Tag Archives: iroshizuku

Iroshizuku Tsutsuji

2 Sep

I’m not a big fan of pinks. I only have one other pink in my possession and that is Levenger Pinkly. So, I can’t offer an alternative for this particular Iroshizuku ink. My apologies.

I figured folks would still like to see a review of it, so here it is.

This is quite a bright pink. There is some sort of slight undertone to it, but I can’t decide if it’s blue or purple. I could see using this for grading or editing papers. Suffice it to say I could not imagine reading a page of something written with Tsutsuji. But, if you are a big fan of bright/hot pinks, this may just be the ink for you.

The details:

  • Overall very well behaved.
  • No feathering or bleeding
  • Excellent flow and lubrication
  • Fairly quick drying time at 4-5 seconds.
  • Very minimal shading.
  • Slight water resistance, but not very good at all (see sheet).

(click to enlarge and sharpen the images)

No Affil.

Iroshizuku Tsukushi v Mont Blanc Toffee Brown

30 Aug

Up today is Iroshizuku Tsukushi (IT) and MB Toffee Brown (TB). I have to admit that I had very limited interest in trying Tsukushi until a friend of mine offered to give me a sample. In general, I’m not a fan of red browns, and all the scans I’d seen online showed a very red component to IT. I much prefer a straight brown like CdA Grand Canyon or Noodler’s #41 Brown. Once I’d tried IT I found it to be a cool toned medium saturated brown with an understated red component.

I actually stumbled upon TB as a Tsukushi substitute while at lunch with an FPN friend of mine. She had a pen filled with IT and I had one filled with TB. It was actually a bit difficult to tell the two apart. There are some differences though.

MB Toffee Brown is

Darker that IT
Higher saturated than IT
a little more red than IT
warmer/more golden than IT

Although the swabs highlight the differences between these two inks, if you take a look at the writing samples you can see a bit more of the similarity.

(click to enlarge and sharpen the images)


Another possible alternative to Tsukushi is De Atramentis Sepiabraun, however, I haven’t had to chance to try De Atramentis Sepiabraun, so I can’t really comment on how close it actually is.

If you have another suggestion for an alternative to IT please leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

No Affil.

Iroshizuku Fuyu Gaki v Diamine Vermillion

27 Aug

This red-orange-pink color category (just like violet) is near impossible to scan or photograph correctly. These images were scanned at 600dpi yet they are still pretty off. Nevertheless, I hope that these images can at least give you some indication of the differences between these two inks. Please note the color descriptions.

Up today is Iroshizuku Fuyu Gaki (FG) and Diamine Vermillion (DV). Color-wise, these two inks are nearly identical. FG is a medium red-orange with a slight pinkish undertone. DV is the same color but a shade or so lighter and a touch less pink. But be forewarned, Vermillion is a very VERY dry writing ink. Perhaps it is not as pronounces in a wider wetter nib, but it was particularly unpleasant with this Prera.

I’ve been asked how Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm compares to FG. Well, for starters it is of much higher saturation. It also has a much more pronounced pink attribute to it. This is especially true when put through the same Pilot Prera Fine nib. It looks almost salmon pink through an extra fine nib. Another color that falls in this category is Diamine Coral. It is the same color as Napalm but less saturated. Napalm or Coral could be great alternatives to Fuyu Gaki if (and only if) you don’t mind a more obviously pink ink.

To recap:

Fuyu Gaki is
Medium in saturation
Red-Orange with a slight touch of pink undertone
Rich in color

Vermillion is
Medium low in saturation (a shade lighter than FG)
The same red-orange color with less pink than FG
A bit more dull in color than FG
VERY VERY DRY WRITING

(Please click to enlarge and sharpen these images)


Other possible alternatives:
Rohrer and Klingner Morinda (darker, more red. no pink)
Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm (high saturation, brighter, much more pink)
Diamine Coral (Much more pink)

Do you have any substitute suggestions? If so, please let us know!

Disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

The bottle of Diamine Vermillion was sent to me for review by the good folks at Diamine. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

Iroshizuku Kon-Peki v. Diamine Mediterranean Blue v. Diamine Asa Blue

25 Aug

Now that I’m FINALLY back with all my review materials I can pick up where I left off on the Iroshizuku reviews and comparisons.

