Ink Review: New Kyo-no-oto Inks

Ink Review: New Kyo-no-oto Inks

Kyoto TAG has released two new inks in their Kyo-no-oto line: Seiheki and Yurushiiro. As with all inks in this line, the ink comes packaged in heavy card stock with the ink line in letterpress print. A big thank you to Dromgoole’s for sending these bottles for review!

Both Seiheki and Yurushiiro come in 40mL glass bottles priced at $28 a bottle bringing the ink to $0.70 per mL – not an inexpensive ink, but far from the $1 per mL of some recent Sailor inks!

As soon as I opened the package, I noticed that the ink looked almost cloudy. Not opaque like pigmented ink, but not as clear as I would expect.

You can see a bit of particulate in the ink – it isn’t sparkling though.

Swatching the inks, it became obvious that the consistency is unusual – there is definitely an opaqueness present. This didn’t translate into an actual thickness of the ink while writing, however.

The first ink I’ll look at here is Kyo-no-oto Seiheki. From the Dromgoole’s site:

“SEIHEKI is a dull blue-green color that would look similar to the daytime sky. ‘Sei’ means blue and ‘heki’ means green-blue stone which originates from ancient times

The color of nature, especially the sky, would stay in the briefest instant. The shorter the time remain, the memory of the color may even be more beautifully remembered. Especially in the middst of the change of the seasons, the color will change every moment. ‘Shogyo-mujo’ is the Japanese word to describe the transience of all phenomena. Many things are impermanent and change with short lives. Those new colors are our message to describe such momentary colors with lyrical images based on traditional Kyoto colors.

*This is a new type of ink combining fine pigments and dyes. The hue changes at the beginning and end of writing.

To realize the special effect, this ink contains small particles of pigment. Please wash the ink feeder and pens completely before you will use other ink with the same pen.”

Seiheki and Yurushiiro are pigment inks, but only a small amount of pigment. While I have inked up pens with each of the inks here today, I have not yet had enough time to report on the writing experience.

Seiheki is a lovely blue-green close to Wearingeul Resurrection with a touch more blue.

On Midori MD paper:

On Cosmo Air Light 83gsm paper:

On the same CAL paper as above, but angled to show a bit of the texture on paper:

And finally on Tomoe River (TR7) 52gsm paper:

Tomoe River paper seems to bring out an almost pebbled texture in the swatch of ink.

The second ink in this review is Kyo-no-oto Yurushiiro. Again from the Dromgoole’s site:

“During the Heian Period, there was a color that was not allowed to use except for certain social statuses such as royalty. Safflower red was one of those colors because of its preciousness. ‘YURUSHIIRO’ means ‘allowed color’ for everybody. ‘YURUSHIIRO is a much lighter version of Safflower red. The ink color shade was allowed for every person and was often used for daily life during the Heian period.”

Again, Yurushiiro has the same consistency and comes with the same warning that the ink contains both pigment and dye and that pens should be cleaned out well before refilling with a different ink. In writing, Yurushiiro is close to Pilot Iroshizuku Hana-Ikada (one of the three new inks from Pilot)

On Midori MD paper:

On Cosmo Air Light 83gsm paper:

Again the CAL paper but angled to show the color and texture of the ink:

And finally on Tomoe River (TR7) 52gsm paper:

Again, the pebbled texture shows up only on the Tomoe River paper.

What do you think of this new type of ink? I’m thrilled to get a chance to play with it for a while and I’ll report back on the writing experience soon!

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

Link Love: Can A Pen Be Gendered?

Link Love: Can A Pen Be Gendered?

First, Laura and I have spent the week discussing where to put the information for the upcoming Toronto Stationery Show. Should we add it to the Pen Show Calendar? Should it get its own post? In the end we decided since it was pen-adjacent, I would add it to Link Love but then it didn’t seem to fit in any category except “Other Interesting Thing”. As I didn’t want and Torontonians to miss the post, I decided it would go UP HERE in the intro. The event is Sunday, April 30th so if you are in the Toronto area, you have time to make arrangements to attend, if this sounds interesting. Overall, I suspect the event will be more paper, stationery and journal focused based on the vendor list but who knows? If anyone attends, please drop me a line and let me know how the event was.

Now, for the Link of the Week topic: Gendered Pens. The Pelikan’s Perch put together a post related specifically to Pelikan’s tendency to gender pens. And by gendering pens, we are specifically talking about pens that have been “pinked and shrinked” and often tagged with “Lady”. With the exception of the Sheaffer “Pen for Men” this gendering of pens is almost always targeting women and thereby suggesting that all other pens are “not for us”. There are many people who might prefer a smaller pen or a pen in any color, be in black, pink, gold or rainbow, they do not have to specifically be women. While the shameless gendering of pens in the 50s and 60s now seems quaint, the fact that Pelikan is STILL DOING THIS in the 2020s is a bit — tone deaf.

