A review of sorts - new Iroshizuku ink colours

scheduleMarch 27, 2022

(This set of Iroshizuku inks was provided to me free of charge by (https://penclassics.nz) [Pen Classics] for review purposes.)

The set of new Pilot Iroshizuku ink colours arrived in an understated but elegant little box with a navy blue cover with silver lettering. The inks are in the smaller 15ml glass bottles with the usual labels - not as eye catching as the bigger bottles that Pilot also does, but a more practical size for those of us who have extensive ink collections!

The new shades are Hana-ikada (a pretty light pink), Hotaru-bi (an unusual chartreuse), and Sui-gyoku, which is teal. I have to admit to being a bit puzzled by them. Having tried both the pink and the chartreuse in my everyday pens I can report that they are both very light colours that really need a broad or stub nib to be legible. Light inks do seem to be a bit of a trend lately, and are great for introducing subtle shades to doodles and artwork, but not so useful for normal writing.

My sample book indicates that Hana-ikada is a shade lighter than Akkerman Gourmet Pens Pink, the closest match I have. In a heavy deposit on TR paper it shows a bit of an orange halo, but this is not apparent in normal writing. It’s a little too bright for me to class it as a pastel pink, but it’s not a full-on, in-your-face pop pink either. It makes me think of cherry blossoms and all things kawaii.

Hotaru-bi is definitely my favourite of the three- having tried it in a medium nib I think I need to see how legible it is in a very wet, broad nib. I think of it as “electric chartreuse” - not quite yellow, not quite green, almost fluoro….in my beloved collection of murky green- yellow inks there is nothing that comes close to this colour. Herbin Vert Olive would be the nearest, but it’s a few shades darker and much greener.

Sui-gyoku is the only one of the three that shows much evidence of sheen, but then only on TR paper. It is a mid-range teal, not very dark or very light. It’s definitely greener than Ku-jaku but looks as though it might be closer to Syo-ro (I don’t have any of this one so can’t be certain.) While it’s a pretty enough colour there are a lot of inks out there in this colour area, and I’m not sure it’s different enough to its neighbours in the Iroshizuku range to really justify its existence.

Iroshizuku inks are always high quality and reliable, and if you or someone you know is into drawing with fountain pens then this could be a neat little set to pick up. For serious writers though I’d suggest buying Sui-gyoku on its own, and perhaps considering Hotaru-bi if you’re into very broad nibs and/or looking for a potential highlighter ink.

My thanks to Rene at Pen Classics for sending me this interesting set for review!