Today I’m looking at Iroshizuku Kon Peki (KP), Diamine Mediterranean Blue (MB), and Diamine Asa Blue (AB). Let me just start by saying that Kon Peki is a truer blue than either MB or AB. If you take a look at this swabbed comparison you can see that all three are roughly the same hue. They are swab from lightest (MB) to darkest (AB).

Mediterranean Blue is

Lighter than KP
Very slightly greener than KP
Feathers a bit more than KP

Asa Blue is

Darker than KP
Also slightly greener than KP
Flows better/faster than KP

While MB and AB are both quite similar to KP I think Mediterranean Blue is the better alternative in terms of color. However, take a close look at the review card and sheet for MB. It has some behavioral issues that might be a no go for some. If behavior is more important to you than the color match I’d choose Asa Blue as the alternative.

(please click to enlarge and sharpen the photos)




Other possible alternatives to Kon-Peki:
Noodler’s Eel Blue
Diamine WES Kensington Blue

Do you know of any other alternatives? If so, please leave a message listing them. We’d all appreciate it!

Disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

The two bottles of Diamine were sent to me for review by the good folks at Diamine. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

Iroshizuku Yama Guri vs. Caran d’Ache Grand Canyon Brown?

18 Aug

Firstly, let me apologize for how long it is taking for me to get these reviews/comparisons up. I intended to do 3 a week, but they have turned out to be a lot more work than I bargained for. In addition, I’ve had some unexpected health distractions come up, so I’ve been away from the blog for about a week. I’m also in the middle of a move, so I’m going between two places that are 3 hours apart. I’m presently stuck at one of those places while all my review materials are at another place! This set of scans is the only set I have on this computer, so it’s probably going to be next week until I can start getting the other Iroshizuku reviews up. As if that weren’t enough, I’m a grad student, and I’ve got grad work that is taking a lot of time right now. I’m so sorry about this, but sometimes life just happens, and it’s happening to me at an astonishing rate!

Now for the review/comparison:

Iroshizuku Yama Guri (YG) and CdA Grand Canyon (GC) are the two browns that are responsible for my present love affair with brown ink. Now, you might be saying to yourself that these two inks are quite different. Well, yes they are, but hear me out! I still think GC can be a wonderful alternative to YG. Sure, there are inks that are a little closer in color, but they don’t come close to Iroshi’s behavior characteristics. CdA inks are some of the only inks that can go toe to toe with Iroshizuku behavior. It’s the behavior similarities that make GC the perfect alternative for me.

Yama Guri is

a dark cool brown that can have a sort of green sheen/tint to it in a wet writer
It doesn’t shade much

Grand Canyon is

A warmer brown with some golden undertones
It is not as dark as YG
It exhibits phenomenal shading

Here’s the thing though, if I’m honest, I actually like Grand Canyon Brown more than Yama Guri. Yes YG is a wonderful ink, yes the behavior is fabulous, but there is still something missing for me. GC has that something I’m looking for. What’s more, GC is every bit as well behaved.

(click to enlarge and sharpen the photos)

Other alternatives:
Rohrer & Klingner Sepia: Darker, not as well behaved
Noodler’s #41 Brown: not as well behaved, bullet proof
Diamine Saddle Brown (maybe): a little less saturated

Disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

ETA 06/28/2011:

At their retail prices both are approximately $1.67 per ml. However, in terms of initial upfront cost the Caran d’Ache is more affordable even though you pay the same price per ml in the end. At the end of the review I list other inks that come pretty close to Yama Guri at a much lower price per ml.

But, honestly, I’m never going to get through 50ml of this ink. I have SO many bottles/samples of inks and several other browns. I can’t even hope to get through 30ml of it, so that makes the price per ml even less relevant for me. So if, like me, you are more concerned with the upfront cost as opposed to the cost per ml, then Caran d’Ache is a good alternative.

No Affil.

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Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku vs. Noodler’s Turquoise/Eel Blue mix?

6 Aug

Disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

Ku-Jaku is easily my favorite of the Iroshizuku line. I wish I could offer you a ready-made substitute, but honestly I just can’t find one. This color is just that unique. Every turquoise I tried was either too green, too blue, too light or too dark. Then there is the issue of shading too much or too little.

