Author Topic: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks  (Read 794 times)

Offline BrightStar

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KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« on: April 04, 2023, 08:20:32 AM »
Anyone tried these? The green, blue, and gold varieties are sold out at JNB, however PIA has them in stock. Although pretty, Iím not too interested in the shimmering aspect. What intrigues me is a walnut ink with a hue in addition to brown; especially blue. As a primary color, there is no other color that can be mixed with brown/yellow to achieve blue. These swatches from JNB intrigue me.

Correction: PIA are now also sold out of the green, blue, and gold colors. That was fast!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2023, 08:35:04 AM by BrightStar »

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2023, 11:57:07 AM »
I have the gold one and tried it just recently but didnít see any of the shimmer come through. It just looked like walnut ink. Maybe I need to shake it up a bit more.  :-\
Warm Regards,
Erica
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Offline BrightStar

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2023, 03:26:56 PM »
Thank you for the reply Erica. I hope it works better for you next time. I really love walnut ink and would very much like to hear any experiences anyone has had with these colored varieties. They are a bit pricey and Iím curious if people are really getting results like the swatches.

Offline Chessie

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2023, 04:25:55 PM »
@BrightStar I haven't tried them but thank you for sharing them.  They're extremely lovely and I might go get some now that you've shown them off.

Offline K-2

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2023, 05:44:01 PM »
What lovely inks, @BrightStar - thank you for sharing the image of them.

The colors are caused by the shimmer itself - the colored particulates don't mix with the liquid ink, and they'll only show up if you keep agitating the ink to keep them in suspension. So yeah, @Erica McPhee - probably shake it up more (that's always a topic of discussion during Inkvent).

You can make your own walnut shimmer inks by adding Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments to plain walnut ink.
https://www.paperinkarts.com/pearlx.html
* be aware that they stick around on the paper better if you add a little gum arabic (erasing can be a little hard on them). Spraying with a fixative helps keep them glued down, but also dulls the effect.

I also just bought one of the Wearingeul glitter potion sets (the Wicked Witch set) - I'll post about them when I get a chance to try them out.
https://www.penchalet.com/blog/wearingeul-glitter-potion-review-giveaway/

I personally think that shimmer inks show up somewhat better with broad-edge calligraphy (just because there's more ink on the page, and hence more shimmer particles) - but they're subtle and beautiful in pointed pen too.

Offline BrightStar

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2023, 08:06:42 AM »
Excellent explanation @K-2. Iím going to try the Pearl Ex pigments. So many colors to choose from and all pretty cheap too. Thank you for recommending them!

Offline K-2

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2024, 03:14:24 PM »
Hello, Flourish Friends (@Erica McPhee @Chessie  @BrightStar )
 -- I'm returning to this topic from a year ago, because I've just come into a few of these KOUS Shimmering Walnut inks, and I have thoughts (and photos). I didn't get to try the pink or gold shimmer, but here are the red, purple, blue, and green.

At the time of this review, KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks cost US$8.50 at Paper & Ink Arts. The bottles each hold 15ml of ink. That puts the price per milliliter at $0.57/ml

Is that expensive? Let's compare it with other shimmer inks that I've shown here (all in US dollars):

Diamine shimmer & Inkvent inks: $22 for 50ml (fountain pen ink) - $0.44/ml
Dominant Industry "Pearl Series": $20 for 25ml - $0.80/ml
Ferris Wheel Press: $20 for 28ml (calligraphy ink) or 20ml (fountain pen ink) - $0.72-$1.00/ml
J.Herbin (anniversary series): $31.50 for 50ml (fountain pen ink) - $0.63/ml
Robert Oster "Shake 'N' Shimmy": $26 for 50ml (fountain pen ink) - $0.52/ml
Troublemaker (with shimmer): $24 for 60ml (fountain pen ink) - $0.40/ml
Wearingeul: $22 for 30ml (fountain pen ink) - $0.74/ml

So the cost per unit is more expensive than Troublemaker, Diamine and Rober Oster, and less expensive than the more "premium" brands.
* note though that the relatively small bottles from KOUS means that you don't have to commit to the 50ml of ink in the Diamine or Robert Oster bottles or front the higher price tag. Maybe that's better for your budget and/or your rate of ink use and/or your commitment issues.

