Ink

Sailor Shikiori: Sakura-Mori ink review.

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I am a big fan of Sailor inks. I have found that they consistently perform well and they come in such beautiful colours.

When the Sailor Shikiori inks arrived in the UK earlier on this year, in the now smaller 20ml bottle, I took a punt on trying out the Sakura-Mori. The smaller bottle size and lower price point made me more willing to try out this colour. Normally these sort of light tones put me off. I always feel like you’re going to be disappointed because it’s never going to be strong or vibrant enough.

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The colour.

The Sakura-Mori takes its name and colour from the beautiful Japanese blossoms being a light pink ink. It's one of the lightest shades in the Shikiori range and a bit of an outlier. It is a very pretty and slightly unusual pink ink. I don’t think there are many similar inks out there, perhaps there’s one from Pilot.

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The Sakura-Mori is a pretty flat ink colour. There is a tiny bit of any shading there if you’re really trying hard and use a broad nib.

Using the Sakura-Mori.

This colour doesn’t work well in a fine nib fountain pen. To really get the benefits and make your writing legible the broader the nib the better.

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The light colour means its not strong enough on the page and can feel like it’s disappeared. But put this ink in a medium or broad nib pen, really lay down some ink on the page and this colour comes into its own.

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Overall thoughts.

This isn't an ink I use everyday or would have permanently inked up in a fountain pen. It’s also perhaps not an ink I would restock if I ran out. But its a nice ink and I’ve enjoyed using it. I’m glad I’ve tried it too because I am always curious about these light pink shades and this feels like the best brand to try out.

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My Sketching Update

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I wrote a post not too long ago about my experiences sketching while on holiday. Finding the time to sketch, using the scenery and people around me to document our trip gave me ample opportunities and enough inspiration to sketch a lot. I wanted to continue with this when I returned home to normal life and unsurprisingly this proved challenging.

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Taking up any task at home is always hard to do with life and work commitments eating in on your time. Sketching the everyday is tricky and finding something that peaks my interest is difficult.

In the past few months I have found inspiration in some of the old English villages close to where I live. I often take photos when out and then sketch in the evenings. The time and confidence to urban sketch have not fully aligned (yet).

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My sketches are mostly in ink and watercolour. My technique isn’t great and I still can’t quite wrap my head around how watercolours work and the best ways to mimic what I am seeing. My painting feels childlike and simple, but I’m working on it.

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I have been using two sketchbooks, my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook and the new(ish) Field Notes Signature sketchbook. The Field Notes sketchbook worked as something small and lightweight. I drew rough outlines of things, sometimes in person, or just doodled. The Moleskine was where I then put a little more effort in, used my watercolours and took some time to do improve on things.

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Recently I’ve started playing around with coloured pencils as an alternative medium. I can quickly grab a coloured pencil to add some accents to a pencil or ink sketch or to use this as the dominant medium. I try to not be concerned about replicating the same colours and just use the palette of pencils I have with me, but this doesn’t quite feel natural yet.

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Inktober starts tomorrow and I have had floating thoughts about taking part this year. A conversation with an old friend got me thinking about my drawings and gave me some encouragement to re-focus. Inktober is a great opportunity to commit to drawing everyday. There will be an abundance of moral support and ideas. I have a new Field Notes sketchbook ready as I am almost done with the old one, and plan on keeping everything simple, pencil and drawing pen. From there I’ll see where the month takes me.

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I want to focus on the everyday as I think this will help make sketching more of a habit but also make me observe the things around me a lot more. I will try and find the inspiration and beauty in the everyday things.

I will share as much as I can through my Instagram account but also will commit to a follow up post at the end of the month to share my thoughts and learnings from this exercise. A month should be sufficient to make sketching a real habit and help me find a routine.

I’d love to hear about your sketching journey and if you’re taking part in Inktober so please feel free to share.

Sailor Waga-Uguisu Ink Review.

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The Sailor Waga-Uguisu ink is from the 2016 Four Seasons limited edition range. I read review after review on this new range with a hint of jealousy as you couldn’t get your hands on them in the UK. A sad, familiar tale.

I first noticed Waga-Uguisu from a post by Liz at Wonderpens and it immediately caught my eye. Green has always been a colour I am drawn to but when it came to finding a good, usable, legible green ink its felt like a loosing battle. Waga-Uguisu looked like the right sort of colour and I’d had nothing but good experiences with Sailor inks. I sadly however dismissed this ink thinking I’d never be able to grab a bottle and so didn’t want to obsess over it.

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Fast forward to earlier on this year and I happened on these inks on the Pure Pens website on pre-order. After many ignored tweets asking when these would arrive, weeks later they were in stock and I was finally able to get my hands on a bottle.

