Ink Review: Sailor Studio 442

Ink Review: Sailor Studio 442

By Jessica Coles

The Colorado Pen Show took place only a few days ago and I was very happy to see the Dromgoole’s table at the show. In fact, I was often seen browsing through the large ink shelves they had set up. One ink that was sadly missing from the shelves was Sailor Studio since they are restricted from bringing the ink to shows, but they did bring beautiful swatch cards of each ink.

So even though the Sailor Studio inks were not present, the colors did make an appearance. And the appearance was enough for me to order more!

Sailor Studio 442 appears from the label to be a light to medium blue that leans towards purple. Nothing on the front indicates a special color.

The small glass bottle is the same as every Sailor Studio ink – a beautiful glass bottle, but one that is quite utilitarian. The packaging also includes several stickers with the ink number and suggestions to place the stickers on a converter so you remember which ink is inside.

My first glimpse of Sailor Studio 442 revealed a much brighter blue ink than I was expecting. A rich blue that contains less purple than the label would indicate.

That rich blue does show well during writing, although fades a bit as the ink dries. However, the ink also shows some of its complex components as it dries – purple and a faint teal halo. This separation helps the ink from fading into the pack of blue inks available.

Color classification was tough with Sailor Studio 442, since the separate colors aren’t present in other inks. The lightest color in 442 is close to Diamine Prussian Blue. In-person, 442’s darker sections are close to Montblanc Petrol. While wet, 442 looks much closer to Penbbs #85. Like I said, a complex ink.

In writing, Sailor Studio actually shows as close to a blue-black ink which makes it a possible work-safe ink. Dry time is good (about 20 seconds) and it doesn’t smear after it dries. However, it is not water-resistant, so keep that in mind at work!

Studio 442 shades well, from a blue-ish lavender to a midnight blue. Below I was writing with an extra-fine SIG nib from Franklin-Christoph – even in this narrow stub width, the ink had no problem shading.

To see the beautiful shading in this ink, I got up close to a larger swatch. Incredible.

One characteristic of Sailor Studio 442 that wasn’t present in other swatches was a very faint sheen. It’s actually more of a halo than sheen, though. Very dark with just a hint of green. Since receiving this ink, it has been in constant use.

If you have ever tried to purchase Sailor Studio inks, you know how tough it can be to find a store selling it, pay for the shipping and wait for the slow boat to make its way overseas (unless you are lucky enough to live in Japan). Good news! Sailor has recently started allowing sales of these small bottles of sunshine by select retailers in the US. However, Sailor did put a restriction on these sales – orders for Sailor Studio inks can only be taken over the phone. Dromgoole’s was kind enough to provide this bottle of 442 for review and you can find ordering instructions here. The entire staff is great to talk to when ordering and if you are able to stop by their store, the inks can be purchased in person! Here’s a glimpse of that book full of Sailor Studio swatches:


Tools:

  • Paper: Musubi Tomoe River Refill ($30-35 USD)
  • Pen: Franklin-Christoph 66 Prototype with an extra-fine SIG steel nib ($175)
  • Ink:  Sailor Studio 442 ($18 for 20ml bottle)

DISCLAIMER: The ink included in this review was provided free of charge by Dromgoole’s for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: The Original Comfort Food

Link Love: The Original Comfort Food

When our own personal worlds spin out of control, sometimes its nice to have the consistency and comfort of our familiar routines — the things that bring us joy. This week, that’s what Link Love is for me. There has been a slew of emotional upheavals this week among myself and my friends. Between my home and my closest friends, we’ve lost a combined three dogs and a cat in less than 10 days. At least we know that our pets have friends wherever the pet afterlife might be. There have also been a series of lay-offs that have left some of my closest friends unemployed and many at my company concerned that there may be more lay-offs to come. To say we all need comfort food, comfort tv and comfort links would be an understatement. I hope that however your week has gone that these links bring you a little joy. If you have pets, give them a good snuggle for me too.

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

And now for a knitting interlude.

When we’re not here, or at pen shows, we’re knitting. That’s actually how Ana and I met, at our knit group here in Kansas City almost 12 years ago! She was kind enough to join my on my knitting podcast this past week to talk about NaKniSweMo, the knitter’s companion to NaNoWriMo. Instead of writing a 50,000 word novel in November, we’re knitting 50,000 stitch sweaters instead!

You can find full show notes over at The Corner of Knit & Tea.

My pen reviews will resume next week with that gorgeous Pelikan!

Pen Review: White Pen Comparison: Gelly Roll, Posca 0.7 and Pitt 1.5 Bullet Nib

Review by Tina Koyama

I’m always on the lookout for opaque white pens. They come in handy for many urban sketching tasks, such as signage, fountains and small highlights. Of course, I use them most often on toned paper, especially in my favorite red Field Notes Brand Sweet Tooth notebook (no longer available at Field Notes, but possibly still available at some retail stores).

Years ago, I compared the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (2.5mm bullet point), Sakura Pen-Touch Paint Marker and Uniball Signo gel pen. More recently I looked at the Uni Posca Paint Marker (extra fine bullet point) and the Sailor Mini Correction Pen here at the Desk.

