Iroshizuku Swabs

Rachel and I worked hard this weekend to do swabs of all the Pilot Iroshizuku inks. Check them out!

2017-10-11T14:38:43+00:00 March 28th, 2011|Ink Reviews|13 Comments
  • It's a good thing you posted the swabs here, because the photos seemed to have lost a little something on your main site. They come across as ever so slightly duller, whereas here the swabs look quite vibrant. I'm assuming the blog post is correct since I want to like these new colors so much!

  • GrannyKass

    It took a long time for me to come to appreciate the colors of this ink brand. Given the cost, I was initially happy to not like them. However, these colors can grow on a person. They are so easy to clean from a fountain pen and several I have are fairly water-resistant. I've really fallen for the shun-ryoku (green) in a Pelikan m200 and the tsuki-yo (blue-black) in a 1948 Parker 51. I'm just loving the stuff.

  • It's good to hear that some of these are water-resistant. Over the weekend I thought I had settled on "the" blue and "the" brown and and "the" purple/maroon to keep me happy for a while, but I really want to try these, so off went my order for samples just a few minutes ago. I'll just have to do a lot more writing and sketching. And spilling.

    I'm hoping they *smell* better than some of the inks I eliminated this weekend on account of extraordinary stinkiness.

  • Awesome! It looks like they have so many blues which are similar…

    Brian, do you scan your samples? How do you manage to get those colors so accurate?

  • Welcome to the wonderful world of color accuracy…likely Blogger (my blog host) displays the pictures differently than our website. It's maddening, because the pictures are posted exactly the same on both sites! The swabs are meant to be a representation, you'll be best served not getting too nit-picky about slight variations, there are so many factors when displaying colors on a computer screen.

    At least what the swabs do is show you what the names mean. Even if the color isn't 100% dead-on, at least you'll know that Kon-Peki is blue!

  • I was very much the same way. You almost want to dislike them because they are so expensive. I find they have many of the positive attributes of the J. Herbin inks, like awesome shading, good behavior, and easy to clean. I've inked up Kon-Peki so far and I'm really enjoying it.

  • I haven't noticed any 'smell' to them, but then again I smell a LOT of inks (like Noodler's) that have stronger odors, so perhaps my nose it getting used to it all!

  • There are a lot of blues, and some of them definitely look alike in the swabs. They're a little more different in a pen though.

    Yes, I scan my swabs. I have quite the process, but I'll explain briefly. I scan them all using a pro-sumer grade LED photo scanner, so my light source is entirely consistent. Then I upload them into my photo program and individually adjust each swab on my color-profiled monitor while looking at the swabs in a consistent CFL 5000k daylight lighting setup. I adjust all of the swabs for exposure, saturation, hue, and a variety of other details. Once they look identical on the computer to real life, I'm all set.

    The whole process for these 19 swabs (with pictures of the bottles and everything) took me about 10 hours, from the actual making of the swabs to scanning, editing, integrating them with the bottles, etc. Add another 3 or 4 hours for Rachel to upload them all and integrate them in the Swab Shop. It's an extremely time consuming process with several thousands of dollars of equipment and software involved, but it's worth it in the end. I don't even know how many hundreds of hours we've put into the whole Swab Shop at this point! It's just such a useful tool, even with the quirks of color accuracy on computer monitors. It's such a great tool, I find even I use it several times a day!

    Hopefully my explanation was thorough enough 😉 I like the photos you do for your blog (yes, I have you in my RSS reader). What do you shoot with?

  • Wow, color me impressed Brian (forgive the pun)!

    I had the feeling that you might be using some pro equipment and a very well-defined workflow. Those swabs do look realistic. The equipment makes a huge difference. In comparison, my ink samples look crappy. I have a consumer grade scanner and monitor and I can't trust either of them.

    Thanks for liking my photos but I'm not at all happy with them. I mean some fountain pen photos are ok but the ink samples are pretty bad. Since I can't trust the scanner, I try to photograph them but that's even worse sometimes. As for the pens, I've just noticed (after adjusting the settings on my monitor) that some of them have horrendous backgrounds. I am am amateur photographer but I'm not much into product photography.

    As for equipment, I have a DSLR and a full complement of lenses but for all the photos on my blog I prefer to use a Canon G11 which is a lot easier to set up and operate.

  • The equipment makes a difference, but only if you know how to use it. I must have research for 50 hours about how to best do this project when I first started it. I dove deeper into color theory than almost any photographer would care to! 😛 Inks are particularly unique as a photo subject, and there just isn't a lot of info out there about how to scan inks and swabs. It's one of the many, many, many things I've had to learn on this journey 😉

  • And that's why we all love you 🙂

  • R P B

    That is one awesome set of swabs! Wow! Well impressed. Now that really has helped me enjoy and choose which ink I would like! Thanks.

  • I'm glad you like it!