12 Days of Inkmas: Day 9 – Troublemaker Inks Sea Glass

By Jessica Coles

Inkmas 2019

Welcome to another edition of the 12 days of Inkmas! On day 9, we are looking at a new ink.

Troublemaker Inks has come onto the ink scene quite recently with new and fascinating colors such as Petrichor and Abalone. I recently acquired the newest colors in the Troublemaker lineup – Sea Glass and Foxglove. Both are perfect additions to this ink collection. A review of Foxglove will be coming out later this week!

*photo from Troublemakerinks.com

The packaging of the Troublemaker Ink bottles is simple and attractive – heavy paper wrapped around the bottle and fastened with twine. I appreciate the minimalism here! The bottles inside are plastic and sealed tightly and I’ve never had one leak. The plastic bottle helps keep the weight down for shipping and the bottles are dark to help protect the color of the ink.

I love the little characters on each label – Sea Glass has a very cute fish.

When introducing this line of inks, Troublemaker advertises “We are exploring an extra-special way of shading in our newest colors.” They are described as inks with “A different kind of shading”. I completely agree with that. But there’s more than just different shading here.

These “differently shading inks” have also been described as multi-chromatic or strange inks. they are highly shading with colors that seperate into additional colors as the ink dries or is used in various nibs or on multiple paper types. Sailor Studio inks also act this way which is one of the reasons for the popularity of that line.


As you can see, Sea Glass is mainly a green that leans towards blue, but has an undertone of yellow-brown but shows a halo of emerald with medium application and a very dark green in heavier applications. At its lightest (in the lower right corner of this card), Sea Glass is a light sea foam green.

I have compared Sea Glass to a few other bluish-green shading inks. The lightest Sea Glass looks a bit like Sirena Mermaid, the undertones are close to the undertones found in Sydney Darling Harbor and the halo resembles that from Montblac If.

In a closeup of the writing (done with a Pilot Vanishing Point Broad Italic), the shading shows up beautifully. The main color here is close to a medium pine green.

There is a subtle undertone of the yellowish brown in heavily shading areas.

The pooled ink also shows a characteristic that I usually associate with Sailor Studio inks – lots of subtle undertones depending on how heavily the ink was applied, if it was applied in two layers or one, what type of nib or other instrument was used in the application (below, it was actually the bottle itself that applied the swatch).

I have had absolutely no issues using Troublemaker inks, even when the ink sits in a pen for several weeks. The inks are a bit on the wet side of normal and are easy to clean out of pens. They are not water-resistant (in fact, they are amazing when used in brush pens or with the addition of water), they don’t feather or bleed on fountain pen-friendly paper.

The only downside I have found with Troublemaker inks is the availability. These inks are manufactured in the Philippines and I have only found one retailer in the US that stocks Troublemaker (Shiguire inks). Ink can be ordered straight from Troublemaker with very reasonable shipping rates (free shipping at $20!). The problem, however, is supply and demand. Shipments are often sent out after a long wait period. At the moment, Troublemaker has closed orders, only opening order windows briefly. This caused frustration to the ink community – a community known for obsessing over new and interesting products. Of course, this restricted amount of ink has also created even higher demand!

I was one of the frustrated. But I have recently learned more about the individuals behind the Troublemaker brand – two young men in the Philippines who decided to test their hand making creative new inks. These two are responsible for all ink inventions, manufacturing, bottling, shipping, orders, website, and marketing all balanced with college!

I did not have an internationally known company selling well-made products around the world when I was the same age.

So my patience with Troublemaker inks has increased tremendously. I am excited to see new passion coming into the hobby and amazing talent with it. I’m excited to see what else this young duo has in store and I am more than happy to be able to encourage their drive. Plus – I LOVE the inks they create!



DISCLAIMER: All materials used in this review were purchased by me. Please see the About page for more details.

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1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. Interesting you find the inks are on the wetter side…

    As someone who uses them with flex nibs, I‘ve found the ones I have quite dry. I had Petrichor in my Pilot 823FA and the nib was hard starting and railroading. I switch to Waterman blue as a reference ink that is a nice wet ink and it’s a night and day difference. The nib is also smoother as a result.

    Which nibs are you trying that are wetter with these inks?

    I love the colors and shading of Petrichor, Abalone, Kelp Tea, and Milky Sea but to get that kind of shading and color spread they need to be dry inks. I will use White Lightning to wetten them up and try again.

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