Diamine Grey and Noodler’s Gray review (my way)

Diamine Grey and Noodler’s Gray review (my way)

I don’t do very often reviews, because first of all I am not a professional but simply an enthusiastic that loves to scribe doodle and sketch with almost everything passes in hand.

This time I’d like to share what’s behind my review: I’m simply thinking to make sketching outlines with a grey ink instead of using a black ink. It happened make some sketching, with full colors, watercolors washes and so forth, where no matter the thickness the line, it looked to me that the black line was simply too much.
In few words, I’m thinking about using greys (or grays in american…) for outlining the sketching from time to time. Doing so not to have a pencil like line, but simply a more delicate line.

Luckily I know already Goulet Pen Company, where I can order ink samples. And that’s fantastic. So I ordered the Diamine Grey and the Noodler’s Lexington Gray. Plus two more ehehehe 🙂

I did like that

  • I used my favorite dip pen for writing and quick doodling
  • I made deliberately some smudging with a cotton tipped bud so to test the smearing and the water resistance.
  • If I feel comfortable from the first second  of inking the page it’s okay.

Here the pictures of the samples made on SeaWhite of Brighton All-Media Sketch Pad. I tried to make my best for the rendering on computer display  these fabulous inks.
Greys review 01


Greys review 02

Diamine Grey: Very fluid and a gorgeous fantastic color. It’s not a washed black nor a medium hardness pencil grey. It looks to me like a pearl grey, very pleasant for the eye. Writing for that is clear from the very first moment that can be an elegant experience.
I think that it will be great ink for fountain pens per Diamine tradition.
Not that water-resistant, smears, but it’s not written anywhere smear proof or water proof, and probably is not meant for that, but just for a great and pleasant writing. Probably also pleasant sketching. No smell.

Noodler’s Lexington Gray: A great hue of grey, like a light slate grey. darker than the Diamine. It’s like a good darker grey as per a well sharpened medium soft pencil.
Also this one is very pleasant for the eye, more bold and visible.
It’s completely waterproof, bulletproof as stated in the specs. Tested also in a piece of paper under the tap. Great behaviour in this meaning.
Smears a bit, just a bit but always less than Noodler’s black (at least less visible) but I think is because this paper.

My conclusions: I prefer the Diamine Grey for the color. Simply stunning and not too light. I think is a great writer. At the opposite if you want something waterproof this could be not your ink.
I prefer Noodler’s Lexington Gray for the water resistance. It’s a bulletproof gray and probably for artistic purposes is better if you want it. It’s a bit thicker than Diamine Grey.
The color is darker than I was expecting but nothing bad, absolutely! Probably other people likes it more, and I know people crazy for this ink.

What to buy? I’m still undecided! The best should be both, but we are on world crisis, yo know.
If I have to choose by the color, personally I will go for Diamine Grey without any doubt. If I have to choose the water resistance I have to go for the Noodler’s Lexington Gray.

I will let you know, or more probably you will discover in the next posts which will be my choice.

I hope this post will help you, let me know your comments!

Sketching with pastel pencils and during the lunch break

Sketching with pastel pencils and during the lunch break

Today two kind of different sketching for me: one done during lunch very quickly where I used a lot of white china marker and the other one done with pastel pencil.

This is a quick sketch done on the pavilion near our office where we go during the lunch break. Today is a hot and humid day and this is another reason we go there, to have a fresh breeze and some chilling without any use of air conditioners.

So I was not really inspired and I pulled out from my grab bag one of my recycled sketch pads, and I was decided to go straight for the wrapping paper page. I started to sketch quickly all the outlines, in auto-mode: this is the entrance of the port of my town where you can see two small light houses the red one and the green one. I was amazed of the result mainly because my Winsor & Newton Artists’ watercolors behaved very well on that dark paper and in combination with the Zig Waterbrushes that are not that watery, I had a pleasant result, with that richness in pigment. Sure, they are not gouache but behaved very well.
But I needed to have a pleasant sky and the blue colors can easily disappear in brown surface (imagine… it’s like mixing umber with ultramarine) so I first layered down with the Stabilo All White china marker that is washable, and then I mixed this white layer with the blue so I covered some sky. Uh, obviously I used for sketching my faithful Lamy Safari fountain pen filled with Platinum Carbon Ink that works simply stunning even on this paper.

sketching the entrance of the port


But… today I received a nice delivery from Jackson’s Art Store and I was so anxious to open the box because I ordered the Derwent ColourSoft Pastel Pencils. They are one of the best around and with the Koh-I-Noor Polycolor they are my favorite. So I opened the box and I started sketching on Derwent Sketching Paper what I found right in front of me: my phone, my lunch box, a card box laying on our kitchen peninsula…

In this picture there is my sketching with Derwent ColourSoft pastel pencils that I did this evening and even some more lettering with my fresh new Ahab fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black.
sketching with pastel pencils

I think I’m not that good in sketching a whole drawing with pastel pencils but from time to time is good to change and to experiment. I prefer to use them as outliners or to enrich with some details bigger  or more complicated watercolors.


