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Ink Battle: Van Dieman’s and Sailor

Posted in Ink

This ink battle is between Van Dieman’s Kitten Paws and Sailor Ink Studio 273. Both inks are in a pen fitted with a Jowo #6 M nib. The paper is Kokuyo A5 Campus Loose Leaf, plain.

Today’s ink battle determined if I keep my sample of Kitten Paws in use, or relegate it to the “for dupes” baskets. If I keep it and go through the whole sample, then I’d consider getting a bottle.

Between myself and Jim buying inks, we own far too many. This means I have some inks that are incredibly similar in color. And, because of that, I need to figure out which inks to keep and which to dispose of. Sometimes, I have samples of two or more similar inks that I'm trying to decide which to buy, or if I should buy one ink when I already own a bottle of a similar one.

Enter ink battles. I put the similar inks into pens with the same nibs (two Jowo #6 M, two TWSBI F, etc.), then test them out to see which I like better. Or, I may find out that, when used with the same nib, they’re sufficiently different to keep.

You can assume I have no problems with any ink that appears in an ink battle. I may find, when using the inks side-by-side, that there are performance differences, but the point of the battle is to choose a favorite ink, a "winner". These choices are often subjective, and you may disagree with me.

An ink battle — unlike ink dupes — is between inks I like. I enjoy using them enough to have them in my "for use" ink collection — as opposed to my repository of inks for testing dupes. If an ink performed poorly or caused problems, I wouldn’t keep it. And, if that were the case, an ink battle would be unnecessary.

Reminder: You can find all of the ink battle posts on the tag page.

I’ve done my best to edit these photos to be true-to-life. However, because of the red base in Kitten Paws, I wasn’t entirely successful. If you want to judge the colors with an eye toward purchasing either — or both — refer to the fourth photo below, the one centered on the scribble section.

In my initial swatch tests — pre-battle — these two inks looked similar enough to consider dupes. The battle, of course, proves otherwise. While both inks are desaturated, Kitten Paws falls into the pink category, while 273 is a brown. They are about the same lightness, and exhibit roughly the same shading capabilities… not much.

Comparing Van Dieman's Kitten Paws and Sailor Ink Studio 273 by writing pangrams on adjacent lines.

Both inks also have some nice complexity in the water test. I definitely was not expecting the bit of turquoise in Kitten Paws.

I’ve got to call this battle a tie. Kitten Paws gets to stay with the samples for my use.


Although different hues, Kitten Paws and 273 are so similar in every other trait that there’s no possible outcome for this battle but a tie.

TraitKitten Paws273
Bonus Points00

What do you think? Would you keep both? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Make sure to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any posts. I generally post at least once a week.


  1. Derek

    I like neither color, but would keep both if you do.

    July 2, 2024
  2. James McCarty
    James McCarty

    I prefer cooler browns, so it’s the 273 for me.

    June 28, 2024
  3. Alyson Kotkowski
    Alyson Kotkowski

    Kitten Paws!! It just appeals to me better overall.

    June 28, 2024

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