Ink review: KWZ Ink Raspberry

A pink ink crush is one of my most recent fountain pen related revolutions. I never  cared much for pink inks until I was gently ushered back towards them by using and loving burgundies and purples. The Fall of 2016 saw me falling for oranges and now that Spring is upon us, I ink my pens up with pinks. Now pink inks are somewhat of an issue when it comes to the delicate matter of “office appropriateness”. There are pinks that are and those that are not. For me the rule of thumb is: can I stand looking at a full written page for as long as it takes to read the text? If not, do not use the ink for business correspondence. Use it for journaling, editing, or writing messages on cards. Or any situation where is is okay for your written word to pop cheerfully into the reader’s spectrum.


KWZ Ink Raspberry is an ink I do use in office situations, where I take notes for myself in small paragraphs during a meeting. The lively, but not too “in your face” pink is bound to attract my attention later on when I am flipping through my notes. It is also a nice ink to use for editing printed texts. Especially in the extra fine nib, the ink shows up more as a pinkish burgundy than a bright pink. The wider the nib, the lighter and brighter the ink, the less work-appropriate it becomes. The color is beautiful, though, and I think this is a pink that will suit the many other uses you might have for your inks apart from using them in the office. A perfect ink for leaving a loving message to your better half when and where they least expect it.


As for the properties: this is a medium wet ink. It flows very good in my fine nibs. I have it in a Pilot Prera fine and that is always ready to write, with the ink still “respecting” the fine line this nib is supposed to lay down. My Lamy 1.5 is a well-used and very wet nib, so you can see it puts a much fatter ink line on the page than the much newer 1.1 and 1.9 Lamy nibs. In the Kaweco it behaves excellently, not too wet, certainly not dry. There is not a lot of shading, especially on this Leuchtturm paper. On more ink resistant paper such as Rhodia or Tomoe River, there is a bit more shading. I have not been able to detect any noteworthy sheen on any paper (perhaps if you put a blob of ink on Tomoe River) but the loveliness of the color makes up for that as far as I am concerned. Plus, it is nice to not be bedazzled by a lot of sheen on your written page when you use a bright color. Cleaning is done in a jiffy, which also means that the ink is not waterproof. So, very nice for letter writing, but the address will not survive a rain shower if the ink is used for addressing the envelope. One thing I almost forgot to mention is the smell. This KWZ ink has the most subtle smell of all the inks I have used so far. A little on the herbal side, and very light. Where inks like Honey, Old Gold and Menthol Green are really noticeable, Raspberry only has a hint of smell.


Looking at my always very scientifically executed -not- chromatography, you can see this ink consists of quite a lovely mix of pigments. Yellow-oranges, reds, going upwards into pinks and almost lavenders. This bit of tissue makes me very cheerful, actually!


Comparing KWZ Raspberry to a couple of other inks, you can see that it leans more towards the cherry-burgundy ink family where Amaranth and Black Swan in Australian Roses can be categorized. Diamine Hope Pink is truly a much more “Barbie” pink and Diamine Deep Magenta leans more towards the purple spectrum. Raspberry clearly has more of a reddish-pink component than those two.

All in all, a lovely pink. Since I bought the bottle, there has always been a pen inked up with this ink. I am curious how it will compare to Robert Oster’s Cherry Blossom and Pinky, and I am sure I will do a side by side of those inks one day. If I forget, do remind me.

Do you have a pink ink that has become a staple in your collection? Please leave a comment, I would love to know. Especially the guys out there “brave” enough to use pink inks!

Tools used:

  • KWZ Ink Raspberry, of course
  • Leuchtturm A5 notebook
  • Platinum Preppies EF, F, M
  • Lamy Vista B, 1.1, 1.5, 1.9
  • Kaweco Classic Sport BB architect grind
  • Lots of water and tissue
  • Diamine Hope Pink, Deep Magenta and Amaranth
  • Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses

Thank as ever for reading and until the next post!


