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J. Herbin “Gris Nuage” (grey): Ink Review

On Scrively's Ink Reviews - Background Information (click to expand)

J. Herbin “Gris Nuage”: a pale-dusty silvery grey

J. Herbin "Gris Nuage"

Ink name: J. Herbin “Gris Nuage”
Unit capacity: 30 ml (glas bottle)
Price: ca. 10 €
Price per ml: ca. 0,30 €

  Leuchtturm 1917 Spiral-bound Notepad
Color  Pale, silvery, dusty grey  Silvery, light grey
Saturation  Low  Low
Shading  Interesting, irregular shading  Quite irregular, but nice
Feathering  A little in this wet pen here  A little, letters spread out
Bleed-through  None  A little on 2nd pass (but: wet pen!)
Wetness  Wet and very, very lubricant ink  Wet and lubricant ink
Drying time  15 sec.  5 sec.
Smudging when dry  No  No
Regular smear test  OK  Ok
Left-page smear test  OK  –

Handwritten review on Leuchtturm 1917 paper
(scanned @600 dpi with Doxie Flip – click image to enlarge on Flickr)

J. Herbin "Gris Nuage"

Handwritten review on a Standard Spiral-Bound Notepad
(scanned @600 dpi with Doxie Flip – click image to enlarge on Flickr)

J. Herbin "Gris Nuage"

J. Herbin’s “Gris Nuage” falls into the category of one of my favorite ink colors: grey.  I have already reviewed quite a number of grey inks, and Gris Nuage is certainly the lightest of all of these.

Due to its lightness, Gris Nuage might not be for everybody. Being a low-saturated, silvery, dusty, pale grey ink, it indeed is on the light side, but personally, I do not find it too light to be usable. It won’t be your everyday office ink, but it certainly is interesting for all kinds of more personal uses. The inks shading is quite fascinating, since it is quite unpredictable where the darker spots are going to pool up next.

Gris Nuage is generally quite well behaved. It’s main characteristic is probably its wetness, which influences the inks general behavior. Being that wet, it is super lubricant and a dream to write with. The ink makes the nib glide across the paper like a piece of butter in a frying pan. However, and maybe due to this wetness, it does have a slight tendency to feather in the sense that the letters broaden on the paper as the ink gets absorbed into it. It’s not a massive annoyance for me, but something to be aware of. It shouldn’t happen with a finer, drier nib, but could be even more of a factor with say a BB nib.

Pricewise, the J. Herbin inks range a little higher, falling in the category of a Pelikan Edelstein ink, for instance.

As for its ‘leftyness’, the ink is perfect. Even though it is a wet ink that I tested in a quite wet nib here, the dry times are really good – with about 5 seconds only on a standard spiral bound notepad-paper. Plus the ink does not smudge at all once dry.

Lefty approved? Yes, a wholehearted recommendation!


I hope this was helpful – feel free to check out my other ink reviews as well.

If you would like to compare this color to any other ink color/brand, I would suggest to head over to GouletPen’s “Interactive SwabShop” – a tool that lets you compare over 500 different inks, while the swabs are done under similar conditions. This is a wonderful tool for “cross-color-brand-comparison” that I can highly recommend.


  1. Thanks for your great review!

    For all those who deem this ink unusable due to its light appearance I might suggest you try it on a tinted paper such as the Rhodia Yellow Lined, where it appears much dark enough to be easily legible, much like a HB graphite pencil, especially in a fine wet writer.

    • Scrively Scrively

      Thanks for your kind comment and tips! I am not sure if I would wanna accommodate my choice of paper to the ink (I would rather change the ink, I guess), but a wetter pen certainly helps here.

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