Diamine Red Dragon: Ink Review

Hi ink lovers! Madigan here, reviewing the sanguine Diamine Red Dragon ink. Lydia used it recently in a Monday Matchup, which made me want to give it a try. I’ll be honest- looking at the swab, this one wasn’t on my list of top red inks. However, as I wrote with it and got to see how it performed, it definitely grew on me. It is a deep red, a little darker than a true red and can fluctuate in color depending on the paper you are using. If you are looking for a new red ink to try, read on to see what I thought!

Supplies Used:

Smear Test (Dry Time):

  • Long– This is not a fast drying ink! It was still smearing a little bit after 30 seconds. That being said, it would certainly be dry in under a minute. If you are a lefty or a quick writer, you might want to try another faster drying ink.

Drip Test (Water Resistance):

  • Low-This is not one to use in a rain storm or spill a glass of water across! It became illegible as soon as water was introduced. It could be good for ink washes, however, so if you are planning on creating art with it, it could be great!


  • High– This is a highly saturated ink. The bold red color doesn’t fluctuate between the first and third swab.

Ease of Cleaning:

  • Easy-Low water resistance means this ink was easy to clean out of my pen. A couple of rinses with water and I was good to go!


  • Low– In this instance, high saturation led to low shading. I saw virtually none in the up and down strokes when writing. Usually I like ink with some shading, but it was nice to see a continuous bold red line whenever and however I was writing. 


  • Medium– This ink performed well! It kept up with the flow of the pen in all nib sizes, from extra-fine to broad.

Packaging and Aesthetics:

  • Pleasing 80 ml bottle packaged in a box. 30ml bottles and ink samples available.
  • Box is nice, not super fancy but pretty.
  • The bottle has a medium round opening and a flat bottom.

Inks Similar in Color 

This is a solid red ink option. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. To me, it still doesn’t compare to say, Diamine Wild Strawberry, but I can see why other people like it. It has a long dry time, but it is well behaved and writes well in any size nib. This ink is particularly striking on cream paper, so that’s something to keep in mind. This would be a great ink for editing! Outlining or underlining could be another option for this ink.

You can find Diamine Red Dragon in 80ml glass bottles for $14.95, 30ml plastic bottles for $7.50, or 2ml ink samples for $1.25.

What is your favorite red ink? Leave a comment and let me know!

Write on,

2017-10-11T14:37:52+00:00 August 3rd, 2016|Ink Reviews|12 Comments
  • Anthony Grimm

    Rouge Hematite is my go-to red. I am stuck with simple inks for work so when I can let go, I want to get spectacular. This red may work great for marking readings for school though. May have to grab a sample.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Rouge Hematite is so pretty. Definitely great change up from conservative, work appropriate inks

  • Kathy

    Madigan, another great ink review. I really like the saturation of Red Dragon, and the deepness of the color. Like you, however, I love Wild Strawberry. To me, that ink just pops off the page! Red Dragon is a great alternative, however, and I’m glad you featured it!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      It’s nice to have options šŸ™‚ Can never have too many good red ink options

  • Julia Traver

    Thank you for this review. I tend toward the bluish reds and this is really perfect for me!

  • Tom Johnson

    I think my favorite red ink is Diamine Oxblood, I love dark reds. Almost got Syrah before I got Oxblood. I also like Noodler’s Fox, a good basic waterproof red that I use for editing, making notes, with my F Metropolitan. But i love Red Dragon and the others you show here. Another wonderful ink review, thanks so much Madigan.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Ooo! Good tip on the Noodler’s Fox. Thanks, Tom!

  • Ed Harrison

    Great review. My experience with Red Dragon is that it doesn’t feather on marginal paper when other inks will start to feather. Well-behaved like that. Good for writing on all sorts of index cards when taking notes.

  • Joe Stout

    New to fountain pens, and I haven’t gotten a red ink yet, but red dragon is definitely on the list of ones I want to try. I love the richness and depth of the dark red. I’ve got a Lami Safari loaded with another Diamine ink, Dawson, and it is my go-to pen!

  • Jerry C

    I have a sample of this I got from Goulet a month or so back. After seeing your samples with it, I’m going to add it to my wish list. I like it, because it’s not that school house red. It reminds me a slight bit of Oxblood, not quite as dark obviously but I like this! Should I ink up my Lamy Safari with it? Naa, that’ll be 7 pens inked.

    • Kathy

      Is that all? šŸ˜‰

  • Caleb Melton

    In the pictures it sortof looks like it has a small shimmer. or it may be just me. please let me know if it is a shimmering ink please…