Archive | Comparisons RSS feed for this section

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

6 Aug

[tweetmeme source=”dizzypen” only_single=false

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.


Scan of 7 new Diamine colors

5 Aug

[tweetmeme source=”dizzypen” only_single=false

Today I received a package of 30 Diamine inks. In that package was 7 of the 8 new Diamine colors. Since I know several people are anxious to see what they look like I quickly swabbed and dip tested each one. There will be full length reviews just as soon as I can manage it. My favorite so far is Asa Blue.

Red Dragon: Appears brighter in this scan than in person
Oxblood: true to color
Syrah: true to color
Evergreen: a little too yellow here, but very close to true
Green/Black: a little too much blue
Asa Blue: true to color
Twilight: true to color

(Click to enlarge and sharpen the photo, but be forewarned, the image is huge)

These samples were sent to me by the good folks at Diamine. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.


Iroshizuku Yama Budo vs. Noodler’s Saguaro Wine

4 Aug

[tweetmeme source=”dizzypen” only_single=false

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.


Pilot Iroshizuku!

2 Aug

[tweetmeme source=”dizzypen” only_single=false

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.

No Affil.


Red Comparison

22 Jul

This post originally appeared on The Ink Nouveau, but since I use this blog as an archive I thought it best to put it up here as well.

(Click on any photo to view a larger size)

When Brian put out a request for guest reviewer I immediately volunteered. Since the J. Herbin 1670 ink had just launched I thought it would be worthwhile to do a comparison of red inks from a few of the manufacturers he carries. Brian sent me a sample of every ink reviewed here except the Diamine Monaco Red. I already owned that one. Apart from being a customer of his I am not otherwise affiliated with Brian. I am also not affiliated with any of the manufacturers reviewed herein.

Diamine Classic Red:

Dia Classic Red Card

I must admit that this was by far my least favorite of the bunch. It is the only one that misbehaved on my everyday paper: HP LaserJet 24lbs. However, it does perform well on Rhodia, Clairefontaine, etc. If you plan to use this ink plan to use it with premium papers. The shading is quite good and the flow is excellent. I’m not much on the color, but the name is fitting. It is a dullish medium red.

Caran d’ Ache Sunset:


This is an attractive pinkish red. It is the outlier in this group. None of the others exhibit this pink quality. This ink is the driest feeling of the bunch. But, has some of the best shading, and it is one of the fastest drying.

Private Reserve Dakota Red:

PR Dakota Card

This is a brightish medium red. When I researched this ink I found some complaints of the ink clogging pens and/or throwing precipitants. When I informed Brian of this he told me the ink has been reformulated, so I decided to test it out for a while. I put it in a Platinum Preppy and left it to sit for one and a half weeks. I am happy to report that there was NO CLOGGING and NO PRECIPITANTS.

Believe it or not, this ink is actually the best behaved out of the bunch. There is some shading, and it is fast drying. It flows well, and it is pretty good so far as lubrication is concerned. In addition, it is one of the least saturated, but also the most water-resistant. All in all not a bad ink.

Diamine Monaco Red:


This ink is from my own personal stash. I tend to use it for grading because its brick red blood color is dark enough to be easy on the eyes, but still red enough to catch the students’ attention. It is very well-behaved even on cheap student paper. I prefer it in an extra-fine or fine nib, but in a wider nib you get lots more shading.

J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite:

JH 1670 Card

Now for the ink of the moment! This ink is FANTASTIC! I have to say that I’m not the biggest red ink fan in the world, but as soon as I got this ink down on paper I was enamored. Furthermore, of the inks Brian sent to me this is the only one I went out and purchased (Brian is expecting a shipment soon. Until then, make sure to contact him to be placed on the waitlist). The color is similar to that of fresh blood. I’d describe it as a red-orange mixed with maroon. It’s very appealing. It’s also quite vibrant, but not unpleasantly so. It has the best flow and lubrication of the inks compared here. It is also the most saturated, which is surprising for J. Herbin. Unfortunately, because of that saturation this ink is slow drying and it remains smudge-able long after it is dry. Do note that this is a limited edition ink, so if you want some you may want to act fast!


