Ink Review: Diamine Autumn Oak
Released in the autumn of 2014, this lovely ink from Diamine was an unfortunate casualty of timing. At first, the ink got a lot of attention from the ink cognoscenti. However, the initial rush of ink adulation was quickly quashed by the buzz surrounding the golden glitter of J. Herbin’s Stormy Grey.
I, for one, think this is a shame. Orange inks, of which Diamine Autumn Oak is one, have never really spoken to me. I have found it hard to find orange inks that were dark enough to be readable while still vibrant enough to be orange. I’ve tried a whole variety or orange inks: Caran d’Ache Saffron, Noodler’s Apache Sunset, Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin & Amber, even Sailor Jentle Apricot. None of them have been quite what I was looking for. Diamine Autumn Oak finds that sweet spot and just hovers there.
(See the disclaimer at the bottom of the post about color correction. This image is a bit darker than the paper.)
Autumn Oak greatest strength is that it’s saturated without being blinding. It’s orange, but not neon-ly so. Autumn Oak certainly has ochre, brown, and red undertones, but there is no doubt that this is an orange ink. And I find it lovely. It does remind me a great deal of the color of the autumnal leaves on the large oak tree back yard during the fall months.
Like most Diamine inks, Autumn Oak is a lovely writer: Nicely lubricated, easy to clean, behaves fairly well. It’s an incredible shader on premium paper, and the ink simply adores a wet pen. For such a highly-saturated ink, it’s even got pretty good dry times (and superb dry times on cheap copy paper.)
However, this is an ink that really does its best work on premium papers. On both Rhodia and Tomoe River paper, Autumn Oak performs wonderfully, exhibiting very little feathering and zero bleed. The shading really comes out on these premium papers as well. Even the dry times on Rhodia and Tomoe River were on the short side for coated papers.
On cheap copy paper, however, things start to fall apart for Autumn Oak.
On Staples 75gsm copy paper, Autumn Oak loses a lot of the characteristics you can see on the premium papers. On the plus side, the ink dries very rapidly. (2 seconds, in most cases.) However the color, the shading, the saturation all seem to diminish when used on absorptive paper. The ink exhibits a moderate amount of feathering and a fair bit of bleed even with on fine-nibbed pens. This is not an ink I would suggest using on cheap student notebooks.
I’m quite a fan of most Diamine inks, and this one is no exception. It’s a lovely orange with brown/ochre undertones. It behaves well on high-quality paper (which I am fortunate to be able to use in almost all of my daily writing scenarios), and is easy to clean out of my pens. And, being a Diamine ink, is really quite affordable. All in all, if you like orange inks, this one does the best job of straddling the line between color and usability that I’ve ever seen.
Note: This was a particularly difficult ink to photograph and color correct. I took my best stab at trying to represent the color I saw on the paper, but some of the images below are not super-accurate representations of what the ink looks like. Apologies for the inconvenience. The close-up photos of the Rhodia paper are the most accurate depictions of the true color of the ink.