The closest sub was Noodler’s Turquoise (standard not eel), but it was too green. So I started to mix it with Eel Blue. I finally came up with a good mix: Noodler’s Turquoise to Eel blue mixed 3:2. The resultant mix is just about exact in color except that the mix is just a hint more green than Ku-Jaku. Even though the color is nearly identical I am still not happy to call this a real substitute. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it just doesn’t have the Ku-Jaku feel (if you’ve ever used the ink you’ll know what I mean).

Here is a swab comparison of the two:

Noodler’s Turquoise/Eel Blue is

  • Darker than Ku Jaku
  • A little more green
  • Shades a lot more
  • Doesn’t have that “it factor”

Here are the accompanying review cards and sheets (click to enlarge):

I haven’t tried every blue-green there is. If you know of a better substitute please let me know.

No Affil.

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Iroshizuku Yama Budo vs. Noodler’s Saguaro Wine

4 Aug

This is the first installment in my Iroshizuku segment. Before I begin let me add a disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

Yama Budo is one of my favorite Iroshizuku inks. It is a deep rich sort of mauve color. It is very reminiscent of grapes and wine. As with all the Iroshizuku Inks it is very well-behaved. The only problem for me is the price. Of the inks I have tried, Noodler’s Saguaro Wine comes the closest to being a substitute for Yama Budo. It is almost the exact color except that SW is a bit brighter and pinker than YB which is matte-er and redder than SW. As you can see from the scanned reviews, depending on the pen these two inks can be largely indistinguishable.

Here is a quick comparison card. Swabs have a way of highlighting the differences between similar inks, but those differences diminish when you run the inks through fountain pens.

Saguaro Wine is

  • Pinker and brighter (try mixing in a little red to get the color closer to YB)
  • Higher saturated
  • Slower drying (you can fix this by adding a little water to SW)
  • Smears on Rhodia paper (you can fix this by adding a little water to SW)

Reviews for each (click to enlarge the pictures):

All images were scanned in at 600dpi and then compressed. All images were adjusted in the exact same fashion.

Other suggestions for substitutes (from FPN):

  • Private Reserve Plum
  • J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen
  • Diamine Claret
  • Rohrer & Klingner Magenta
  • Caran d’Ache Storm

If you have a moment please leave some feedback. Do you like this set up? Is there some other information you want me to include? Do you know of another substitute?

Thanks for looking. No Affil.

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Pilot Iroshizuku!

2 Aug

This post marks the beginning of an Iroshizuku segment. I’ve got 8 samples and 2 bottles of Iroshi to get through. This ink is truly amazing. It is fantastic stuff. The colors on the whole are quite unique.

As mentioned in the Iroshizuku Price Hike and Finding Affordable Substitutes post, this ink now has an MSRP of $35 (you can find it for $28 at JetPens). I personally refuse to spend that much on a bottle of ink, so I’m on the look out for suitable (and cheaper) alternatives. So, the format for these reviews is going to be  a bit different. First, I’m going to review the Iroshi ink, then I’m going to show you an alternative to it if I’ve found one.

I hope you will enjoy it. In the meantime, let me show you a scan of the 10 Iroshi inks in question. NOTE: you might need something to catch your drool…

(You can click to enlarge this photo, but be forewarned, it is HUGE.)

Note2: The bottom and side portions are written using a Speedball B-5 1/2 dip pen nib. It writes just like a western broad nib. The paper is from a Rhodia N° 18 Blank pad.

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Iroshizuku Price Hike and Finding Affordable Substitutes

2 Jun

Now that JetPens has been forced to join the Pilot US price hike ( :glare: ) I thought it might be useful to make a post about ink colors that are similar to Iroshizuku.

If you are blissfully unaware of the recent price hike let me give you a quick run down. It used to be that you could only get Iroshi from JetPens, on Ebay or direct from Japan. In the US most were getting their Iroshizuku from JetPens for the high price of $22.50. But, this was doable because of the free shipping you got once you reached the $25 requirement. So, you ordered a bottle of Iroshi and a cheap pen and you got the free shipping.

Around the end of last year, Pilot US announced that they would start importing Iroshizuku, thus making it widely available on the US market. We all thought that was great until we found out that they set the MSRP at $35 a bottle! The ink was already expensive at $22.50, but $35 is ridiculous. Apparently, Pilot US will allow the ink to be priced as low as $28. That is still a lot of money for a bottle of ink.