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Using Waga-Uguisu.

The good news is Waga-Uguisu has not been a disappointment. The more I use Sailor inks the more I fall in love. The tones and colours of the inks are beautiful and they are so nice to use. I’ve used them in a range of fountain pens from the pricey through to entry level and the experience has been good in all.

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I haven’t stopped using this ink since I got my hands on it. In person the colour is more vibrant and bold than the photos I’d seen. It’s a deep green shade that still manages to give you a hint of those lighter tones. There is no sheen or sparkle, which isn’t a bad thing, but with a broader and wetter nib you will see some variation in colour and a decent amount of shading.

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Depending on the paper you’re using the ink performs a little differently. Shading is more pronounced on Tomoe River paper, as you’d expect, but even on heavier papers it’s still there, just a little more muted.

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Overall thoughts.

Calling out favourites is always a bold statement in my opinion. Favourites are based on a lot of variables such as mood, experience and personal factors that influence your perspective...however every now and again I feel a little bold. Waga-Uguisu is my second favourite ink. Sailor Blue-Black is the out and out winner and probably always will be as its more versatile and can be used in most situations. However the Waga-Uguisu is a very close second. The green shade is gorgeous, not too bright, not too yellow and not too neon green. It reminds me of a forest green, lush, deep and with plenty of shade. This ink is a limited edition which is a real shame and I guess over time will disappear out of stock. I have never finished a bottle of ink so I don’t think I need to stock up, but it’ll be a sad day when this ink disappears.

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Diamine Golden Oasis Shimmer Ink Review

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The Diamine Golden Oasis Shimmertastic Ink was sent to me by Executive Pens Direct to review here on the blog. All views expressed on this ink are my own.

The shimmer revolution.

I have only ever bought and used one shimmer ink, J.Herbins Stormy Grey, and I bought that ink due to novelty and a lot of hype. I very rarely use it and never have this in any of my fountain pens out of pure fear that it'll clog the feed and ruin my pen. I also have a lot of fine nib fountain pens and these don't seem to be the best nib widths to use with a shimmer ink because you’re just not going to appreciate that shimmer. So when I received one of Diamine's Shimmertastic inks in one of my favourite colours I thought I needed to revisit my view on the shimmer and see if anything had changed since the days of Stormy Grey.

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There are an abundance of shimmer inks out there in the market and Diamine have carved out a good portion of said market. They have a huge range of ink colours that they have added glitter or shimmer too and that range expanded only last year, I presume out of sheer success. I think the shimmer revolution is a fad and something that won't stick around for too long, but despite that it's here and I guess worth looking into.

The specifics of this ink colour.

Diamine Golden Oasis is a lovely bright and vibrant green ink that has been paired with gold shimmer to sparkle on your paper. When you really throw some of this ink on the page it glistens but the ink needs to be used liberally to see the benefit. I have seen some shimmer with a fine nib fountain pen but not enough to appreciate it.

I love the base green of this ink, it's bright and vibrant. It looks a little bit like Diamine Meadow which I always find a lovely Spring like colour.

It's also interesting to use a bright coloured shimmer ink, most of them seem to be darker shades to really get that contrast between the ink and glitter, but this is a sunny shade and it's lovely. It's an ink colour that despite the shimmer I would be attracted to.

Finding the shimmer

The best place to see these flecks are in the ink bottle. If this has been settled for any amount of time you see a build up of the shimmer at the base of the ink bottle. When filling a fountain pen or using the ink you really have to shake up the bottle to make sure the flecks flow through the ink otherwise you won’t see any shimmer.

Shimmer build up in the base of the bottle 

Shimmer build up in the base of the bottle 

I have used this ink in my Platinum Plasir fountain pen, against my better judgement. After very little time you can easily see the residue build up in the feed where all those tiny gold flecks build up. In my Plasir this doesn't really worry me, but if in a more expensive fountain pen I would probably be crying.

After a pretty decent shake

After a pretty decent shake

Different uses.

I have also tried using Golden Oasis with a paintbrush to attempt brush lettering and this worked fairly well. I have also tested this out with a dip pen. This wasn’t as easy or smooth as with a paintbrush, there was some clogging in the nib which I had to remove every now and again, but the dip pen did show up the shimmer in the ink.

Overall thoughts.

I like Diamine's Golden Oasis ink, it's a great colour thats very bright and fun. This isn't an ink that I would personally use in my fountain pens because I would be too concerned about the damage it could cause. However to use with a dip pen, calligraphy pen or a paintbrush then I think you could really have some fun with this ink.

I'd like to that Executive Pens Direct for sending me this ink to review on the blog.