Ink Review: Iroshizuku Take-Sumi

IroshizukuTake-sumi InkReviewMost, if not all, of the inks in Pilot’s Iroshizuku line are priced at $25 dollars. This brand typically receives good reviews, and is considered some of the highest quality ink out there. Before I shelled out that kind of dough, I thought it best to purchase a sample and see if they’re really all that and a bag of chips.

This review will examine the qualities of Take-sumi (Bamboo Charcoal).


Flow: Good

Take-sumi flows pretty well, with no sudden skips or ink explosions. When I leave the nib uncovered for a few minutes, the nib takes just a few seconds and scribbles to start up again. It’s not as bad as some of the other inks I’ve tried.

Shading: Low

I was surprised about the shading of this ink. Most dark inks don’t shade at all, but Take-sumi shades from a medium gray to a dark black. It’s interesting.

Feathering: None-Low

Take-sumi only seems to feather on cheap, thin paper. In a cheap notebook, this ink doesn’t feather. Which is a good thing.

Lubrication: Excellent

This ink makes my Safari’s nib quite smooth. It is very consistent, and it writes like butter.

Saturation: High

Like most Iroshizuku inks, Take-sumi is highly saturated.

Show-through: Low-Medium

Due to this ink’s highly saturated nature, it’s bound to show-through on cheap or thin papers.

Bleed-through: Low

Only on really thin paper did Take-sumi bleed through.


Here’s an example of some cursive writing on thin paper. You can see how much this ink feathers.

Iroshizuku Take-sumi ink feathering

Here’s another example of some cursive writing. This time, I used cheap notebook paper.

IroshizukuTake-sumi WritingSample_Cursive

Here’s the same sample of cursive writing, only in a closer close-up. Can you see any shading?Close-up Take-sumi cursive writing sample


Iroshizuku’s Take-sumi isn’t the blackest of black inks, but it’s one of the best. It’s not my favorite, but it’s still a good black ink. Because it’s so expensive, if you want a really black ink — I’d choose another brand. If you don’t mind the color, by all means, buy this ink. But, I must repeat my warning to artists. Like my past Iroshizuku experiences, this ink is not waterproof. Period. End of story. (Unless you’re trying to bleach it out of your pants. Then it’s waterproof.)

However, I recommend that you try this ink. Maybe you’ll like it better than I do. Like I said before, it’s not my favorite black ink, but it’s not all bad.


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