But what does the extra money get you for the "premium" brands? better bottles, for one thing! I actively dislike the Troublemaker and Robert Oster bottles, which are tall and narrow, and made of plastic, which means they tip over easily. You need to decant the ink into dinky dips if you're going to use a dip pen (or use them for art). Since I spilled 1/2 the bottle of my latest Troublemaker ink on its maiden voyage, it ends up double the $/ml  :(

Compare that with the square, weighty, glass, bottom-heavy, large-mouthed bottles that Diamine Inkvent, Herbin, and Wearingeul come in. Dominant Industry bottles are not square, but they are bottom heavy and stylish AF.
* note, Ferris Wheel Press bottles are beautiful! but they are incredibly dumb - tiny bases, top-heavy, tiny openings that don't even accommodate larger fountain pens! They offer a very expensive gizmo to hold your ink bottle so it doesn't tip over while you try to get ink out of it, but what good is a beautiful bottle, if I have to decant the ink into a different bottle in order to use it? I repeat - I have fountain pens that don't fit into the tiny opening of these bottles, so I have to dropper-fill the cartridges or use a snorkel attachment to get to the beautiful ink out of the beautiful bottles. /rant.

KOUS also has tiny tippy bottles, made out of glass, with interior stoppers in the lids that sometimes adhere to the bottle when you take the lid off. the bottles are really small - 15ml - with really small openings. You have to decant into a dinky dip or some such to use these inks. (You should never put these in fountain pens; the binders will clog the feeds)

So how is the ink? It's...fine, but not as reliable as regular walnut ink.

Here's what I expect from walnut ink: Walnut ink from crystals (which is my reference sample) is almost too cheap to meter, can be as dark or light as you like it, and is good on almost any paper (even cheap copy paper), with both pointed pen and broad edge. This makes it the champion of my practice sessions and preliminary layout drafts.

Walnut ink is, however, brown. and you can't really un-brown it. As I pointed out before in this thread, "The colors are caused by the shimmer itself - the colored particulates don't mix with the liquid ink, and they'll only show up if you keep agitating the ink to keep them in suspension." In other words, you have to keep putting the lid on and shaking to bottle to make sure the shimmer gets onto your nib and thus on the paper. I shook the bottles every time I dipped. If I hadn't, only the first few letters would show shimmer.

I'll point out that the KOUS walnuts are less concentrated than the walnut I mix up for myself, so that the shimmer shows up more. That makes them a little prone to bleeding. My sampler was done on Kokuyo A4 64gsm printer paper (my preferred practice paper); I used two sizes of Mitchell witch pens, and also pointed pen. x-height for the broad-edge is 1/2-inch; x-height for pointed pen is 1/4-inch . Some of it bled on the broad-edge bits, most of it stayed sharp; it produced lovely hairlines.

How shimmery is it?:

In the first image the colors look really bright and shimmery! But beware - I took that photo with powerful studio lighting! (the sort of lighting I'd use if I wanted to sell these online, and show them in their most flattering light. literally)

The second image shows the same piece at the same angle in the same location (my studio work desk) with regular ambient interior lighting plus indirect sunlight from the window next to the desk. This is what the inks look like IRL. This is what they will look like when you look at them straight on in "normal" viewing conditions.

The third image was taken outdoors in the bright sunlight, with the camera held at a raking angle. In other words, you catch the beauty of it out of the corner of your eye under normal viewing/lighting conditions.

Summary! I guess they have potential. The the green wins at shimmer; the blue has an alluring peek-a-boo gleam and shading. Maybe the red and purple shimmer stays too close to the chroma of the base ink to pop? It's fine, but they don't pop as much as the green or blue. You can see the base ink's relative saturation compared with the reference walnut sample.

I like them okay, but I think the world is full of more intriguing shimmer inks with base colors that are not brown (which is a divisive ink color on this forum) - perhaps the caveat is that some fountain pen inks need a little gum arabic to behave themselves with dip pens. But note the bit of bleeding on this KOUS inks - they're probably fine on higher quality card-stock, but Kokuyo makes great paper, so they might also benefit from a little doctoring too.

What do you think? Do these tempt anyone? What would you use them for?

Offline JanisTX

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2024, 04:00:12 PM »
@K-2:  Iím no expert, but Iíve found that ďshimmeringĒ inks only really shimmer when applied broad edge.  They lose the ďglistenĒ in pointed pen application.

Re. Pearl Ex:  I adore them!  But, especially the brilliant gold!  It is gorgeous when dried!!

Janis

p.s., Joi had an online review of Pearl-Ex & some of them donít work.  Turquoise is one of them, as I recall.  It is just too dense. 

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2024, 05:28:48 PM »

What do you think? Do these tempt anyone? What would you use them for?
Terrific review, @K-2
Brown as a base doesn't really tempt me at all, and agree with you the green is the best of the lot (perhaps to draw or write about an enchanted forest, I'd give it a try.

Some years ago, I bought both sets of Dr. Martin's Iridescent inks (not sure if that qualifies as shimmer, but it did fulfill my desire for inks that sparkle and look different in different lights). The one oz. size is about right for me, as I don't do large works or drawings with them, and I like the dropper tops--make it easy to load a nib. I've only had to buy a few of them , notably Copperplate gold, so again, the amount is just right (1 oz.)
I have a few of the Pearlescent inks in colors not in the Dr. Martin's bunch, and I like them too.
And, of course, the Diamine Inkvent inks (thanks, K-2). Terrific effects. The 15 ml bottles are a little small, and I've bought a few larger bottles of favorites (which are too big for my use, unless I take up drawing in a big way), and found with a little doctoring, the shimmer effect shows up with pointed pen, particularly when making larger shades.