Below are a couple comparison shots and a picture of the water test. I apologize in advance for the colors. I simply could not get these comparisons to display all the reds accurately. Please refer to the card shots above for more accurate representations of these inks.

Red Rhodia Comp

Red Pupitre Comp

Red water test


Dizzypen Guest Blog on The Ink Nouveau

22 Jul

Hello all,

I did a Guest blog for Brian of The Goulet Pen Company. He has posted it up on his blog. You can check it out at .

In that post I’ve reviewed and compared J. Herbin 1670, Diamine Monaco Red, Diamine Classic Red, PR Dakota Red, and Caran d’Ache Sunset.

The photos are a little dark. I apologize for that. For some reason Flickr darkened them a shade or two. The files on my computer are lighter. I don’t know what’s up with that.

Take care, Dizzy.

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.

Dark/Dusky purples

12 Feb

Well, just to round out my week in purples I’ve decided to post a comparison photo of some of the dark and/or dusky purples I’ve used in the past several months.


  • I’m not such a big fan of Noodler’s Purple Wampum. It can be a bit feathery, but the color is great!
  • PR Ebony Purple is my go to purple for when I want something bordering on black, but not black.
  • Mont Blanc Violet has great sentimental value for me. My husband gifted me this ink on our wedding day. I have two bottles of it and only use it on occasion. It is one of the best looking red leaning purples I’ve found.
  • JH Poussiere de Lune is gorgeous and performs flawlessly.
  • I have a love hate relationship with Diamine Damson. I like the color in the right pen, but I find the ink to be a bit dry feeling at times.
  • Diamine Amazing Amethyst is probably my favorite purple right now. It is basically the perfect gray purple that leans blue. There is nothing like it!

New Diamine Inks

16 Dec

My shipment arrived today and I am VERY pleased with my purchases. VERY. Here they are:


Amazing Amethyst is indeed amazing! I love this color. This is actually exactly the purple ink I’ve been looking for. It is medium dark and is purple with a slight bit of grey to it. It is completely different than Damson which was a bit too grey and mauve for me though still a nice color. This Amazing Amethyst is going to be my Edison ink. (I should have my pen in 2 weeks) I really wish they would make this a regular ink and sell it in the big bottles.

I really like the Lavender as. It is good and bright. It reminds me of Waterman Violet or Levenger Amethyst.

Marine is a gorgeous blue-green. It is almost exactly like Steel Blue except it is probably 50% less green and a couple shades lighter. So all of you who didn’t like Steel Blue because it is too green might like Marine.

Noodler’s Turquoise and Blue-Green Comparisons

4 Nov

I LOVE Blue-Green inks. I mean I REALLY love Blue-Green inks. ND Turquoise is one of my favorites along with Diamine Steel Blue.

Noodler’s Turquoise isn’t really turquoise. Instead it is a medium-dark blue leaning blue green. This is not a bulletproof ink or an eternal ink. This one is just a part of Noodler’s standard ink line. Not much different in composition from your run of the mill fountain pen ink brands. It behaves very well and is not overly saturated. Fantastic ink all around.

No feathering or bleed through.
The flow is excellent and the lubrication is quite good. My nib floats across the page.
The drying time is a little slower than average at 7-10 seconds, but not slow enough to cause any problems.
I haven’t seen much more than minimal shading out of this ink, but I’ve only had it in this fine nibbed pen. Shading might be more pronounced in a stub or italic pen.
This ink is not bulletproof or eternal. It isn’t even water resistant. It washed completely away almost instantly.


Here is are a couple Blue-Green comparisons for your review. I Hope you enjoy them:


BG Showdown 09

No Affil.

%d bloggers like this: