I've Moved!

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The Dizzy Pen can now be found at http://dizzypen.wordpress.com/ .

Hope to see you there!


Iroshizuku Price Hike and Finding Affordable Substitutes

The Dizzy Pen has moved. This LiveJournal is now dormant. For an up-to-date version of this list please click here.
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."


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
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 Kensington Blue (in a wet writer)
If Ku-Jaku, then ND turquoise (standard line)
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
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
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!


No affil.

J. Herbin Cacao du Bresil

I really was never a brown ink kind of person. It is not until recently that I've come into the fold so to speak, but even so, I really dislike brown inks that lean red, green, or yellow. I want an ink that is a dark brown that maybe leans a bit black or gray. Thus, it was love at first sight for JH Cacao Du Bresil. It's gray yet brown or rather brown yet gray!

The Details:
  • I'd describe this color as a medium-darkish brown ink that heavily leans gray. It really needs a wet writer to strut its stuff. In a dry writer it will simple look light gray.
  • There is not bleeding or feathering.
  • The shading is phenomenal.
  • It dries relatively quickly.
  • Waterproof? No, but the resistance is very good indeed.


No Affil.

Private Reserve Burgundy Mist

This is a recent favorite of mine. I think of it as the darker, thicker, better behave sister to PR Arabian Rose.

The Details:

  • I'd describe this color as a deep dark burgundy color. It leans a bit purple.
  • No feathering or bleeding
  • Excellent flow. The lub is decent, but can feel a bit dry in a dry writer.
  • Excellent shading for an ink this dark.
  • Not waterproof, but some small measure of resistance.


No Affil.

Diamine Sherwood Forest (bespoke)

I don't like dark green ink. I've tried, but it's just not my cup of tea. A FPN friend sent me part of a bottle of this ink in hopes of swaying me. It didn't work. Nevertheless, I know many of you love dark green, so I thought I'd review it for you.

The Details:

  • I'd describe this ink as a very deep dark forest green with a bit of a glow to it. My understanding is that this ink was formulated to be similar to Noodler's Zhivago, but greener. I think it has done it.
  • There is no feathering or bleed through
  • It flows very well and is pretty lubricating
  • The drying time is rather speedy at about 4 seconds
  • There isn't much shading at all
  • It isn't waterproof, but does show some water resistance


No Affil.

Pink-Orange/Orange Comparison

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.

4x4 Yellow Ruled Post-it Note pad

Originally uploaded by Dizzypen
Since I'm avoiding doing my work and since someone posted a topic on FPN about being unable to find Fountain Pen Friendly Post-It Notes I thought I'd post a quick and dirty review of these.

I love post-it notes and use them pretty much everyday. On my desk I always have one of these 4x4 Yellow Ruled Post-it Note pads.

I'm not sure about every other type of Post-It and I'm not sure about quality control on these, but the ones I've used are exceptionally FP friendly. In fact, the paper out performs many other cheap papers I've tried despite the fact that it is lightly coated.

There is no feathering or bleed through.
Drying time is a bit extended (probably because of the coating).
The lines do not absorb ink as you can see in the photo.

HTH and No Affil.

Visconti Blue

I can't believe I haven't put this review up yet. Visconti Blue is HANDS DOWN my favorite straight blue ink. It is one of only 2 inks in my collection that I will replace once this bottle is used up. Fantastic.

The details:
  • Visconti Blue is a Medium Dark straight blue. It does not lean green or red or anything else. It's just blue. What sets it apart is the vibrancy of it. It jumps off the page at you, but not enough to be offensive. I see this is the perfect professional ink.
  • There is no bleeding or feathering. It actually performs fairly well on cheap copy paper, which is always a plus.
  • Flow and lubrication of this ink is just perfection so far as I am concerned. All of my pens love this ink. Very wet writing and saturated.
  • The drying time is also a bit better than average at just under 5 secs. I've never had any smudging issue with it.
  • You aren't really going to find any shading here, but for this ink I don't care.
  • It stands up pretty well to the odd water spill (speaking from experience there :headsmack:). The writing remains quite legible though some of the blue does wash away.

All in all this is a fantastic blue and a mainstay in my collection.

Vis Blue Card

No Affil.

Diamine WES Kensington Blue

Ha! I'm on a role here. After weeks of inactivity I'm posting nearly every day. Sorry for the sudden hemorrhage of reviews, but I have quite a few just waiting to be typed up and I've suddenly come upon some time to do them!

Now, about the Diamine Kensington Blue... what a great blue!

I am currently drowning in blue inks. While I like blue ink I don't like it nearly as much as my ink shelf would suggest. I just can't resist giving them a whirl.

I received about 20ml of this ink in a trade with a fellow FPNer. Let me tell you I really like this blue a lot.

The Basics
  • I'd describe the color as a medium blue with turquoise blue tendencies. This ink does not, however, have any green cast to it whatsoever. It is a straight up blue.
  • This ink does not like cheap/poor quality paper. It will feather and bleed into next week if used on anything less than a premium paper. It does well on Staples Bagasse and HP LaserJet 24# but really struts its stuff on Rhodia, Clairefontaine, and Cranes. On high quality papers there is no bleeding or feathering at all.
  • The flow and lub are good, not the best I've seen but quite good nonetheless. You certainly don't feel as through you are dragging your pen along the page.
  • The drying time is average at around 7 seconds. This is not a super fast drying ink so lefties need to take some measure of care to not smudge the page as they go.
  • Shading is there, but is not very pronounced depending on the pen and paper combo. I'm sure this ink could shade wonderfully under the right circumstances.

All in all, this is a pretty good ink. Probably my favorite thing about the ink is how it changes from nib to nib and paper to paper. The review card shows the ink to be quite light and uninteresting with a fine nib, but once I switched to the Broad and wet Stub the ink took on an entirely different personality. I've included shots of both so you can see for yourself.



I apologize for the gray cast of the papers. Getting the ink color right was more important and all attempts to adjust the exposure, white balance, etc. resulted in the ink color being thrown completely off.

No Affil.