Sketching after work Chiesa del Cristo and some more at the sunset

Sketching Chiesa del Cristo and some more

This afternoon i went for sketching the “Chiesa del Cristo” (Church of Christ in english). I remembered this church because is near my former college school.
I loved this church for its simplicity that emphasize the bi-color pattern of local brown-ochre and gold “carparo” stone and the big rose window called “rosone” in italian. Inside there are two small statues of about the same age: the most representative is that one called “Madonna della Luce” (Milady of the Light) because the small Christ is holding the bible where you can read “Ego Sum Lux Mundi”: I am the light of the world if something is not that skilled with Latin.

It’s a very old church, the foundations were built in the 13th century (around the 1250 a.d.), and it’s very simple inside and outside. The bi-color stone pattern resemble many local monuments like the Portico dei Templari (Templars’ arcade). So it’s also a lot fascinating to have this old monuments that can speak a lot, if only some ears could ear.

Templars guys! We are talking about the last city where the Templars were stopping by before shipping for the East and the Crusades. That the way because in Italy we use to say “Brindisi” (like “cheers!” in English or “à la sante” in French) when drinking: because the Templars before going for sure death they used to say “let’s make Brindisi before going” or something like that. Often was the last trip!
And seems that this city is about to forgetting it… And many other magic places in my city are speaking about Templars, there is a thin line connection them. But this is another story.

So I went to there for sketching inspired a lot. But this drawing was not that easy for a simple reason: the place was full of flies! I don’t hate any animal at all but sketching with a lot of flies, touching you everywhere, going on the sketch, going even into the pans of my watercolor (sucking what? pigment? some watery color? go away!) was really annoying me. This is one of the few time that I really felt uncomfortable, even worst than I was in my missions in Africa, believe me!

I was so annoyed that I started just three simple outlines and I ripped off the pages of my sketch! I never did that, and I didn’t before… At the fourth attempt I started and I tried to focus as more as possible but, my goodness was really hard. Later I discovered the reason there was so much flies: it’s related to the bad habits and attitude of some of my fellow citizens.

sketching chiesa del cristo

I was very quick with my Lamy Safari and today probably because is very humid the Platinum Carbon Ink was not drying that fast. Also the watercolors were not drying that fast.

By the way i was going home, the sun was almost going down, but not that happy of this sketching session, and still annoyed from the flies welcome, I suddenly stopped and I sketched this one standing, leaving the sketch pad on top of the sea stopper. I was just focused on tone values than the line as usual.

quick sketch at sunset

It’s a really quick sketching at the sunset made in about ten minutes, the sun was dimming. That’s what I was needing: the last sketch before going home to cook the dinner for my love.


Sketching building near the Central Post Office

Sketching building near the Central Post Office

After works I found some time for sketching finally! Ok, I went to the post office first and then after doing the good man asking for some services, I seated on the place in front of the entrance. I think one or two stands from my earlier sketching about the same place.
I was with my scooter, and not remembering that I was not with my bike as usual, it’s different… you cannot stop anywhere you like. 🙂

This place is very nice. Open and clean. Full of people and most of this people are kids, moms and aged people. I like it, it’s in the heart of the city and it’s comfortable.
And there are Post Offices. 🙂

I seated quietly in the wooden stands, luckily I found one without no people seated. But the lucky was ending, after few minutes of pure relax there was first a child seating and looking at my ugly sketch, after two people surrounded me. They didn’t ask to me directly but I knew they were talking to me. No problem at all obviously.

The light was quickly going down and the sky was terribly cool and fantastic with deep clouds over an intense blue.
So I sketched this corner of the palace near the main post office. Not quite a common corner to see, but is there, big place, and probably not a lot people notice it. I did it, I liked it, I was sketching it.
sketching near the central post office

It’s not perfect and I’m not fully happy of this, I never be happy of my sketches, don’t know why. I never get out of focus while sketching but I’m pushing to the limits this statement. 🙂

Also this time I sketched very quickly with my faithful Lamy Safari fountain pen filled with Platinum Carbon Ink and Winsor & Newton Artists’ watercolors over SeaWhite Pocket Sketchbook. The more I use Kuretake waterbrushes, the more I like them!
I hope to finish this sketch pad soon so I can go back to Moleskine Watercolor again I need some change!

Sketching a colleague reading in a windy day

Sketching a colleague reading in a windy day

Sketching a colleague reading a book in a windy day, a fifteen minutes sketching.
These days are busy days, there are many things to do during the day. I’m living some small revolutions, that soon will impact my life.

So I try to find some time for sketching and today I was lucky to have a full half an hour for sketching during my lunch break.

Today is a strange day, windy but hot and misty. Something not usual in these days, or slightly above the average temperature. By the way, I went to the pavilion after my short lunch and I started sketching. I don’t know why but I started a sketch that I never finished, and more, I took off from the sketch pad. I rarely rip off sketches, this time I did it. It was really bad. Completely offset. Some thoughts, I cannot connect quietly my right brain maybe. About 15 minutes of my precious time wasted! 🙂

But in front of my table there was a colleague that was quietly reading a book with the wind blowing in the curly hair. She was very focused and the wind didn’t touch her focus on the book. OK I said into me, that’s fine. The sea is very dark and the day is not sunny, not cloudy, we are like living inside a light box, flattening shadows and colors.
sketching my colleague reading at lunch

So I sketched very quickly with my workhorse, the Lamy Safari fountain pen filled with Platinum Carbon Ink and Winsor & Newton Artists’ watercolors over SeaWhite Pocket Sketchbook.