At any rate, JetPens had assured us that they would continue to sell Iroshi at $22.50 because they had found a way to work around the Pilot US distribution network. Wel,l a couple weeks ago JetPens announced that they were essentially being forced to raise their price by Pilot US. They apologized, but notified us that the price would increase to $28 starting June 1. There was a mad dash to get Iroshi at the cheaper price; as of yesterday the price increase is now in effect.

Now, I know  many of us were price out of the ink at $22.50, so $35 or even $28 is just way beyond the amount many of us are willing to pay.  Many of us have decided that iroshizuku is not for us, so we are looking for alternatives (enter this post).

What follows is a list of inks that are in some ways similar to Iroshizuku inks. This list is complied from experiences expressed on FPN and from my own experience sampling inks.

NB: I’m only saying these inks are similar. They are not exact. Some of these inks are more similar to the Iroshi than others. These are the brakes. If you want the exact color you’ll have to buy the Iroshizuku. There are properties of that ink that simply don’t exist with any other ink on the market. This particularly applies to their green-blues and blue-greens. If you are in doubt I suggest that you order samples from Pear Tree Pens, Goulet Pens, or participate in the FPN Ink Sample Exchange so that you can “try before you buy.”

THE LIST:

If you like x, then you’ll probably like y

If Ajisai, then ???
If Asa gao, then Visconti Blue or PR Lake Placid Blue or Diamine Sapphire or Herbin Eclat de Saphir
If Fuyu-syogun, then ??? [maybe Dia Prussian Blue in a dry writer. In the wet writer Prussian Blue is more blue than gray]
If Kiri-Same, then ??? [maybe J. Herbin Gris Nuage?]
If Kon-Peki, then Diamine Mediterranean Blue or Diamine Asa Blue or Noodler’s Eel Blue or Diamine Kensington Blue (in a wet writer)
If Ku-Jaku, then ??? [maybe ND turquoise (standard line mixed with Noodler's Eel Blue?]
If Momiji, then Mont Blanc Love Letter
If Fuyu-gaki, then ND Dragon’s Napalm or Diamine Coral or Diamine Vermillion
If Tsukushi, then De Atramentis Sepiabraun or Mont Blanc Toffee Brown
If Yama-Guri, then R&K Sepia or CdA Grand Canyon
If Shin-Ryoku, then???
If Syo-Ro, then Dia Teal or Noodler’s Coral Sea, Australian Exclusive
If Tsuki-Yo, then PR Ebony Blue or Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris or Diamine Blue Black or Noodler’s Legal Lapis
If Tsutsuji, then ???
If Tsuyu-kusa, then ???
If Yama-Budo, then ND Saguaro Wine or PR Plum or JH Rose Cyclamen or Diamine Claret or Rohrer & Klingner Magenta or Caran d’Ache Storm
If Yu-Yake, then CdA Saffron or Noodler’s Apache Sunset

This list is incomplete. There are several inks I or FPN haven’t found a substitute for yet. As more information becomes available I’ll let you know. If you have any ideas please leave a comment below or send me a Tweet and I will add them to the list!

Thanks.

No affil.

Pink-Orange/Orange Comparison

1 Mar

Finally, I had a bit of sunlight coming through my window so I could get a good picture of this sheet. These colors are difficult to photograph, but I’ve done my best, and they seem pretty true to color to me.

pink orange comp

  • Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki. This is a red-orange, but there is something coral/pink about it in my eyes. I like it very much.
  • Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm. What a fun color! I don’t know what I’d use it for, but it is visually appealing. Definitely a Pink-Orange color.
  • Diamine Coral. This is surprisingly similar to Dragon’s Napalm. It is, however, a bit more orange. Still quite a nice pink orange.
  • JH Orange Indien. This is one of my favorite oranges. Seems a straight orange to me. Very little red.
  • Iroshizuku Yu-Yake. This has a little more red to it than Orange Indien. It does not photograph well here. Quite a lovely orange.
  • Private Reserve Orange Crush. I think my bottle may be turning a bit, which is a problem with this ink. It was a bit more orange several years ago, now it’s an orange-brown sort of color. I still like it though.
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