Hopefully, having these discussions and addressing the (pink) elephant in the room will help to break down the stereotypes. People like all sorts of pens for all sorts of reasons, let’s not unnecessary labels on pens anymore.

(I realize by saying this I may have just made all the Lady Sheaffer Skripserts in the world exponentially more expensive as the collectors market has alwyas undervalued these pens because they are small and “girly”.)

Link of the Week:



Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

Pen Shows:

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Notebook Review: Kleid Kraft Work Memo A6

I’m pretty sure if I were to have to pick one notebook size forever more, it would like be A5. It really is just the right size – not too big, not too small. How very Goldilocks of me!

However, I find that I can never quite make up my mind what kind of purse I want to carry. Sometimes I want a behemoth bag that’s big enough to hold a smaller purse, a knitting project, and 12 other things that I can’t seem to live without. And then other times I want a small purse to just grab and go. Either way, I need a notebook and pen, right?

Last time I was browsing Yoseka, I spied the Kleid Kraft Work Memo notebook in A6 size ($7.50). I’m currently on a small bag kick, and I thought this might be the perfect notebook for on the go. It’s small, lightweight, has an elastic loop for closure at the corner, is a spiral so it lays flat – could it be the perfect notebook?

This notebook is A6 size, meaning it measures in at 4 1/8″ x 5 7/8″ and is approximate 1/2″ thick. (10.5 cm x 15 cm, under 1 cm thick). The cover is made of sturdy cardstock, with a tight spiral. Inside are 70 pages of kraft paper with 2mm grid. The only other “frill” is the elastic strap to keep it closed at the corner.

I have to say, I like this size and I like the paper, but it’s probably not really designed for fountain pen ink. The grid is printed on the page in a way that doesn’t get covered by the fountain pen in, meaning it shows through which is a bit distracting.

Worse, I’m a lefty and I rest my hand on the page. Just that slight bit of moisture from my hand changed the texture of the paper a bit, and the ink was more prone to feathering and bleeding through there.

I did test it with my gels, fine liners and ball points though and the paper seemed to perform quite well with those.

So this may not be the perfect notebook if you’re a die hard fountain pen lover, but if you’re good throwing a ballpoint or gel pen in your purse, then this still might be a great notebook for jotting important things down when you’re out and about. And I do love that elastic loop at the corner for keeping the notebook closed and the edges tidy when I throw it in my bag.

DISCLAIMER: I purchased this notebook with my own funds for the purposes of this review. Please see the About page for more details.

That In-Between Feeling

That In-Between Feeling

Right now, in the Midwest, it is no longer winter but its not quite spring yet. This in-between weather is similar to my in-between feeling in my stationery world as well.

I am almost finished with a notebook, a Stalogy A5 that I’ve been using to journal. I’m not quite finished but close enough to consider what the next notebook will be. Do I stay in the same notebook cover (Curnow turquoise cover) and just buy another Stalogy notebook or do I try to mix things up? To be honest, actually being at a point where I’ve almost finished a notebook is a new sensation for me. I often get bored or lose momentum on a particular notebook far sooner than I reach the end of the book. It feels a little risky to mess with a formula that has actually had me writing just to try something new.

This is all the pages I have left in the A5 Stalogy — maybe 20 pages?

In my stationery cupboard, I have a few notebooks that I could pull off the shelf to be my next journal:

I am loyal to the Paperblanks heavyweight paper notebooks and any 68gsm Tomoe River I can find: in this stack are four Paperblanks MIDI sized notebooks (approx. B6) and five 68gsm Tomoe River from Endless, GLP Creations and Odyssey Notebooks.

Okay, many more than a few. I recently bought a several more Midi sized Paperblanks with the 110 and 120 gsm paper. Like so many people, when you find the paper you love, you stockpile it. We have all seen how quickly paper can change or be discontinued. I prefer the 68gsm Tomoe River paper and have been stockpiling it for sometime as well. I actually traded some of the lighter weight OG Tomoe River for the 68gsm because, as a lefty, I just can’t justify the dry-time/smear-likelihood of the lighter weight. I’ll sacrifice a little sheen not to have ink all over me, my notebook and everything else.

Inks swatched on Col-o-ring Oversize paper.