Two fude pens compared

Lately you might have caught me basically fan-girling over fine nibs. As it turns out, I really, really like writing with finer nibs, especially on densely written pages. However, that doesn’t mean that my crazy big wide “unpractical” nibs are forgotten. Far from. So for today’s post, we’re taking a look at two Asian pens with fude nibs. No, spelling checker, not dude nibs, nude nibs, fuse nibs or oude (Dutch for old) nibs… Fude nibs! Wait, I’ll show you:


A sideways close-up of fude nibs. As you can see, it looks like they took a nose-dive from my desk and folded over on impact. However, these nibs are bent like this for a purpose. Fude is Japanese for “writing, or painting, brush”. In Asian calligraphy, a brush was and is an important tool for drawing the characters. So as soon as the fountain pen came along and had proven its practicality, it was no more than logical to try and mimic a brush stroke with a fountain pen nib. In my opinion, by simply bending the nib, that effect has pretty much been achieved. Of course there are fountain pens with brush nibs available, but this is a very practical solution as far as I am concerned.


The two pens

The pens I am using in this comparison are the Jinhao 159 (bottom) and a Sailor Fude pen (top). Both pens are ” entry level” pens, both have steel nibs. Still, they are quite different, in use as in the resulting ink line. The Jinhao 159 Fude, as well as other Jinhao models with a fude nib, are available online through eBay and possibly through other mega-sellers as well. The vary in price from around $10-15. The Sailor Fude is more widely available through online pen dealers as well as brick-and-mortar shops. In Europe, it is around $25-29. Lucky me was gifted this Sailor by a wonderful pen friend at a pen meet. I am in his debt for this gesture as well as his encouragement to start this blog. Thank you, Dries!


Above a bird’s eye view of the writing samples of the pens side-by-side. I used a Rhodia soft cover lined A5 notebook for these writing samples. As you can see, the line width both nibs produce will differ a lot with the angle the pen is touching the paper. That not only goes for how you hold the pen, it also goes for the shape of the page. At the left of the page, where the paper tends to bulge a bit, your ink line will be wider because the paper embraces the nib and as such picks up a fat line of ink. The more you hold the pen upright on flat paper, the thinner the ink line becomes because less of the bent surface touches the paper. The lower you hold the nib, the more surface touches the paper, the fatter the ink line. It is a fun tool! Unfortunately, I have no Asian calligraphy skills, so I kept it to my regular architect-ish print. How did these nibs perform?

fullsizeoutput_467.jpegThe Jinhao 159 Fude

The Jinhao 159 is a big and heavy pen. It imitates the Montblanc 149 and it is a show-off kind of pen. The body is metal, the standard nib size is a #6. Which means you can swap with other nibs, if you want to use this pen for more regular writing as well. The pen usually comes with a standard international converter and takes standard cartridges as well. The standard Jinhao nibs are a bit of a gamble. You might get a decently functioning one or you might have to tweak it a bit. I have bought and used three Jinhao 159 Fudes and all functioned rather decently. The nice thing about Jinhao nibs – and that goes for the fudes as well – is that they have a decent amount of spring. Not flex, but a good deal of bounciness. So writing with the Jinhao Fude is nice, with a bit of spring for extra line width. This can result in railroading, as you can see in my writing sample. The plastic feed cannot keep up with the ink demanded by the nib. However, when you want your ink line to look like it is painted on with a brush, the odd bit of railroading just adds to that effect. So I did not mind but if railroading gives you the creeps, you are warned. The brush effect is also emphasized by the regular kugel (round) medium tipping on the tines. This slightly curvaceous tipped nib gives a bit of extra structure to the writing.


The Sailor Fude

The sailor Fude is a plastic pen, the size of a 1911 Standard, so quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Jinhao. The body is molded plastic, which shows by a “weld” line on the section where the two halves were stuck together. Considering the price point, this is not a major issue for me. The nib is a gold-plated steel MF Sailor nib with the tip bent upward. Where the Jinhao still has tipping, the Sailor is untapped and therefore produces a much smoother ink line, with quite a bit of width difference depending on your angle of writing – how high you hold the nib towards the paper – as well as on the angle of your writing stroke. The Sailor gives great definition to your ink line and shows off shading and sheen to the max. By the way, the Sailor is also – proprietary -cartridge/converter filled.

Which of these I prefer? If I want a nicely ruffled brush line and I don’t have to use it for prolonged writing, I grab the Jinhao. If I want a pen that is more comfortable for me, grip wise as well as weight, with a slightly smoother ink line, I whip out the Sailor.  I use these nibs for ink swabbing, the odd high-lighted/faux hand-lettered name on envelopes, headers in journals. Not your everyday writer, but if you want to see what your inks are capable of, if you are a lettering artist or make art work with ink, journal or make mixed media art, investing in (one of) these affordable fun pens is something I heartily recommend.

