ink review : L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio Olivastre

a gorgeous olive-green …

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L’Artisan Pastellier is a small company in southern France that specialises in natural pigments, and offers customers authentic and reliable products in beautiful colours based on mineral or vegetable pigments. In a collaboration with Loic Rainouard from Styloplume.net, the chemist Didier Boinnard from L’Artisan Pastellier created the line of Callifolio fountain pen inks. These pastel-coloured inks are traditionally crafted, and can be freely mixed and matched. Overall these inks are only moderately saturated, and have low water-resistance. The inks were specifically designed to work well with all types of paper, and all types of fountain pens.

Being pastel-tinted, these inks have a watercolour-like appearance, and are not only fine inks for journaling, but are also really excellent inks for doodling & drawing. I only recently discovered them, and they are already the inks I gravitate towards for personal journaling.

In this review I take a closer look at Olivastre – one of the more recent inks added to the Callifolio line-up, the other one being Teodora. Both are the first green inks in the series. Olivastre is presumably named after Olea Oleaster – the wild olive tree. And this is a wild ink indeed – a stunning dirty green with prominent yellow undertones. Shading is incredible – going from very light yellow-green to almost black-green in the span of a single word.

This is a well-saturated ink, with good flow, and one that looks lively even in the finer nibs. With my F-nib, shading was already nicely visible – something that not every ink can do. But if there is one thing that will draw you to this ink, it will be its colour. This is one gorgeous looking ink ! And you’ll have no problem to forgive this green beauty its’ minor shortcomings.

Olivastre is relatively smudge-resistant – the colour spreads, but the words remain legible. But the ink is definitely not water-resistant, as is apparent from the chromatography. When the ink comes into contact with water, all text disappears, even after a short 10-second exposure. What remains are only some light smudges. On the other hand – the low water-resistance is a big plus when doodling & drawing. With a water-brush you can easily spread out the ink, and obtain some nice shading effects.

I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. For the Callifolio reviews, I’m using a new format to show you the ink’s appearance and behaviour on the different paper types. On every small band of paper I show you:

  • An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
  • 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
  • An ink scribble made with an M-nib fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)

Olivastre behaved perfectly on all the paper types – it shows no feathering, even none on the notoriously bad Moleskine paper. This is not a fast-drying ink – mostly in the 15-20 second range, and taking even longer where the ink has pooled. On the Original Crown Mill cotton paper, there was noticeable feedback while writing –the ink is drawn straight down into the paper, the effect of which translates into a reduction of nib size. The text that I’ve written with an M-nib looks as though its written with an F-nib.

At the end of the review, I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. With the low-end generic paper and the Moleskine paper, there is significant show-through and bleed-through. With the other papers, Olivastre’s behaviour is impeccable. On Tomoe River, there is a hint of bleed-through on the ink-swabs.

One thing I noticed when writing with this ink is that I had occasional issues with skipping, when the ink stopped flowing on a stroke. This in my usual Lamy review pen & nib, that never had such issues before. I’m not ready to blame the ink – but I’m a bit suspicious. In any case, I’m prepared to forgive a lot for the lovely colour I get in return.

Conclusion

Olivastre is a very well-behaving ink on all types of paper, though one completely without water resistance. The ink has tremendous shading potential, which even shows up in the finer nibs. And this definitely is one hell of a good-looking dirty green ink. I would give it an A+ without hesitation, but there is that suspicious occasional skipping… for this I’ll tune my score down to an A (and if my judgment proves to be wrong – my sincerest apologies to Olivastre 😉

PS: After doing this review, I went back and thoroughly cleaned my review pens. Then I tested the ink again… no skipping! So it turns out that I do owe an apology to Olivastre, and I gladly upgrade my score to a well-deserved A+.

Technical test results on Rhodia N°16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib

Back-side of writing samples on different paper types

[Originally published on the Fountain Pen Network, on 20 August 2016]