Toucan Inks: Bright Colors from Down Under
Toucan inks are made by a company called Dye Manufacturers of Australia, which has been around since the early 1900s. In about 1918, they started to sell dyes meant for clothing and food products under the name Tintex. More recently, they’ve branched out, producing ink for technical drawing and fountain pens.
At first look, Toucan inks don’t jump out as being too interesting or special. They’re bright, but their colors are pretty basic and not too terribly saturated. The beauty with these inks, though, is that they are specifically formulated so you can mix them to produce any colors you want. I haven’t played with them as yet, but I can see myself doing a bit of mad scientist work in the very near future.
Here are a few words and samples for six of their inks. I’ll likely get more so I can play around with mixing, so there may very well be a part two to this Quick Look.
When I think of the word “scarlet,” I picture a bright orangish red. And that’s pretty much what you get here. It’s like a light brick red with a strong hint of pink in it. It’s dark enough to use for everyday writing and vibrant enough to pop off the page.
There is a little bit of shading, but not that much. It really only shows up with stub/calligraphy nibs where the ink pools. No sheen at all.
Toucan Bright Blue
Another appropriate name. It’s bright. And it’s blue. It’s a very pretty color, but unfortunately, it also has a red sheen. It’s not overpowering like some other inks I have, and really only shows up around the edges. I’m just getting really annoyed at these blue and teal inks that have red sheens on them. It’s not cool.
There’s practically no shading at all with Bright Blue. I got a couple spots in the bottom flourishes, but that’s really it.
This is probably my favorite ink out of this group. It’s a very vibrant orangey brown, plenty dark enough for any writing purposes. It does have some interesting and drastic shading going on, especially in the flourishes done with the calligraphy nib where the ink pools. At first, I thought it had a dark sheen around the edges, but once I checked it out with my loupe, I can clearly tell there’s no other color in there…it’s just very dark in those areas.
Cool shading. No sheen. It’s a winner.
Crimson is a nice, dark pink color. In a fine nib, it can pass for raspberry red. It does shade a little bit, but you’ll see the most variance between finer/dryer areas and web/heavy areas. The calligraphy nib also resulted in some shading, but nothing that drastic. No sheen on this one, either.
Aqua is probably my least favorite of this bunch. I think they were going for more of a light teal color, but this is closer to mint green. It is the best shader in the group, though. If you look at the figure eights right below the swab, you’ll see some wild banding and shading, especially where the lines cross.
It might be a little light for everyday writing, but I bet it would be pretty awesome with a few drops of Bright Blue mixed in there. Yeah…I’ll have to try that. No sheen.
Well, it’s definitely orange. No doubt about that. It shaded some with the broader calligraphy nib, but not with the Blue Pumpkin nib. As far as orange inks go, this one is pretty flat, but it’s a great color and I could see myself using it at work for a bit of pizazz. It is dark enough to use for everyday writing. No sheen.
With the exception of Sienna, I was initially underwhelmed by these inks. They seemed pretty basic. But I think that’s probably intentional given the mixing ability you get with all the Toucan inks. I’m going to have to experiment to see what kind cool mixtures I can come up with.
Have you played with mixing Toucan inks? If so, I’d love to see some of your creations!