Pilot Iroshizuku inks are an homage to the Japanese history and culture from which the company came. With the company inviting you to “ draw your inspiration from natures breath and allow iroshizuku inks to take you on a poetic journey” it’s clear to see that the art of writing is alive and well in the heart of the developers at Pilot. The name of the range itself is a compound of the Japanese words ‘iro’ to mean colouring which is revealing of the vast range of variation in the palette of inks available, and ‘shizuku’ which translates to droplet, connecting with nature. There is a delicate beauty in the fact that each ink is meaningfully named to derive from natural landscapes and flora of Japan, a beauty which is embodied in the sleek Japanese minimalism of the bottle and label design.
Created towards the end of 2007, these inks were designed to be used in any pen with any nib on any paper...and they do not disappoint! In 24 luxurious and opulent colours created by Kiyomi Hasegawa, this ink range responds to the 15 years of discussion with customers of Kiyomi and the conclusion that not everyone wants to write in only blue or black.
Accounts of the Pilot Iroshizuku line is that the inks are pretty well behaved, enjoying any sized nib from the super fine to more stub nibs and they are responsive to cleaning, not leaving residue behind in pens or converters. Drying times are pretty rapid too, so, gone are the smudges on your beautifully crafted lettering! Reports vary from 3-8 seconds on dry time and little to no bleed-through across a variety of papers and surfaces, though more absorbent or low-quality stocks will experience an expected bleed-through. Every review I came across (And there are many!) noted the lack of water resistance with these inks so perhaps avoid these inks if you have a propensity for writing on boats ebbing vigorously, or in pounding rainstorms.
The way that these inks dance across paper is really quite beautiful, being quite a wet ink they glide like an ice dancer leaving behind contrails of colour with medium shading and variation. The bottles are quite a feature, they look stunning whilst also being cleverly designed to ensure every last drop can be accessed with no dimples or ridges claiming any of the pigmented nectar! Pilot Iroshizuku inks are luxurious inks with great characteristics of quick drying times, easy to clean formulas, pleasant shading and stunning colours. I am particularly fond of the preponderance of blue hues within the palette alongside some of the wilder offerings in pinks, oranges, greens, browns and greys. These inks are versatile and playful, suitable for formal or informal uses and really a joy to use.
To dip into some of the colours available, here are some personal top picks from the range. Tsuki-yo and Shin-Kai are slightly more authoritative deep rich blues with muted shades running through to create almost indigo/navy tones. They maintain a vibrancy in the blue but in a slightly more demure way than some of the bolder blues. Both inks dry slightly differently and I would certainly recommend them for every day ink which requires more poise and sophistication. Take-Sumi is a stunning black hue with obsidian like properties due to the depth of the pigment meeting the sheen of the ink itself. It’s a beautiful black ink whose name translates to Bamboo charcoal. Another favourite of mine from the collection is Yama-Guri, named after wild chestnuts, this is a stunning rich brown ink that brings to mind deep sepia tones. Browns are a warm and welcoming ink colour which look great against creamier toned paper. Three other favourites for me from this collection are in the bolder offerings, Tsutsuji, Shin-Ryoku and Yu-Yake. Tsutsuji is an incredibly vibrant azalea pink tone with a gorgeous green-gold sheen to it when used on the wetter, more saturated side. This ink creates really dynamic shading and a striking finish. Shin-Ryoku is a jewel toned forest green with almost a blue hue base delivering gorgeous depth in the final colour. The shade really stands out against the contrast of white and ivory papers and is an attractive addition to any ink collection. Finally, Yu-Yake which is an orange ink inspired by the Japanese sunset. This is pure joy in a bottle. If any ink could be described as energetic this would be it! There is a gorgeous variance to be achieved in the shading and the natural ebb and flow of pressure when writing is demonstrated in the changing tones of the ink when dried.
With such a wide range of available colours, you’re sure to find a favourite and the boxed set of three miniatures is the perfect way to try a few out! Choose any 3 of 24 vibrant and exciting colours all presented in 15ml bottles and presented in a solid gift box, these inks are much loved, from the more playful tones through to more traditional ink shades. At only £39.00, this set represents great value for money. The miniatures allow the exploration of the delights of this collection before committing to 50ml bottles of your favourites!