I purchased five of the six iPaper Taiwan Series inks available last year at the San Francisco Pen Show. I don’t know much about iPaper inks other than that they are from Taiwan and that they have a small shop there. I wanted to write a preview or review of these inks at the time but it seemed unfair because it was almost impossible to get these inks.
A couple weeks ago though, I noticed that Shigure Inks was listing them in what can only be called their “catalog” of inks. In the short time that Shigure Inks has been online, they have accumulated 24 different ink brands. I think Vanness Pen Shop holds the record with 44 brands but if anyone knows of another shop with more brands, let me know.
The packaging I had for these inks only had the ink colors listed in Chinese so I had to wing the names a bit. The translation was a little slapdash. I used Google Translate which gave me the more scientific sounding flower names. By the time the inks appeared on Shigure Inks, the names of the colors were a bit more simplified so the photos show the colors listed with both names. I will refer to these colors by the names listed on Shigure’s site for simplicity’s sake.
I was able to get a sample of the one color I did not get in the bottle so I can show all six colors.
While a company like Waterman or Parker might roll out their first ink colors by creating a more traditional palette, iPaper went bright and tropical. My initial thought is that these would probably not be the first inks I would recommend for a new fountain pen user, but I also don’t think that the world really needs another black or blue-black ink.
Sadly, Eustonia is the only color not available from Shigure Inks and it’s probably the most usable as a daily writing ink since it’s a darker violet with pink undertones. Blue Magpie is a bright vivid blue and Pleione is a deep magenta. Cherry Blossom is a neon pink, Nantou Treefrog is a light lime green and Dendrobium is a golden yellow. On Col-o-ring paper, it’s easy to see the sheen in Eustonia and Pleione. All of the inks shade beautifully.
On Tomoe River paper, Blue Magpie also sheens and Eustonia and Pleione shows a lot more variation. Cherry Blossom and Dendrobium shade but don’t show as much sheeining. In person, Cherry Blossom has a little golden sheen that is hard to see on screen.
When compared with other inks, Pleione looks quite similar to Monteverde Rose Pink but all my other inks in the same hue was much duller. The closest I had were Robert Oster Australian Opal Pink and J. Herbin Bouquet D’Antan.
Eustonia is very similar to Sailor Studio 123. In the make-up world, this might be called a “dupe” if it were considerably cheaper but by the time you get this to the US, the prices for iPaper inks vs. Sailor Studio are pretty similar. Lennon Toolbar Morning Glory is a little more vivid with less sheening.
As for iPaper Nantou Treefrog, the rare-as-hen-teeth Diamine Calligraphy Passion Ink is probably the closest color I could find. J. Herbin Vert Pré is close but a little more vibrant. Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin is more subdued and Diamine Light Green is just a deeper shade of lime green.
Magpie Blue is another “dupe” ink, IMHO to a Sailor Studio ink. This time its a pretty close match to Sailor Studio #143. The only other color I could find that was even close was Montblanc Miles Davis Jazz Blue (which is similar to Bungbox Hatsuyume Aofuj but that is very difficult to find).
Dendrobium feels very similar to Sailor #770 and both remind me a lot of the rare Birmingham Pen Co. Luna Park Marmalade. Both De Atramentis Gandhi and Montblanc Lucky Yellow are a little more golden, leaning a little more orange.
Cherry Blossom is really similar to Lamy Neon Coral. If you missed this very rare color, then Cherry Blossom is a good option. Kobe #12 Okomo Neon Coral is a tiny bit more orange and Kobe #30 Prince Cherry and Taccia Momo both lean more pinky magenta. The Pilot 100th Anniversary Benzaiten is very similar in hue but is not as neon, it’s just dulled down a bit.
I want to love yellow ink but I find it hard to use and I think I conscientiously skipped the Treefrog ink as being too light in the lime green family to tempt me. I don’t actually have full bottles of the Sailor Studio inks so I am happy to have these inks.
Each of these inks are available in 30ml bottles for $22 each. The iPaper inks are vibrant and pretty but most of the colors are pretty similar to a lot of other colors. If you’ve already collected a lot of Sailor Studio Inks, you may not need to purchase any of these inks. Alternately, if you don’t have a large ink collection, these might be good options to add to your collection since they are unique and unusual.
- Paper: Nanami Café Note B6 Slim Grid
- Pens: Dip nib holder with Zebra G titanium nib ($33.50 per 10-pack), Acrylic dip nib pen (Approx. $15)
- Swatches: Col-o-Ring Ink Testing Book ($10) & Col-o-dex Rotary Cards ($15) & Col-o-ring OVERSIZE ($15)
- Brush: Blick Synthetic Round #0 and cotton swabs
- Ink: iPaper Taiwan Series ($22 for 30ml bottle)
DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge but the inks were purchased for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.