This week we’re going to take a look at Iroshizuku Syo-ro. This ink made my list of Forever Inks and is one of my all-around favorite inks to use. I think it’s great for writing and doodling and enjoy using it in a variety of nib sizes. Interested? Let’s take a closer look at why I enjoy this ink so much.
To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. The name, Syo-ro, translates as “dew on pine tree”. I’m not sure about what that would actually look like, but I suppose this could be somewhat close. It is a teal color that’s probably a little closer to green than to blue. One of the things I really enjoy about this ink is how it changes color once it dries. It goes down a very blue color and dries much more green, so if you have never tried this and don’t immediately see the color you’re expecting, just let it dry and it will get there. Once it dries, it has some sheen. For me, this is just about the perfect amount of sheen… just enough to make things a little more interesting. It also has a bit of shading. With the sheen, it’s hard to tell what is sheen and what is shading, but if you like a little variety in your writing, you’ll probably enjoy what this ink has to offer.
Speaking of drying, this ink has pretty decent dry times, although they are longer than some other Iroshizuku inks I’ve reviewed such as Yama-budo or Murasaki-shikibu. I didn’t feel like I had to wait long for it to dry while writing or doodling with it. Thanks to the sheen, it will still smudge a bit once dry, but not so much as to make it dangerous.
This ink doesn’t have an interesting chromatography. I was really hoping it would because of how it looks blue while wet but teal when dry, but it looks pretty much exactly the same when exposed to water as when it is not. It is fairly waterproof. While some of the dye will smear, what remains on the paper is still quite legible.
The Pens I Used
Each week I choose five different pens to fill with the ink I’m testing. My goal is to get a variety of nib sizes and styles, as well as a mix of modern and vintage pens. Here are the pens I chose this week and some writing samples from each:
Esterbrook Transitional J (vintage) – 9048 fine flex nib
This fine flexible Esterbrook nib paired well with this ink, but it wasn’t as quite as fine as I remembered. Still, it was enjoyable to write with, especially when I flexed it a bit and got some variation in my writing.
Lamy Safari – F nib
Wanting a finer nib than the Esterbrook, I inked up this Lamy Safari. It gave me what I was looking for. While it looks good, I don’t prefer it as much as the other nibs. I want this ink to go down wet to make it look more saturated.
Omas Cinema – M nib
Now this is a wet nib. In the past, I didn’t think this Omas nib was as wet as my other Omas nib, so I wasn’t expecting so much ink! It almost looks like a broad nib. Still, I love it. This was my favorite combination of the week for both writing and doodling.
Waterman (vintage) – 17 flex nib
This is surprisingly fine for a medium nib. It was really enjoyable to write with without flexing, and even more fun to use with a bit of flex. It gave a lot more sheen and shading than the fine Lamy nib did.
Bonecrusher Velma – B nib
Yet another fantastically wet nib. The broad nib on this Bonecrusher made this ink look great. It was a little impractical for writing, but not so much that I would reach for a different pen.
On cheap paper this ink tended to bleed through in every pen and it feathered in a few of the pens. On fountain-pen-friendly paper, things mostly fared better. On Leuchtturm paper all pens still bled through and most feathered. On the other two papers I didn’t have any issues except for some slight feathering on the Oasis. With these results, I’d stick to using Syo-ro on good paper in order to avoid feathering or bleed through.
Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens
This is not a highly-saturated ink, so cleaning it out of pens was not extremely difficult. Something did happen that I have rarely experienced, though. Somehow my Esterbrook got a bit of extra ink in the cap, which then came down onto the body (you can see this in my pen nib photo). Once it dried, it actually stained the body and didn’t come off with water. I was able to remove it with a little soaking, but I normally do not like to allow water to come up past the section, as it can potentially seep into the body where the sac is and rust the j bar.
Iroshizuku Syo-ro is, like pretty much every other Iroshizuku ink, fantastic. It is well behaved when used on good paper, nice and wet, and has beautiful color. While I was looking at the color trying to describe it, I realized that, when used with a wet nib, it looks very similar to Emerald of Chivor, only with less sheen and no shimmer. I hadn’t ever made that connection before, but now I can’t unsee it. Teal inks are quite popular and there are many options out there, but I feel that the color of Syo-ro is fairly unique. Personally, I love it and it is one of my most-used inks. I hope this has sparked some interest for you as well and you give it a try!