Before I forget, you can also write with the nibs flipped upside down!


This produces a finer line. The Jinhao however felt a bit rubbery on the upstroke, very weird. The Sailor gives a nice line, but the sweet spot is very small and deviating from it results in scratching your paper. A look at the reversed nibs:


Fingerprints… yes, the inevitable result of using one’s pens… One more to look at the upturned nibs side by side.


Once more, in short, a recommended pen (either of them) of you want to play with inks, make inky art, journal or want to hand letter envelopes in a jiffy.

Thank you as ever for reading and until the next post!


Freshly inked and first impressions

It’s a lovely sunny, activity-filled Sunday, so a quick post of some freshly inked pens and a couple of first thoughts of pens that came in over the last couple of weeks.


From top to bottom:

  • Pen: Aurora Optima Burgundy, medium nib. Ink: Aurora Black. I love this pen-and-ink combination, I have started using it as my bujo pen and ink, because I find that the simple bujo style in black suits me best. More on that next Sunday when I’ll update you on my bujo experiences.
  • Pen: Bexley Gaston’s Angels, stub nib. Ink: Noodler’s Lexington Gray. I needed a bulletproof ink in one of my pens, but I will not hang on to this combination. The Lexington Gray is just too wet in the Bexley, even for my taste. Might try it in the much dryer-writing black Kaweco later.
  • Pen: Montegrappa Fortuna Mosaico Marrakech, medium nib. Ink: Private Reserve Lake Placid Blue. I really like this pen and ink combination, the ink complements the blue hues in the lovely material of the Marrakech. The ink tends to run dry in the nib pretty quickly, so it needs to be used regularly.
  • Pen: Kaweco Skyline Sport Black, medium nib. Ink: Graf von Faber-Castell Deep Sea Green. I bought this pen because I wanted to try the medium Kaweco nib. I was not happy at all with how it wrote out of the box. Dry, scratchy and more like a fine. So I rinsed the pen, flossed the tines and feed with a brass sheet. Didn’t help. Then I stubbed the nib and the ink line has slightly improved. Next ink in is the Noodler’s Lexington Gray, to see if that will give a better ink flow.
  • Pen: Sailor 1911 Standard, Zoom nib, ground to an architect by John Mottishaw. Ink: Blackstone Barrier Reef Blue. Another great shading and sheening Blackstone ink in this pen after the Sydney Harbour Blue I had in it before. I only have samples of both inks, so now I’m contemplating which to get as a full bottle…
  • Pen: TWSBI Eco Clear 1.1 stubby italic nib. Ink: Robert Oster Signature Forest Green. A lovely combination, I think. The ink sloshes around like a lovely jewel in the piston filler and the flow is excellent. Nice calm green, good shading but not much sheen on this paper (G. Lalo Verge de France).
  • Pen: Pilot Prera Vivid Pink, fine nib. Ink: KWZ Ink Raspberry. This is my now favorite modern fine steel nib. It feels just right, this is definitely a fine nib that suits people with largish handwriting like I have when writing in this style. Great pen for office use on not so great paper. The pink of the body is very hard to capture in photos, so if you are one for hot pink pens, this is one for you. I love the combination with the bright yet still eye-friendly pink Raspberry ink.
  • Pen: Pelikan Twist Jungle, medium nib (comes in only this nib size) which I ground into a fine-medium architect. Ink: J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune. The soft violet ink combined with the light taupe of the pen is a combination that speaks to me. The Pelikan writes very well for an 8-9 Euros pen. I liked it so much, I ordered the final pen in this list not long after…
  • Pen: Pelikan Twist Bronze, medium nib. Ink: Kaweco Caramel Brown. I have not worked on this nib, because I like it as it is. And you cannot grind all your nibs into architects. That would not be sane… right…? Anyway, this nib has a slightly stubby feel to it so there is some very slight line variation. I love the Kaweco ink in this pen. The cola-colored ink suits the bronze Pelikan very nicely. It’s a nice pen if you are looking for an ergonomic grip but you are not after a kiddy-colored pen. Even though those are darn cute as well! This grip suits both right- and left-handed writers, by the way.

Would you like to know more about these or other pens or inks on my blog, be sure to send me a comment. Have  great week and thank you as ever for reading! As always much appreciated! OK, one more pic…