at the same time, just glancing at it, Asa Blue seems much less resplendent. Kon-Peki, especially on the bright white Rhodia and Maruman paper I use it on, just glows brightly. Asa Blue on the other hand, tends to be much more subtle, yet still nice and visible. I first used it in my history class, which I had on Fridays for 4 hours (glad that’s over). Typically, it was a lecture only class with the professor talking and the students noting down the most salient points. The long time period allowed for the most experimentation and writing down notes for hours together helped me see how well it performs during long writing sessions. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it handled being in constant use. Despite the shrinking amount, the smoothness wasn’t affected in any way, and it continued to perform admirably.

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The pen I first used Asa Blue in, was my Pilot VP Matte Black with the binderized M nib, which is still going strong. The Pilot VP is my everyday writing pen in school, it is the pen that has had the most use in my collection by far. Typically when testing inks, I like to load it up in the VP simply because the tuned nib ensures that it won’t be the nib’s fault if the ink doesn’t perform properly. After a 4 hour history lecture, when reviewing my notes before the quiz, I saw how wonderful each letter looked on the page. The color of the ink was exquisite, to say the least. It was then I knew that I had found my everyday blue ink.

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The shading is one of the major things that drew me towards this ink. I love blues that get darker with bigger nibs, it allows for more experimentation and manipulation when writing. Asa Blue shades very well as seen in the picture above, and past a certain point, I got the hint of a red sheen.

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Overall Asa Blue has been one of the best Diamine inks I have ever tried. The color and shading make for an excellent everyday blue that can walk the fine line between fun and whimsical, to serious and professional. It performed very well on the variety of papers I used to test it with little variation. After only a month, I polished off a 30mL bottle which in itself shows me how much I love this ink. All I can say is, if you love blue inks, you have to give this a try. Well, it’s time for me to go purchase some more and hope Diamine offers it in sizes larger than 80mL :P. Look forward to tomorrow’s review, and as always, write on, my friends.

Rhodia No. 16 Graph

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All my friends ask me: Why do you buy such exotic(read: expensive) paper? The answer is simple. When I got into fountain pens, I realized rather quickly that your typical FiveStar or Mead lined paper wouldn’t be good enough. When I say rather quickly, it was specifically after the ink I was using started ghosting and seeping through the page, not to mention the awful feathering. My writing was illegible and resulted in a huge mess on my desk. That was the first step on my journey of finding the best paper for my fountain pens.

Relying on my old and trusty friend Google, I quickly found that there was a rather big forum on paper within FountainPenNetwork. Navigating through the many threads I stumbled upon one that reflected my circumstances perfectly: “Best cheap fountain pen friendly paper for beginners”. Entering and reading the posts I found that they had started an actual poll with Rhodia leading by a wide margin. Returning to Google, I searched for reviews and was not disappointed. Nearly every big stationary blogger I was following at the time had at least one review on Rhodia paper. Excited I went on to the GouletPens website and added a pad of Rhodia to my cart. At the time, I chose to go with the dot grid for reasons outlined in my review. Then I went on to more conventional options like the graph ruling for my math homework. I have been using that same paper for my math homework for the last year now, and it’s still a pleasure to use it to this very day for my Stats homework.

Most of my feelings and observations about this paper can be read in my  linked review, but I just wanted to share how I got into experimenting with fountain pen friendly paper. Overall, I would recommend it to everyone regardless whether they’re just getting started with fountain pens or not. The price is the most reasonable I’ve found among the many options available. Other than the minor trade-off of slightly longer dry times, there isn’t any other flaw I can think of. There’s very minimal ghosting depending on the size of the nib, the rulings are nice and sharp, yet easy on the eyes and the paper is nice and bright, allowing colored inks to pop on the page.

 

 

Pilot Frixion Ball Slim Review

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Straight out of the wrapping, the pen seemed too thin for me to use. I had numerous flashbacks about the Marvy LePen as to how uncomfortable it was to use. Surprisingly, in hand, the size was a bit on the slimmer side but comfortable enough for short use. My biggest grip however, is the absolute lack of a grip. The pen is all pretty much one piece of plastic and for some reason, Pilot decided to skimp on the rubber and put little circular grooves near the barrel to substitute for a dedicated grip section. While I wasn’t exactly okay with it, if it had been executed well, I wouldn’t have bothered. The fact that they put the grooves far away from the tip and spaced them out too much, it resulted in an unnecessary addition that did nothing to help the pen stop slipping from my hands. Having naturally sweaty hands, I found myself readjusting my grip every 15 minutes in. This lowered my opinion of the pen overall.

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On to the coolest part of the Pilot Frixion, the thermosensitive ink. I initially didn’t realize that this was an erasable pen, I just had it in my wishlist, so I added it to my cart just to try it out. Lo and behold the back intrigued me for a while, until I wised up enough to test whether it was an eraser and indeed it was. I use pens for all my schoolwork for a reason. That reason being a boost in confidence, by laying the ink down on the page, I have unequivocally put down my answer to the question and will not erase again and again in bouts of self-doubt. While it has worked for the most part, it has also led to some frustrating situations. In scenarios where I made stupid mistakes(like writing amounts down wrong), it has been an unnecessarily difficult undertaking of crossing my initial response while replacing it with the correct one. This pen will change all that. It will help me maintain the confidence booster while at the same time allowing me to go back and correct my mistakes neatly. If only it weren’t so unwieldy.

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The shape of the eraser is more spherical in nature, keeping the overall design scheme. the whole pen looks like a futuristic rocket. Smooth curves with nary a sharp edge. Why would the eraser be any different? It does a great job of erasing the ink, without leaving the annoying shavings behind relying entirely on friction(get it?) to complete its task.

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The knock doubles as a clip, albeit a rather small one. When it was sitting in my Nock Hightower, it was barely holding on. Hence, I found that it was much easier to loop some thread or wire through the hole in the knock and wear it like a necklace.

While the ink is pretty cool and the eraser works wonders, I find it hard to give this pen a good score, as I had a lot of problems with the lack of a grip. It was very unwieldy and I can’t see myself using it often other than the occasional quick jots. However, the best thing this pen has going for it is potential. If Pilot manages to improve some of the design flaws, the Frixion could potentially break into my Top 5 Gel Pen list. Until then, give it a try if you’re looking into erasable pens, but for those with big and/or sweaty hands, this might not be the best choice to start off with. Thanks for reading and as always, write on, my friends.

Edison Pearlette

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So it’s been months since I’ve bought this little beauty at the L.A. Pen Show. It was one of the pens that was on my “definitely buy” list along with my Franklin-Christoph Model 40P. I was never initially drawn towards Edison pens. I don’t remember the exact reason, but I was much more enthusiastic about Japanese fountain pens. This particular model, the Pearlette was a complete mystery to me until I read a review from The Gentleman Stationer.

WARNING: Word and photo heavy post. You have been warned.

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