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Investigating Ink: What you should be using and how.

Talking about ink

We get a lot of questions from our customers about products, so we would like to use our blog as a place where we give you more information about the art materials we supply and what they can be used for.  When selecting which ink to use it can be difficult to understand which you should select, especially when you are trying to choose between two black inks, like drawing or Indian ink.  So to help clear things up we’ve put this article together to help you understand which ink you want to select for your projects!

Which ink should I choose?

There are various types of ink which you can buy, and the one you select for your work will depend upon factors such as application, what ground you are working on, what effect you are hoping to achieve and possibly how the work is going to be seen by your audience.

Dye based inks 

Dye based inks are produced using a series of soluble dyes in solution, often shellac.  Dye based inks should be used when the main aim is the purest, most vivid colour.  However, dye based colour has a lower lightfastness and so is better for work which will be kept in protected conditions such as a sketchbook or portfolio rather than on permanent display where the colour will deteriorate faster over time with exposure to light.  Shellac Dye based inks are usually water resistant, and produce the best effects when used on paper, Bristol or illustration board and when used with dip pens or brushes.   Dye based inks are not recommended for use with fountain pens as the particle size of the dyes may cause clogging and damage the nib.

iartsupplies sells three ranges of dye-based inks, the Ecoline liquid watercolour ink range in which all colours are dye based except for the white and the gold, the Waterproof Drawing ink except for the white and black colours and the Dr Ph Martins Radiant Inks.  The exceptions in the ranges are both pigment based and have improved lightfastness as a result.   With the black drawing ink, choose this when you want a black which will provide you with a greater possibility for shading work and gradations of the colour as opposed to Indian Ink.  The Ecoline and Radiant inks do not contain shellac and are not waterproof, but the Drawing ink is once dry.

 

Here are some ideas to get you started with Ecoline inks:

http://stampingmathilda.blogspot.nl/2007/02/ecoline-and-stamping.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E64Nr00uJ1s

 

Acrylic Inks

Acrylic Inks such as Daler Rowney FW are made using pigments the same way that paint is.  These inks are best for those of you who need a fluid versatile colour with the highest possible lightfastness.  Compared to dye based inks, Acrylic inks have slightly less colour intensity but due to the better lightfastness are less likely to fade.   Acrylic inks are waterproof and permanent once they dry and you can mix them with any acrylic paint and acrylic mediums giving them great versatility!

Acrylic inks work best on paper, board and canvas, but will also take on plastics, wood and ceramics.  If you choose these inks you should use a brush, dip pen or a technical pen or airbrush.  Acrylic inks are also great for stamping, screen printing, fabric printing and stencilling.

Read what art bloggers think about FW Acrylic Inks:

http://judyperez.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/you-have-got-to-try-these.html

 

Indian Ink

Black Indian ink is mostly used as a drawing ink.  Indian ink is generally produced using lampblack pigment combined with a gum binder and which becomes liquid when mixed with water.

Indian Ink got its name from the fact that the materials used to make it were originally sourced on the sub-continent, but you may also hear it referred to as Chinese ink, as that was the country where great use was originally made of it, around  3000 BC.  Indian Ink is most generally sold in liquid forms in bottles.  Indian ink is water resistant once dry.   Indian Ink can be used with technical pens, fountain pens, calligraphy pens, brushes, airbrushes and dip pens.

Indian Ink is generally much denser and blacker than many other pigment based black inks.  This makes it great for covering large areas and block black work, such as in comic book illustration.

Here’s an interesting tutorial for the ways that bleach can be used with Indian ink!

http://arteascuola.com/2012/04/leaves-printed-with-bleach

Let us break that down for you one more time:

 

DYE BASED INKS

  • Pure, vivid colour
  • Low lightfastness
  • Best for sketchbook/ folio work, not on permanent display (and exposed to light)
  • Water-resistant
  • Use on paper, Bristol or illustration board
  • Use with dip pens or brushes
  • DO NOT USE with fountain pens, dye particle size may cause clogging and damage nib.

ACRYLIC INKS

 

  • Pigment based
  • Fluid versatile colour
  • High lightfastness
  • Waterproof and permanent once dry
  • Can be mixed with acrylic paints and mediums
  • Use on paper, board, canvas, plastics, wood and ceramics
  • Use with brush, dip pen, technical pen or airbrush
  • Great for stamping, screen printing, stencilling and fabric painting.

 

INDIAN INK

  • Pigment based
  • Use when you want the blackest black ink
  • Use on paper, board and textured papers.
  • Use with technical pens, fountain pens, calligraphy pens, brushes, airbrushes and dip pens.

Happy inking everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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