Another Look at J. Herbin Encre de Chine

March 16, 2009


Above: My lightfast test for J. Herbin Engre de Chine, Marron (brown). The left half of the sheet was the protected sheet. The right half of the sheet faded when exposed to light. See additional comments below.

Many of you may recall my original post on J. Herbin India Inks. I expressed some concern about the cost for a small bottle (minute bottle actually) and wording in the company's description of this product. Specifically what bothered me was the statement that the ink had "great permanency of color."

Such a statement didn't make any sense to me in a world where art product companies submit products for rigorous testing. Why not simply state a standard lightfast rating? Their lack of a definitive statement let me to conduct my own lightfast/light exposure test, which appears at the top of this post.

It is a bit confusing to read because I had the brainiac idea to graduate the strokes of ink from light to dark. However, the left side is the protected side, the right side was exposed. There is clear evidence of substantial fading in the right hand sample. Compare the strip of ink color on the top right with the strip of ink second from the top on the left side. Both of these strokes were of the same value when the sample was separated.

The solid block of color third from the top on each side, also clearly shows the fading that has taken place during exposure.

Less clear on the scan, but very clear in person, the light splotches at the base of the card no longer have any "body" on the right hand side, and the writing is not only paler it has also clearly shifted in color (as have all the faded bits).

In my October 13, 2008 post on this ink I work through some of the working properties of this ink and show examples. I refer you to that post for a refresher.

Based on the results of my lightfast test, the extremely expensive nature of this ink (when considering the cost per ounce), and the working characteristics which I didn't enjoy. I won't be purchasing this ink for my pen and ink work again.

There are some great inks out that that are reasonably priced and rated lightfast. I recommend you spend time getting to know other inks.

    • Zoe
    • March 16, 2009

    Roz, you may want to send this feedback to J. Herbin’s US distributor, Exaclair. The VP of Marketing, Karen Doherty, is a very accessible person and the information would be helpful to the company and for buyers.

    Thanks for the testing. I know it always takes time and effort to do these.

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