When I first bought calligraphy nibs, I didn’t realize you couldn’t use most fountain pen inks with them. Thankfully, I had a bottle of Noodler’s Black which does work with calligraphy nibs. After practicing with the Noodler’s for a while, I wanted to try actual calligraphy inks to see what the difference was. I don’t know how I learned about this ink but I am so happy I found it at my local Daiso. As with most things at Daiso, it only cost me $1.50+tax and it is a solid product.
First, I want to comment on the design of the bottle. As far as I can see from ‘Paper & Ink Arts,’ the bottle is pretty similar to most of the Sumi ink bottles on the market. The body of the bottle is a black plastic and there’s a yellow cap with a nozzle off to the side. Everything is screw-on, so there is extra protection against leaks. Obviously, this was meant to be poured into something else because the design does NOT accommodate for dip nibs. I poured it into a glass container, so it wasn’t an issue. However, still worth knowing.
I want to preface this section by repeating that I am NOT an expert on calligraphy inks and cannot compare this ink to anything other than Noodler’s Black. All I can offer is my experience as a beginner getting into a new hobby.
Since I bough this ink, I tested it with every nib I have at my disposal: the Tachikawa G, Nikko G, Brause 66 Extra Fine, Brause Blue Pumpkin, and the Brause 29 Index Finger.
The first observation I made was that this black is much more opaque than the Noodler’s Black. Then, I noticed that, when dried, you can feel the ink sitting on top of the paper. It almost feels like acrylic and it has a shiny finish. The ink is only partially waterproof. When water hits it, a lot ink will come off. However, even if you completely drench it in water, there is a bottom layer that is still perfectly legible and completely resistant to the water.
Now, the previous observations were the positive ones. Some negative things I noticed was that the ink was really runny. It is even worse than Noodler’s Black in terms of how much ink is collected on the nib. I have no idea how dip nibs work, but there must be inks that have more controlled ink flow. The second issue I have with the ink is that it will dry hard if you leave it exposed to air for even a couple of minutes. This means that you must either continuously write or wipe all the ink off as soon as you want any sort of pause because once it crusts up, you’ll need to properly wash it before you can use it again. I opt to just continuously wipe leftover ink off, but it can be annoying. Lastly, it isn’t fully waterproof. I actually don’t mind as long it is legible overall, but if that’s something you avoid, it might be a deal breaker. Overall, the writing experience is great for the price. However, I would like to find something that has a more controlled flow.
If you find this ink in stock at your Daiso, I highly recommend you try it out. Whether you are a seasoned calligrapher or a beginner like me, there is no reason to not try a $1.50 full-sized bottle of ink. Whatever faults this ink may have cannot possibly overshadow how affordable it is and the fact that it works well.