Although my general white go-to the past few years has been the Sakura Gelly Roll (0.8mm), I’m not always happy with it. It’s fine tipped and opaque enough to draw or make highlights on dark paper, and I use it that way satisfactorily most of the time. But since gel ink is water-soluble, it tends to activate watercolor pencil pigment rather than write over it, making the line inconsistent or invisible.

I decided it was time to try a couple of new white pens that recently crossed my ever-watchful radar: One is a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen with a 1.5mm bullet nib (much smaller than the 2.5mm I had tried previously). The other is a Uni Posca Paint Marker with a 0.7mm “pin type” nib (which came in my October SketchBox, but I don’t see it sold individually there yet).

Although the Gelly Roll has a 0.8mm nib, it looks slightly finer than the Posca’s 0.7mm point, though it could just look that way because the Gelly Roll is less opaque. The Faber-Castell Pitt is the least opaque of the three, and strangely, its 1.5mm tip looks about the same size as the Posca’s 0.7. I have no idea how pen points are measured. In any case, in my scribble tests below (made in a black Stillman & Birn Nova sketchbook), I applied water on the right side, and none of the inks showed appreciable smudging, even though I know the Gelly Roll has been known to dissolve a bit when washed. The other two are described as waterproof.

Next I ran each white pen over various water-soluble and waterproof media. All wet media were left to dry completely before I scribbled over them. No wonder I’ve been less than happy with the Gelly Roll when used with my favorite watercolor pencils – it performed the worst over Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles, both dry and activated. None of the three white pens wrote well over the Marvy LePlume II watercolor markers, but all three showed up much better over the two waterproof brush pens – the Pentel Pocket Brush and the Sakura Pigma. Clearly, the Posca is the winner on watercolor as well as my favorite watercolor pencils (both activated and dry).

The big inconvenience with the Posca is its “pin type” nib, which means it must be primed each time before use. By priming, I mean that you must jab the spring-loaded nib repeatedly on scrap paper for a while until the ink flows. Moreover, the ink is actually paint that must be shaken each time (you can hear an agitator inside rattling around to aid with mixing). Skip either of these steps, and the pen dispenses a colorless liquid. The priming and shaking tasks are annoying when all you want to do is make a quick highlight (sketch victims get away quickly!).

Still, the Posca’s general opacity and especially with watercolor pencils has won me over.


DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Tina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

Notebook Review: Pebble Stationery Co. Glacier Edition

Notebook Review: Pebble Stationery Co. Glacier Edition

Review by Tina Koyama

Before Pebble Stationery offered to send me a pack of its new notebooks, I admit I had never heard of the Australian company. A Kickstarter campaign last year helped bring a new pocket-size notebook with Tomoe River paper to market, and in August the limited Glacier Edition was launched (two notebooks for AUS $12.99). A standard edition is also available for AUS $9.99 for a two-pack.

 “Inspired by the blue glaciers of Antarctica,” the very pale blue cover is lighter than the photos on the company’s website and maybe even a little lighter than my own photos that were taken in the blazing sun. It’s hard to capture that delicate icy blue. Two 3½ -by-5½-inch books come per pack. Simple branding is embossed at the bottom of the front cover in silver foil.

front cover

Each notebook contains 80 pages of micro-thin 52 gsm Tomoe River paper. That’s nearly twice as many pages as a Field Notes Brand (or similar) notebook, yet the Glacier notebook is the same thickness. The difference, however, shows in the noticeable weight: It’s about 30 percent heavier than a Field Notes.

Pebble back of bellyband

The books are stitch-bound with silver thread (according to product information, though the thread looks white to me). The most distinctive feature in its appearance is the silver foil on the notebook’s page edges (also difficult to photograph). I think the last time I saw a softcover pocket-size notebook with gilt edges was Field Notes Ambition in 2014. In general, I’m not a huge fan of gilding, but the Glacier’s silver gilding is a very nice touch because it’s not too shiny or garish. I like the way sunlight picks up a subtle glint. Overall, the appearance is elegant and understated.

silver gilt edge

The inside front cover has spaces for name, contact info, etc. The Tomoe River pages are dot-grid ruled with the tiniest dots and the palest ink – very subtle. 

 inside back cover

inside pages

Now, onto scribble tests: Fountain pen fans already know and love Tomoe River paper for being extremely resistant to feathering or bleeding even though it is remarkably thin. In addition to my juiciest fountain pens – a Platinum 3776 with a music nib and a Sailor 1911 with a Naginata Fude de Mannen nib – I scribbled with the usual random assortment on my desk. Because Tomoe River paper takes a bit longer to absorb inks, a few pens smudged under my left hand, but I didn’t make too big of a mess. Strangely, the ink that took the longest to dry was the Ohto Fude Ball 1.5 rollerball (it smudged onto the opposite cover when I flipped the page). The reverse side of both pages shows ghosting, as expected for such thin, translucent paper, but no bleed-through at all, even where I deliberately paused. The Derwent Paint Pen (which I received in my Urban Sketchers Symposium swag bag this year), which has bled through nearly every paper I’ve tested it on, does not show a trace.

