A Little Diamine In My Pen


Diamine has always offered excellent ink and in recent years expanded to offer one of the most varied color catalogs in inkdom. So I was happy to accept a bottle of Raw Sienna from Jet Pens for review.

The substantial Diamine range of browns makes it difficult to settle on just one favorite, but Raw Sienna makes my short list along with Sepia, Dark Brown and Chocolate Brown. The latter is the most saturated and the slowest to dry, but those two characteristics tend to happen together. Sepia and Dark Brown have gone in and out of my regular rotation for at least eight years

Then there is Raw Sienna. It is a neutral, medium shade that shows no ghosting or bleed-through on the usual assortment of papers. It takes magnification to see just a tiny amount of feathering or imperfect outlines on pineapple or copy paper. No issues on high quality paper so don’t let the fuzz put you off.

The color swatches around the ink’s name are watercolors applied with a brush. The purpose was to see how well the ink color matches the name. It lacks the orange hue of raw sepia watercolor and is closer to burnt umber. However, there is no law that says an ink name must have any relationship to reality and whose reality would it match anyway.

Diamine Raw Sienna is understated and makes a good match for a wide nib especially since it has some shading to offer. Highly saturated, bright colors demand attention, while Raw Sienna invites a cozy friendship. A page of it says the writer took the time to select an easy to read color that is warm and relaxed. You can send me a letter in it anytime.


  1. I have 4 or so Diamine inks but tend to just use Iroshizuku inks now. I wondered if you know why there is such a big difference in price, and whether you think there is a significant issue in flow/usage?



    • I could never justify Iroshizuku’s price. I think anything over $15 per bottle is ridiculous, but Iro does come in pretty bottles and travels a long way from home to entertain us. As long as people are willing to pay exorbitant prices, companies will take the money. As for differences in properties or quality, Iro has very good flow and a lubricated feel that few inks can match. That isn’t for everyone, but if it suits you, there is no better ink on the market. On occasion it has demonstrated very mild feathering in a free-flowing pen, so it isn’t perfect. At about $12 per bottle, Diamine is easily the better value. It isn’t as lubricated, but it is a very good ink and it has an amazing choice of colors.

      Much as I like both brands, I tend to go for color as the most important characteristic. Everything else pales in comparison.


  2. Inkophile, we are on the same wavelength. I was just browsing brown ink swabs yesterday, and couldn’t understand why I had never seen Diamine Raw Sienna before. I put a sample of both Raw Sienna and Diamine Dark Brown in my cart. How funny to see this post today. =)


    • Timing! 🙂


      • Just to follow up, I recently purchased several brown ink samples and am slowly working my way through them. I finally inked up Diamine Raw Sienna today and it is my favorite so far. After having played with it in a few pens, including one italic, I wanted to let you know that I think your review of this one is completely on point. Warm, inviting, cozy, and a lovely shader especially with an italic. I wrote a long letter with it this morning, and I hope the recipient enjoys it as much as I did.


        • It’s a crowded marketplace for brown ink, but Raw Sienna deserves a place near the top. Can’t imagine the recipient of your letter not enjoying the color. 🙂


  3. […] Margana at Inkophile tries out the substantial Diamine range of browns […]


  4. Thank you for your thoughtful inky reviews – I liked seeing the ink names with watercolor references, very clever indeed!


    • Thank you. It was fun to combine my two hobbies in one graphic. 🙂


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