More Amazing Colors from Robert Oster Signature
I asked Rob Oster for stories to share with you, wondering specifically how he decided to start making and selling his own line of inks. His reply: “My obsession with ink occurred out of the blue one day as I looked from over my powerbook at a sea of ink bottles….wondering why I don’t make an ink as close to nature as possible.”
I believe it. Especially looking at my sheet of Rhodia paper with the six ink swabs for this review. These colors could easily be used to paint a satellite image of Australia, including the waters around the continent and all the deserts, forests, prairies, and beaches found across the land. Much like the first six inks I reviewed, this set is absolutely magnificent.
Where the last batch contained a lot of vibrant blue and turquoise colors, this set contains several more earthy tones that I rather enjoy quite a bit.
Robert Oster Signature Deep Sea
Deep Sea would have been right at home in Part 1 of this series. It’s a dark, vibrant teal color that reminds me of the Caribbean Sea at night. I’ve never been “deep” in the sea, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the name. But from my time on a few islands, Deep Sea does resemble the color of the water when the sun is setting, as the surface deepens from a bright turquoise to a darker, greener hue.
There’s definitely some shading in this ink, but it’s not very drastic. I found that it shaded quite a bit when using the extra fine dip nib, but it was much more subtle in with the broader calligraphy nib. The smear samples show a nice range of tones, although I wouldn’t really call the lighter parts “light.”
Deep see has a pretty drastic red sheen, especially from the dip nibs. It’s not as bright of a sheen as you get with Blue Lagoon or Blue Denim, but it shows up in a lot of places.
Robert Oster Signature Emerald
Moving away from blues for a bit, we find ourselves in a wonderfully shade-tastic green. I only became interested in green inks a few months ago, and I can say that today, I’m completely sold on them. Emerald is a good name for this ink. It’s a bright, vibrant green that provides a wild range of hues.
I’m not sure why, but Emerald looks more like a true green on the Canson Bristol Board, and slightly bluer on Rhodia. Just an effect of the different papers, I guess. I should clarify: it never looks blue at all. But if you put the two samples side-by-side, the swab on Rhodia is slightly bluer than on the Canson.
Ooof, dat shading! The Canson samples really show off the range of tones you can get from this ink. It ranges from very light to very dark, but it always unmistakably green and dark enough to read.
Emerald is another ink with a red sheen, although it’s darker than the bright ruby color you get with some of the others. I got considerably less sheen on the Rhodia paper than I did with the Canson, where it showed up all over the extra fine dip nib writing. This would be a great ink for Christmas cards.
Robert Oster Signature Gold Antiqua
Gold Antiqua is a difficult color to describe. In the dip nib writing, it dries a yellowy or golden brown color…somewhere between honey and sepia. There’s definitely a red component to it, so it leans a little toward orange. Like Emerald, Gold Antiqua looks different on the two papers I used. The yellow definitely comes out more on the Canson than it does on the Rhodia, where it looks more brown. The Canson, I think, also brings out a wider color/tone variance from the lightest (coffee stain) to darkest (chocolatey) tones.
The smear samples show a very dramatic range of tones, and that translates into some equally dramatic shading. I think this ink would look magnificent on some nice parchment or cream-colored Tomoe River paper.
This ink doesn’t have a sheen, but it does get a very dark, almost black edging around the heavy pooling areas (as do the next three inks in this post). This edging is most apparent in the smear sample on the Canson card, but does show up occasionally in other areas. Unlike the red sheens you get with the blues and greens so far, this edging adds a very subtle pop of life to the ink.
Robert Oster Signature Jade
This is easily one of my favorite inks of the Robert Oster Signature lineup that I have, although I’m not sure “Jade” is the best name for it. It doesn’t really resemble the color of actual jade, which is darker and a lot less yellow. This color reminds me more of grass…or more specifically of grass stains.
Remember as a kid racing around the yard, falling down, and sliding on the lawn, only to get up and find large yellow-green streaks down your shirt and jeans? If you ever got such a grass stain on a white shirt, it probably resembled this ink. I hope I’m not making this sound negative, because I really love this color. It’s very unique and looks great on the page.
Jade is another color that ranges from pretty light to very dark, but it never loses its identity on the page and is always dark enough to read. The shading is out of this world, and it has that blackish edging around the wettest parts.
Robert Oster Signature Khaki
I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like this ink, but I think it’s actually pretty nice. It’s got a dusty look to it and looks somewhat vintage. I usually think of Khaki as more of a tan or light brown color, and this ink is more of a yellowish green. I’d put it somewhere between army green and olive green.
Khaki dries more yellow on the Canson paper than it does on the Rhodia, and I think I like the way it presents on Rhodia better. In the swab and smear, it shows up as a nice, muted army green, but with the dip nibs, it dries closer to brown.
Khaki is another nice shader that can produce a wide range of color depth, and it also has that wonderful blackish edging.
Robert Oster Signature Moss Green
The parts of my samples written with the extra fine dip nib came out very dark…I’d be tempted to call it a green-black, but it’s plenty green enough, so maybe calling it a muted forest green would be closer.
It’s another phenomenal shading ink that ranges from very light to very dark green. And just as the last three inks, Moss Green has that almost-black edging around the wettest parts…although this edging looks almost dark purple at the right angle. It’s very subtle and you have to look for it, but it doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the base green color.
I continue to be wicked impressed with the Robert Oster Signature inks. Where the first set seemed to focus on blues, this set seems to collect all the earthy—dare I say “antique-looking”—colors that I have. The next set gets bright and bold!
So far, these inks all have interesting and unique colors, they all seem well behaved, and there is enough of a variety of shading and sheening qualities to provide anyone with a handful of inks they’ll love. Be on the lookout for the third set in this series…there are some real beauties coming up!