Review: de Atramentis Archive Ink #1081

Picture above by Liz Steel, from left the Document Ink, Archive Ink and Lamy Ink

This review is written by Vincent Pang (blog | Facebook)

Fellow urban sketcher Liz Steel gave me this de Atramentis ink (Archive Ink #1081, retailing locally at SGD22, RSP) to try through another fellow sketcher, Paul.

I had mixed emotions when I got the ink: excited, keen but most importantly, hopeful. As a sketcher, I am always on the lookout for inks that are truly, genuinely and faithfully waterproof – I sometimes sketch with my fountain pens and then complete the sketch with a (watercolour) wash. Unfortunately, my run-ins with brands that claim to be so with an assortment of fanciful terms, such as “permanent”, “bulletproof”, “archival”, etc has turn into a temperamental and disappointing nought. Those run-ins have left all those inks I’ve tried thus far running and ruined.

For this trial, I filled my usual test pen, which is a modified Platinum Preppy fountain and began with a series of exercises with it using the following choices (you may refer to the pictorial reference attached below:

Muji Paper

The reason why I’ve chosen this paper to work with is that when I used it with the Noodler’s inks, the inks ran when I gave my sketch a wash, even after letting the ink dry.

Writing

The black ink is dark, bold and uniform. Writing with my .3 and .5 Platinum Preppy is both smooth and satisfying, even with my cursive handwriting. I enjoy the uniformity of the intense black. However, if you are one who enjoys the calligraphic gradient and transparency of say Namiki inks, then you may not be able to appreciate this ink as much.

Sketching

As with writing, drawing is also as fulfilling an experience as writing with it. The flow is as smooth and lines are unbroken, without feathering. In simple words: a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Watercolour wash

Finally, to put the ink to the test that got me excited about it to begin with: how waterproof is it? If you are as excited as I expected you to be, you may have skipped to the bottom to check out the pictorial reference already. If that is the case, you would’ve realised that there is nary a trace of the ink’s pigment out of place. Well, that’s because it is. The ink is truly waterproof.

However, it must be said that I had read on a website somewhere to wait about a minute to ensure that the ink has gotten a chance to fully dry out before giving your drawings or sketches a wash. There has also been speculation that this is a Nano-pigment ink, which gives it its waterproof quality. Up to the point of this review, this has not been confirmed nor denied by the manufacturer yet. Also, time hasn’t lapse long enough to decide if this ink will clog fountain pens after prolong storage. However, as an update, the ink in my Platinum Preppy is still flowing and fluid after two months.

Conclusion

The ink is a joy to use: for writing and drawing. The fact that it is truly a waterproof ink, living up to its claim of being ‘archival’, makes it a truly fairy-tale ink for ink-users.

A local Singapore importer told me that de Atramentis, is a small, family-run business. The chemist owner’s passion fuels the enterprise. This would explain the awesome physical and chemical qualities of the brand’s inks, as well as fully customisable ink choices for bulk orders. On the other hand, it would also justify the occasional and slight delays in order, especially for larger quantities.

I am impressed and would absolutely recommend this ink for people looking for an affordable ink that is waterproof, smooth and uniformly and boldly dark. Those who prefer the gradient, transparent medium may have to look elsewhere.

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