Kakimori are based in one of Tokyo’s old shitamachi (downtown) neighbourhoods where craftsmanship remains well and truly alive. At the heart of their purpose is the preservation of artisanal knowledge and skills developed over the course of history, as well as the conscious return to a more sustainable way of life.
Catherine at Sakura Fountain Pen Gallery has very kindly sent me sample vials of their 10 recent fountain pen friendly pigment inks. These inks are sustainably made and easily identifiable by their distinctive glass shaped ink bottles which come with a choice of bottle cap – plastic, Sakura or aluminium.
There does seem to be a renewed interest in pigment ink production within the fountain pen ink sector. Now, pigment inks are important for 2 good reasons – they are light fast and to a point, water and agent resistant. Although fountain pen friendly pigment inks already exist – flatness/dullness of colour plus bleeding and/or smudging when washes are applied on top of them has made them unattractive for illustrators.
But all that could be about to change – see below for how these Kakimori colours look. They’re lovely, alive and clean and for pigment inks they are bright. I have used them for monotones swatch illustrations and I think they look great.
Kakimori pigment inks
BUT and this is big but, they are sadly not totally water resistant. Nearly but not completely. Below, are some tests. The first one shows the inks with the addition of a yellow dye based fountain pen ink overlay applied after 20 mins of drying time. You can see smudging/bleeding on all of the inks. Although the bleach has no effect, proving that agent resistance is good.
The next image below shows the same test after 20 minutes of drying plus 3 minutes using a hair dryer on full heat. Sadly, there is still smudging/bleeding from a couple of the colours.
Kakimori pigment inks
Doing the same test with the new Octopus pigment inks, although the colours are arguably duller and not as vivid, there is no smudging with the yellow dye based fountain pen ink overlay and no effect from the bleach either.
Octopus Write & Draw pigment inks
So, if you’re looking for vivid light fast fountain pen friendly pigment inks from a sustainable heritage focused company and you plan to use them just as they are, then these are for you. However, if you wish to use them in conjunction with dye based inks and/or other liquid mediums then the Octopus inks may be a better alternative, click here for my Octopus Fluids review.
AND HEY! If you’re interested to know more about how to use fountain pen inks in more creative ways – whether it’s simply to observe their chromatic behaviours, or, to recreate one of my swatch cards, or, to learn how to use them in watercolour painting, illustration and calligraphy, why not check out my online course ?