Caran d’Ache produces quite some nice colours of inks, and while I have done a couple of ink samples late last year, I haven’t gotten down to reviewing them on this site yet. The brand has had a range called the Caran d’Ache Colors of the Earth inks, which has been discontinued and replaced with their Chromatic range. I was lucky enough to have snatched up 3 of the old inks before they were all out of the market.
Before I start my ink review, I’ll have to disclaim that the colour of the ink that I scanned for this review may not be the same as the actual colour perceived. I have tried my best to adjust the hues to be as similar as possible to the real thing, based on what I see on my Macbook laptop screen. Your computer may output a slightly different hue, depending on the settings of your screen colours. Just search on Google Images for any of the ink names, and you will see how vastly different the colours look like for each type of ink!
Caran d’Ache Colors of the Earth: Saffron
I have a great weakness for certain colours for inks. One of them is orange, and another is magenta which is the colour of the Sunset which you will see later. When I heard that the Colors of the Earth range was going to be discontinued, I hurried to Aesthetic Bay to grab the Saffron ink as they still had it in stock.
Saffron is a type of spice that is frequently used in food, and gives stuff an orange colour. It is also used in the dyeing of fabric. If you know of risotto, paella, or bryani rice, those orange hues in the rice are usually from saffron. Caran d’Ache has made their Saffron ink a vibrant, cheerful orange colour, with tinges of amber, especially in the areas where the ink is less saturated. The orange is has more yellow than red in it.
If I were to liken it to hexadecimal colour codes, I would probably place it between #FFA924 (aureolineyellow) and #FF9912 (cadmiumyellow). But likening ink colours to hex codes is a really long shot, since there is a huge range of colours imaginable that are available in hex codes, and comparing the actual colour to a computer screen’s output colour is really not very accurate. But I would still try to do it anyway, just to excite the geek in me.
You can see from the scan that this ink gives quite a decent amount of shading. I didn’t choose the pen well enough, because the lines of my Pilot SFM are dry and very fine, which enhances the shading even more but also makes the text rather difficult to read. If you notice the glass pen writing sample, the shading is far less obvious due to the large amount of ink laid down onto the paper. Forgive me, as this had been my very first ink record that I made in my notebook! You may also notice that in the written passage, the ink seems to fade the more I wrote. That’s because the ink supply was running low as I had been using the pen with the Saffron ink for some time. In fact, not long after finishing this writing sample, my pen went dry!
Water resistance is not great with this ink, as the water drop test practically wiped out all the words from the page. Drying time is slightly on the long side, where my line of ink dried only after 15 seconds. This can pose some problems for lefties like me when my hand smudges across the words that I have written.
Caran d’Ache Colors of the Earth: Sunset
As I’ve written earlier, another ink colour that excites me is the magenta colour. I got this Sunset ink and the Grand Canyon from Fook Hing Trading Co. quite some time ago. Being self-explanatory enough, Caran d’Ache tries to capture the red colours of a sunset into this bottle, but to be honest, I have never quite seen any sunset with such a deep magenta colour. It looks like a colour that may well belong to a flower, such as an orchid, rather than the sunset.
There is some hint of pink and purple in this ink colour. If I were to place a hex code to it, I would say it is #872657 (raspberry). Just like the Saffron, it s a long-drying ink in my cheap notebook with coated paper – takes about 15 seconds for a line of ink to dry. As for shading, you may be able to make out a bit of shading here and there, but definitely not as much as the Saffron. Water resistance is poor like the Saffron, with the ink mostly disappearing upon dripping water onto the paper.
Caran d’Ache Colors of the Earth: Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a majestic landscape in Arizona, USA, a place where I would love to visit one day. It is characterised by huge looming slopes of rock that is cut into by the Colorado River. These brown landscapes are not your colourful canyons of Utah National Park nor full of lush greenery like in the Yellowstone. They are silent, colossal masses with colours of earth, and that is why this ink is brown.
The drying time of the Grand Canyon is slightly shorter than the other two, at around 12 seconds or so. The Baoer pen that I used seemed to give rather inconsistent ink flow. The ink comes out rather saturated and you can observe some slight shading at certain parts of the writing. However, with the ink swab sample, the brown is lighter at first, and gets considerably darker with multiple swabs. Water resistance is poor, but being a darker ink, you can still see the outline of the letters after water has been dropped onto the words, as the ink is not fully taken off the page. I would put a hex code of something like #6B4226 (semisweet chocolate 1) for the darker parts, and #97694F (darktan) for the lighter parts. But it’s really to find a brown hex code that fits this Grand Canyon more or less.
One characteristic that I observed for all 3 inks in this feature today, is that they are strong colours but have an underlying muted characteristic to them. I suppose this is to mimic the nature of natural colours – you don’t see striking neon-like hues often in nature.
I wonder if any of you have a full collection of the Colors of the Earth range of inks. If you do, do share in the comments below! Meanwhile, you can check out Goulet Pens’ video of the Caran d’Ache Chromatic Inks range.
I am the founder of this website.
Chemist by day, slacker by night, fanatic of stationery all the time.
I write with my left hand, but can also do the same with my right hand – it just won’t look very pretty.