You have a ton of different shimmer inks, @K-2 . Your top 3-5 for writing (vs. drawing)?

Offline BrightStar

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2024, 11:46:52 AM »
Very nice review @K-2! It's great to see some actual handwriting samples with these inks instead of just the swatches. Your lettering is excellent too.

It's been so long since I've used a fountain pen, I'd forgotten the shape of the bottle made an impact on my decision to buy an ink.

I agree the blue and green are the most appealing. I also think you're right on about the brown base color. I do love walnut ink, both the crystals and Norton's, but I think I prefer the brown just by itself with no other colors to compete with the fantastic shading.

I should have ordered some of the Pearl Ex pigments, but I splurged on a bottle of Wearingeul Half Moon with Dimmed Light instead (probably a mistake). After using it a few times and being wowed by the shimmer, it's kinda gotten lost in the bottom of my ink drawer...

For me, gum arabic is a standard addition to any ink, fountain or otherwise. And I just recently learned that it is somewhat acidic, having a pH of ~4.5. I was wondering why my inks that are pH neutral were eating the coating off my nibs and couldn't figure out why the discoloration was happening. Not a big deal though. I don't think it's doing much damage and even if it does weaken the metal somewhat it surely won't stop me from using it. I love the shine and the way it makes the ink hang on the nib.

@AnasaziWrites - All those Iridescent inks make my mouth water. I sure would love to have such a selection to choose from!

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2024, 08:30:19 PM »
Wow - excellent reviews! Thank you @K-2 for such an in depth review. And everyone else for great additions. I typically stick to walnut and donít stray too far into colors or sparkle. I splurged on two bottles of Ferris Wheel Press and oh my - they are delicious! Not just beautiful color but the way they write - so smooth! And the bottles are so luxurious with their rubber stoppers. They asked me to be an ambassador on Instagram awhile back and I ran out of time.   :-\

I always decant my ink into dinky dips so itís never been a deal breaker for me.

Having the prices broken down like that is so helpful, too! And your lovely examples. A million thank yous!
Warm Regards,
Erica
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Offline JanisTX

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2024, 08:51:02 AM »
Re. Pear-Ex Brilliant Gold - I have a ďportfolioĒ that I bring along when meeting with a bride and her mom, grandmother, or significant other.  I have one envelope sample lettered in Pearl-Ex brilliant gold.  For the past 3 years, I havenít had anyone pick ANYTHING other than Pearl-Ex brilliant gold.  OK, I ďget itĒ. - Itís pretty. It REALLY is pretty!  But if your wedding colors are blue & white, donít you WANT blue or white ink??  I told my daughter that I was thinking about taking that sample out of my portfolio. Pearl-Ex is a lot of work. - The mica is hard to work with. - It clogs up the nib.  I have to dip my pen in water, dry it off with a paper towel, load the nib again, & letter again.  (If Iím instead using my favorite Noodlers ink, I just dip the nib in ink & letter away.)  Someone whom I respect said that I should just charge more if someone wants Pearl-Ex.  Well, duh!!  Why the heck didnít I think of THAT??  For a reasonably smart girl, I can be SO stupid!

Janis

Offline BrightStar

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2024, 11:36:22 AM »
@K-2: Although I think it's incredibly beautiful, I just haven't gotten bitten by the glitter-bug yet. As others have said, it requires a lot of work; many dips and frequent shaking of the container. I really should buy a magnetic ink stirrer for that I guess. But I don't do broad brush calligraphy and that's where the shimmer really shines.

@JanisTX: From a former Texan myself, you ain't dumb cowgirl, quite the opposite is true I'm sure. If you're making money with calligraphy, you must be very very talented. I once had a sample of Noodler's black that I tried in a fountain pen with not great results. But now that I'm pretty much dip pen only, I really want to try it again. It's bulletproof and would be perfect for my book.

Offline JanisTX

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2024, 07:16:01 PM »
When I first started on my calligraphy journey, I didnít know what I was doing. I ordered Noodlers ink because it was reasonably cheap.  If Iím just practicing, itís my go-to ink!  I love it, even though itís supposed to be for fountain pens.

Janis

Offline BrightStar

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Re: KOUS Shimmering Walnut Inks
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2024, 10:20:57 AM »
When I first started calligraphy with fountain pens, I wanted the wettest most lubricated inks I could get. Sailor and Monteverde make some of the best. However, now with dip nibs, I find I like the driest most non-flowing inks; Quink Black, Callifolio, Pelikan 4001, etc. It just feels like I have more control with a dry ink and they are usually better for not feathering too.