 ink test 1

ink test 2, reverse of ink test 1

reverse of ink test 2

Finally, I made a sketch with the Sailor fude fountain pen and Platinum Carbon Black ink, which tends to be thicker and wetter than most inks. I spotted one tiny dot of bleed-through near one of the bunny’s feet where I must have paused the nib.

sketch Platinum Carbon

reverse of sketch

Since this wasn’t my first use of Tomoe River, I already knew that the amazingly smooth paper would be a joy to use with any pen – fountain, rollerball, ballpoint or paint. But I don’t recall trying it with graphite before, and even a Blackwing or a Uni Mitsubishi Hi-Uni 9B floats soundlessly and nearly frictionlessly on that glassy surface. It seems counter-intuitive – I expect graphite to need some tooth to cling to – yet apparently it doesn’t. (It reminds me of drawing on polypropylene Yupo with soft graphite, which I also love.) If you are one of those pencil users who prefers “feedback” from the paper, you won’t get it from Tomoe River, which makes no commentary as you write or draw.

Final Impressions

Pebble Stationery is certainly not the first to come out with a pocket-size notebook containing Tomoe River paper; JetPens has its exclusive Kanso Sasshi series, and Goulet has its own with slightly heavier stock (to name just a couple). But I think the Glacier edition is certainly the prettiest. “Limited edition” implies that more new designs will be coming. I look forward to seeing what Pebble comes up with.


tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

Ink Review: Sailor Studio 341

Ink Review: Sailor Studio 341

By Jessica Coles

Another Sailor Studio review! With 100 inks in their popular Sailor Studio line, I may never run out of material for reviews. This is absolutely fine with me since I have yet to find a Studio ink that isn’t incredible in one way or another.

Sailor Studio 341 looks like it will be a bright sky blue when looking at the color band on the bottle. Since it is a 300 level ink, the saturation should be on the light side of medium.

However, just opening the bottle shows the difference in color between the bottle label and the ink in the cap. Sailor Studio 341 has much more green involved.

A swab of the ink on a Col-o-Ring card looks a bit closer to the label color, and starts to show the beautiful shading that is present in large swatches. There is no color separation (such as with Sailor Studio 123) and no sheen, just significant shading.

Comparing other inks to Sailor Studio proved a bit difficult, even with a huge number of swatches available for the comparison. Chesterfield Antique Mariner seemed to be the closest when photographed, however, Birmingham Pennsylvania Railroad Boiler Stem looked the closest in person. Certain lights show more green than others making an exact match impossible.

Tomoe River 52gsm paper (this notebook is a refill offered by Musubi) brings out the shading In 341. The shading ranges from a light, dusty teal to a medium to dark teal that also shows a touch of a reddish-brown halo where the ink is applied heavily.

Sailor Studio 341 is a drier Studio ink which may contribute to the shading abilities, but the dryness was never distracting. The ink drys quickly and does not tend to smear – this may be appreciated by lefties who enjoy new colors.

Sailor Studio 341 is a great ink to add a personal flair to your writing even in the office. The color can pass as a faded blue-blackand is legible even at its lightest. As a fan of blue-black inks, I could see using this ink as an everyday ink especially since it is quick-drying.

(Haloing can be seen a bit around the heavier drops of ink toward the bottom of the page here)

If you have ever tried to purchase Sailor Studio inks, you know how tough it can be to find a store selling it, pay for the shipping and wait for the slow boat to make its way overseas (unless you are lucky enough to live in Japan). Good news! Sailor has recently started allowing sales of these small bottles of sunshine by select retailers in the US. However, Sailor did put a restriction on these sales – orders for Sailor Studio inks can only be taken over the phone. Dromgoole’s was kind enough to provide this bottle of 341 for review and you can find ordering instructions here. The entire staff is great to talk to when ordering. The Colorado Pen Show starts tomorrow and Droomgoole’s will be joining the crew this year. Order your Sailor Studio inks now over the phone and have them waiting for you in Denver – with no shipping cost!


Tools:


DISCLAIMER: The ink included in this review was provided free of charge by Dromgoole’s for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: 30 Days of Inky Ideas

Inktober #1: “A is for Art Supplies” My theme this year is all my favorite things. These are the tools I’m using for Inktober.

Depending on the month, the links I find will lean heavily based on trends. Last month was planner release month so the Notebook & Paper category was poppin’. This month is Inktober so the Art & Creativity category is where the action is. Next month, with NaNoWriMo, the Notebook & Paper category will get busy again but Ink and Pens will probably get their fair share of attention too.

No matter what type of creativity excites you, there is a project or way to make pen, pencil, ink and paper help to make your goals and dreams a reality. If you bake or cook, document your recipe tweaks, successes and failures. Or draw your meals, prep or recipes. If you are a performer of music, stage or movement, write about your experiences. Document future performances, choreograph, orchestrate, write lyrics, plays, poems or music. Create costume ideas, sets or stage direction. No one has to see what you write but putting your thoughts on paper means you will remember and can build on your ideas. Make your own “30 days of set decorating” or costume design or catchy beats or whatever will help you on the path to your dream — big or small.

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things: