Diamine Tropical Glow: ink review.

I received an ink sample of this ink from Tudos.no free of charge for the purpose of reviewing it.

Diamine have been on the top of my list of ink brands I was going to look more into after I have used up some of my the ink on my desk. I’m down to two opened bottles now.

My interest in shimmer and shading inks probably started with the Tsuki-yo for the shading part, and I got very interested in shimmer when I reviewed J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre.

The writing experience with this ink is very good. Nothing to complain about when it comes down to the lubrication of the ink. And the colour looks fantastic. It is a beautiful turquoise with silver shimmers. They are very subtle, and you only see them if you know to look for them.

I did initially think that the colour was a little bit too light, but I have come around on that. Even though I would have preferred a darker colour.

I’m probably not going to buy a whole bottle of this ink, at least not now. I might do it in the future. But I’m just a little bit fed up on green at the moment, But I like it a lot more than the green ink I previously used (shin-ryoku).

One final note. I have not tested this ink as thorough as I usually do. I have only tested it with my board vanishing point. In contrast to how I usually test ink, which usually entails me inking up every single pen I own to get an impression on how it works with finer and broader; stubs; wetter and dryer.

I would without doubt recommend it, if you are looking for a turquoise ink.

What I expect from an A5 notebook

This is just a short list of what a A5 notebook should be like in order to be the most useful to me

  • Lined or grid
  • I prefer lined for long form writing and dot grid for tasks.
  • Hardcover; because it is much more convenient when I write somewhere I don’t have a flat surface available.
  • At least two markers
  • I prefer three
  • The paper should be good; Leuchtturm1917 or Rhodia quality is the standard I expect.
  • And then I mean both paper quality and shorter dry time.

Something between the sample and a bottle.

When I want to test an ink, I have two options either I buy or trade a sample or I buy a full bottle. I would probably just get the bottle because it is not THAT expensive.

What I want is something bigger than a sample, but smaller than a 50ml bottle. 10 or 15 ml would be perfect. Because a small sample is never enough for me to do a proper test. I like to test it in many different pens in order to get the full picture of how a ink behaves. But the problem with the full bottle, is of course to get rid of it, if you don’t like it or don’t see yourself using it all.

The reason I try to always test a ink with as many pens as possible is because to use a ink with a finer nib versus a broader one or a dry pen vs wet pen is very different. The colours are different. And the dry time is different.

Some inks look better with a fine line, while others look much better with a big wet one. And some inks are just unusable with a wet nib because you have to take a nap while you wait for a page to dry

Review: Code & Quill Origin

I received the [Code & Quill Origin](Code & Quill Origin Grey Dotted + Linjert A5 Hardcover Notatbok – Tudos) free of charge from Tudos for the purpose of reviewing it.

This is a A5-ish notebook with dot grid on the left side and lined on the right side – what I usually call dual layout. The paper is okay, but it bleeds through a little bit more than I’m used to. It’s not that bad, but a little bit worse than for example Leuchtturm1917.

The design of this notebook is not ugly, but it isn’t anything I like either. The only way to describe it is how iOS apps used to look before everything went “flat”. There are probably some people that love how it looks. But it isn’t my kind of thing.

My three big complaints of this notebook is:

  • The paper quality makes something to be desired. Close, but no cigar.
  • The lack of felt page markers is really annoying.
  • The format of the book is similar to A5, but a little bit shorter. This drives me nuts. Why wouldn’t you follow an established standard? This is the kind of thing where I mumble “fucking Americans”, we have the metric system and various other systems for a reason.

I have used dual layout notebooks before, mainly the Field Notes special edition from about three years ago, or something. And it never clicked with me. My opinion have been that people should get a Travelers Notebook and fill it with different refills if they just want multiple page layouts in their notebook.

The way I usually use notebooks are either long form writing or writing down lists. And to use a dual layout for something like that is either confusing or plain wasteful. So what I had to do in order to test out this notebook was find something I could use it for where it made sense to have one layout here and another one over there.

I decided to use it for creating “mockups” for app and web development stuff I do at work and for fun. This means I need to carry another notebook, and that was exactly what I needed…

The dual layout is good for some stuff. And my mock up notes are less messy and easier to understand when I use the grid for the mockups (crappy drawings) and the lined part for describing what it is.

Now. I’m not 100% sure if the improvement is big enough for me to justify carrying another notebook. I guess time will show.

How do they hold up?

In this post I’m going to take a look how various notebooks I have used hold up in use. How does they look when they are new versus after I’m done with them.

Field Notes

I think Field Notes are the gold standard for notebooks that look fantastic both new and even better when they show some wear and tear. While I think their design new look good, they are in no way my favourite.

As said, they look fantastic after being used. The only problem with them is that it isn’t that they don’t hold up that well if you have them in your pack pocket for months, instead of weeks.

Leuchtturm1917 (hardcover, A5)

This notebook looks okay or fine but not fantastic when you start using it. It isn’t ugly or anything, but it is just “utilitarian” and does the job. I don’t think anyone buys a Leuchtturm1917 for its aesthetics, but rather their fantastic paper and features.

The notebook does not look good after a few months of wear and tear, but I have never experienced that any of them are falling apart, even after carrying them in by bag for months.

Nock.co Pocket sized notebook.

This is based on the Blue limited edition one, but I expect it is similar on previous limited editions and their regular black one.

It looks amazing out of the pack. I greatly prefer it to Field Notes. And I think it has a Field Notes thing going for it where it looks cool as the colour are worn off after being in my back pocket for a few weeks.

I’m not 100% sure, but it seems like the material the cover is made of holds up better than Field Notes when it comes down to not falling apart.

Rhoda Webnotebook

Not unlinke the Leuchtturm1917, the orange Rhodia Webnotebook doesn’t look that great after using it for a while. It looks a little bit "dirty" and some posts of ink etc. The black one might not show it as well as the orange one.


If I would pick one of each category, one A5 and one pocket sized notebook based on how they look after being used for a while, I think Field Notes and Leuchtturm1917 is the obvious picks. Field Notes looks the best when they are worn down. And Leuchtturm1917 takes it a little bit better than the Webbie. It doesn’t look good on either; but it is much more visible on the webbie; and neither is made in a way where it looks good.

But this is of course not the way I pick notebooks. My prefence at the moment is Nock.co notebooks for my pocket sized needs, and Leuchtturm1917 for everything else.