12 Days of Inkmas: Day 1 – TWSBI 1791 Part 1: Pink and Prairie Green

Inkmas 2019

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 closed box

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.

TWSBI bottle tops TWSBI bottle top detail


TWSBI bottlesOn to the review of Pink and Prairie Green.

 TWSBI 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.

Lamy Nexx with pink

Closest in my collection to TWSBI’s Pink is Iroshizuku Kosumosu, though the latter leans more toward the coral side. Iroshizuku Momiji is more saturated and bluer.

Pink comparison

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.

TWSBI Prairie Green

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.

Prairie Green comparison

TWSBI Prairie Green struck me as a beautiful color to paint/draw with, so I filled a waterbrush with it.

TWSBI Prairie Green in waterbrush

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!

waterbrush and Parallel sketch


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens 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.

Updated: 12/18/19 to add link to the Gage Drawing Jam.

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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great review–Tina your reviews are always especially charmingly and helpfully detailed! And as always, nicely illustrated. Thank you.

  2. It’s a snowy day and 26°F day here in the KC metro area. Good day to stay inside and play with pens and ink. Except I have more gifts to wrap.

    Good to see a review of TWSBI inks. Thank you ladies of the Well Appointed Desk for all you do for our community.

    Oh!! I talked to my letter carrier, and he mentioned the message I put on my mail, which is the Keep The Post Office Public rubber stamp. I have both and use the large one on all my mail.

    1. I’m so glad your tucked in warm and safe, Lori! It’s slippery out there. And so glad your postal carrier likes the stamp. My previous neighbor worked for the PO and always talked to me about how difficult things were getting so I’m glad the stamp continues to resonate.

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