I’ve been on a purple ink trend all winter. Both my daily use pens (Don’t shoot me. They are both Sailor ProGear Slim fountain pens with EF nibs.) have been filled with purple-y inks (Monteverde Birthday Cake and Lennon Tool Bar Morning Glory which are almost identical and Monteverde Blueberry Muffin which is much more of a burgundy than purple). The Monteverde Birthday Cake is a seriously underrated ink. It has a great range of shading and it sheens under the right conditions too.

I’ve been using these three inks so consistently that that I have actually put a dent into the amount of ink in the bottles. Is this the year I actually finish a bottle of ink or am I ready to move to a different color family?

What’s your feeling on this mid-season malaise? Do you feel the itch to change things up or, if you’ve had success with a pen/ink/paper combo, do you stick with it? Do you have favorites you go back to time and time again?

Giveaway Winner: Enigma Stationery Nahvalur Exclusive “Brilliant Bunny” Fountain Pen

I cannot believe how many folks entered our giveaway for the Enigma Stationery Nahvalur Exclusive ‘Brilliant Bunny’ Nautilus Fountain Pen. Truly amazing and thanks to everyone for sharing their Chinese Zodiac signs.

I am a year of the dog, by the way. Really! A cat person born in the year of the dog?!? Craziness, I know.

Now, for our winner:

Congrats to Stephanie! May she embrace her inner rabbit this year with her new fantastic pen!

Special thanks to Enigma Stationery for providing this pen for giveaway.


Do you love reading posts at the Desk? Do you ever wish you could find a ton of other pen and stationery aficionados you can follow? Do you want to search for specific topics or reviews? Then we’ve got the answer: Pennaquod.

Pennaquod is maintained by Ian and is a way to search through compendium of posts from a ton of fabulous blogs. You can search Pennaquod for a specific topic (my search here was for “Platinum 3776”) and get a full list of blog posts on the topic to browse at your leisure.

Or you can simply browse the list of blogs Pennaquod searches and check out the ones that appeal to you to find new reviews.

All the blogs included are produce genuine blog reviews, and Ian’s site is a resource to the community, and not a for-profit venture.

Happy reading!

Ink Review: Taisho Inks, Part 1

Ink Review: Taisho Inks, Part 1

I get so excited when I find a new line of ink! The manufacturer of this line is Teranishi and I’ve come across two lines of their ink – Guitar and Taisho Roman. I have three of the Taisho Roman inks to show today. I picked these up from St. Louis Art Supply for $18.95 each which works out to $0.47 per mL.

The external packaging for the Taisho inks is almost identical to some of the Taccia inks, perhaps giving hints to the actual ink manufacturer. The bottle contains 40mL of ink and has a small tag attached with space for a tiny swatch of the ink although the paper used for the tag is too absorbent to show the ink color accurately.

The three ink colors I have here are Gentle Green, Smoky Navy, and Opera Rose.

Opera Rose is an interesting color – a bit under saturated terracotta or salmon orange/pink/brown. It shades but not dramatically.

Papier Plume’s 011 ink is a few shades darker than Opera Rose, but the color is a match.

Smoky Navy has some great shading and is a lovely blue-black ink. Occasionally a hint of sheen shows up but only in the swatch.

I had a hard time finding a match to Smoky Navy in my collection. The lightest portion of the swatch is a match with Diamine Prussian Blue, and the darker areas appeared to match Robert Oster Thunderstorm, but the camera brings out much more green in Smoky Navy.

I saved my favorite of the batch for last. Gentle Green. It immediately reminded me of Taccia Sabimidori with the way is wrote blue but dried to a definite green.

When comparing Gentle Green to Sabimidori, though, the colors were further apart than I had imagined. The heavier applications of Sabimidori are close to the color in Gentle Green, but the overall color is quite different. Wearingeul Mad Hatter is a good match.

The first page below is Tomoe River (TR7) paper

Next is Midori MD paper – this paper is cream rather than the white of the other two examples.

Finally, Cosmo Air Light 83gsm paper.

Here’s another shot of the Cosmo Air Light paper, turned to catch the sheen in both Gentle Green and Smoky Navy.

Scrolling through the photos of the paper types, you may have noticed how different the Taisho Roman inks appear on each. Gentle Green is the most obvious, but all three colors change between papers. I’ve photographed pairs of notebooks to show how much they can change.

Tomoe River 52gsm is on the left with Cosmo Air Light 83gsm on the right.

Cosmo Air Light 83gsm is on the left with Midori MD on the right. These don’t even look like the same inks.

So which ink and paper combination is your favorite?

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were purchased by me for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.