PENBBS Swatch Tests – Part 01

I’ve been aware of this Chinese brand for a while now, but it’s hasn’t been easy getting hold of samples to swatch test. Certainly, I’ve been onto AliExpress and had a look at the volume of inks shown, but as I don’t speak nor read Chinese, I have no idea what’s current/obsolete nor how much?

I was very fortunate when just before Christmas Marjolein Coppens sent me some sample vials and here are the first batch. Many many thanks Marjolein! I don’t have any names for these, they just came with a number. I’ve grouped them together by behaviour.

PENBBS 355 – appears to be a deep damson colour with some very pretty chromatography bleeding out crimson greys with hints of turquoise. The reaction with bleach is a stunning bright neon gold.

PENBBS 234 – appears to be a rich crimson colour with some subtle chromatography bleeding out lilacs at the outer edges. The reaction with bleach is a stunning bright neon gold.

PENBBS 345 – a deep lilac blue colour with a dull gold in evidence when subjected to bleach. That flatness of colour reminds me of Herbin inks.

PENBBS 342 – a complex olive green revealing forest greens, blue greens and hints of yellow. Plenty of shading in evidence and a bright reaction with bleach.

PENBBS 346 – I didn’t have much of this but it reminds me of Krishna Pencil which I thought was wonderful. You can just make out the reds and grey blue greens. A white gold when subjected to bleach and good shading.

PENBBS 111 – This could be a dead ringer for Diamine Amber?

PENBBS 160 – Appears to be mint green with bags of chromatography and shading. Turns a neon white gold when adding the bleach.

PENBBS 339 – A lovely even cerulean blue bleeding out turquoise. Turns neon gold with the bleach.

PENBBS 238 – An rich even red grading evenly with water. No chromatography. Turns a neon white gold when adding the bleach.

PENBBS 108 – Interesting colour this. Starts as a chestnut brown and then turns into a walnut brown. Evidence of a deep sheen and some pinky grey chromatography. Turns a neon gold with bleach in the less dense areas of ink.

PENBBS 135 – A rich rust colour which doesn’t mix with water. Some reaction with bleach which was unexpected.

PENBBS 85 – A deep Prussian Blue that gradates out wonderfully. The reaction with bleach is a stunning bright neon gold.

I have a hunch that if I had the full range I could easily group these into definable areas of: agent resistant (Noodler’s), flat and even (Herbin), shading and chromatography (Diamine & Robert Oster). I have another batch to post next week.

I’d love to investigate this line further. So, if anyone can put me in touch with someone who could supply me with the full range of sample files that contact would be gratefully appreciated.

All tests on Bockingford Rough 200lb watercolour paper.

Next workshop on Saturday 23rd February 2019 – click for details. 

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