Welcome to the first day of Inkmas! We are celebrating the impending holiday with 12 Days of ink reviews — a somewhat annual tradition here at the Desk. We are going to start off with Tina’s reviews of the new TWSBI inks so really, you’re going to get way more in the next 12 Days than just 12 ink reviews.
Enjoy, stay warm (or cool depending on your hemisphere) and happy Inkmas to all and to all a good ink!
TWSBI, the Taiwanese company known for its affordable, stylish fountain pens, will soon be known for inks with the debut of a limited-edition, six-color set in time for the holidays (six 18 ml bottles for $36; individual bottles also available for $7.50 each). The 1791 series is “inspired by the vivid scenes described in Cao Xueqin’s Dream of the Red Chamber. First printed in 1791, the novel is widely lauded as one of the greatest works in the history of Chinese literature.”
As part of this year’s 12 Days of Inkmas, I’m going to review them two at a time. This post will serve as an introduction to the boxed set and review of Pink and Prairie Green.
Packed in a sturdy carton with nicely rounded corners, the set would make a lovely gift for an ink-collecting friend or someone new to fountain pens. A diecut on the bellyband shows the TWSBI logo, which also appears on each faceted bottle lid. My favorite part of the design is the frosted glass – a distinctive touch among fountain pen inks.
On to the review of Pink and Prairie Green.
TWSBI Pink is a pure, lovely rose that is neither too orange nor too blue. I see no sheening, and it’s a little too pale to show shading. This pink evokes peonies and the centers of cherry blossoms. I forgot to test for water-solubility until after I photographed the swatches, but none of the TWSBI inks is in any way waterproof. All washed richly with a swipe of water.
Sampled with the fine Zebra G nib, the pink looked a bit pale for writing, so I tried it in my medium-nib Lamy Nexx. I like it better here, and it would probably be best with an even broader nib.
Prairie Green might be my favorite in the set – a vibrant yellow-green of young leaves. Like Pink, Prairie Green sits squarely in the leaf green range without being too yellow nor too blue. Again, I don’t see signs of sheening.
It turns out l like this green because I found several others in my collection that come close. Caran d’Ache Chromatics Delicate Green is the most similar. Others are close but tend slightly toward either olive or yellow.
TWSBI Prairie Green struck me as a beautiful color to paint/draw with, so I filled a waterbrush with it.
At Gage Academy’s annual Drawing Jam event in Seattle, both nude and costumed models pose for short and long durations all day. For this five-minute pose, I used the Prairie Green-filled brush to make the initial gesture strokes. Then I used a hacked Pilot Parallel filled with TWSBI Sky Blue (coming up in Part 2) to emphasize the shading. They’re beautiful inks to draw with!
- Paper: Canson XL Mixed Media pad, 98 lb., 10” x 7” (60 sheets/$6.90)
- Swatches: Col-o-Ring Ink Testing Book ($10)
- Pens: Zebra Comic Pen G Model Nib (10/$13.50) with Koh-i-Noor holder and Lamy Nexx, M nib ($25.60)
- Brushes: Winsor & Newton pointed round 4 ($12.28) and Kuretake waterbrush – large ($7)
- Inks: TWSBI 1791 Pink and TWSBI 1791 Prairie Green (18ml/$7.50)
Updated: 12/18/19 to add link to the Gage Drawing Jam.