Traveling with ink

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  1. #1
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    Traveling with ink

    I'm a huge fan of my dip nibs - I use them almost exclusively for my line art (plug: I drew about 98% of my graphic novel with my #102 crow). Problem is - I'm about to hit the road for the better part of a year and I'm trying to figure out a decent alternative to dragging around and using a leaky bottle of ink, sponges, etc while riding trains in China and Central Asia. And for those more sedentary times, I'm the kind of person who "deploys" - I array all my stuff in a way that's really irritating to move. Usually that means leaving a sketchbook and pencils, etc around, but with ink, it means the nibs, paper towels, sponges, ink well, scratch paper, water, etc. Not very mobile.

    I like the ability to produce both strong, fine lines and broad strokes and the rigidity of the metal. I started fiddling with a brush pen which, although beautiful, produces really thick, broad strokes or finicky thin lines because the brush tip is wussy compared to a nib (duh). My Copics have no line variance, obviously.

    The only other compact and travel friendly thing I can think of trying next is a fountain pen, but something tells me that won't work out as I'd like either - any suggestions?

    Last edited by karmiclychee; April 1st, 2009 at 10:42 PM. Reason: ...freaking no HTML...
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  3. #2
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    I bought myself an antique inkwell travel kit from the 20s i think on Ebay for about 30 bucks. Best investment i've ever made, that thing has been with me all over south and central America with nary a drop spilled during travel.

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  5. #3
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    Travel ink box you say?

    Intriguing, I must look into this...

    MY SKETCHBOOK IS AWESOME
    karmiclychee.net

    EAT EARTH, DIG DEEP, DRINK WATER, GO TO SLEEP, YOU SHOULD NOT BE WAKING.
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    Aaa. Just don't do what I did...I bought a new backpack and was on a plane to France and I opened the bag and found my ink well had leaked all over the bag

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    Yep... would like to avoid that - I had a similar experience with a bottle of ink that traveled at a 90 degree angle in my art bin. Similiarily, a used water-rinse dish that I accidentally punched across the room and all over the opposite wall.

    That was a bad night. Did you know the only thing that gets India Ink off of wall paint is toilet bowl cleaner?

    MY SKETCHBOOK IS AWESOME
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    EAT EARTH, DIG DEEP, DRINK WATER, GO TO SLEEP, YOU SHOULD NOT BE WAKING.
    Peepul: Tulokyn :: Nakhon :: Deadlyhazard :: raminafshafari
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    Koh-i-Noor Rapidographs, maybe? They're refillable, so you wouldn't be dragging ink bottles around, and I'm pretty sure they have metal nibs.

    I haven't used them much myself, but I have heard very good things about them: http://www.dickblick.com/products/ko...idograph-pens/

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  9. #7
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    rapid-o-graphs are good but they need A LOT of maintenance, I don't know if they would be good for on the go travel and don't offer any line variety.

    you can ruin an expensive pen with carelessness. I inherited a lot of them from my father who used to be an engineer.

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    Rapidographs will not travel well... and they have zero line variation. If you can deal with no line variation as the lesser of 2 evils, take a supply of art-pens like Micron or Pitt.

    I've traveled a lot with ink bottles and never had one open up on me... maybe I'm just dumb lucky though.

    The only thing I can think of that has both good line variation and no-spill is a brush-pen... hmmm... my old figure drawing professor used to collect antique fountain pens to draw with. Many antique pens use a dip-pen-style nib that's more flexible than the modern, knobby, writing nib. He got BEAUTIFUL ink line variation with some of those pens. The down-side is using fount ink.

    You can also make a kind of traveling holder for ink bottles. Take a thick piece if styrofoam or floral foam and cut it to fit in the bottom of a bag or art bin. Then cut circles into the foam which will snugly fit your ink bottles. This'll at least keep them from tipping.

    "Change is a virtue my friend... if you want to escape, all you have to do is make up your mind."
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  11. #9
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    Going the antique route looks like it'd be pretty hit or miss. eBay being my only source, it's hard to tell what's still in working order. Can't seem to find a travel box that won't run me over 300 bucks... antiques being what they are and all.

    About the Rapidographs - the line variance is the real important issue. Not to mention that each pen is like 30 bucks. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

    I might just try to make my own travel box, actually, with built in sponge and crap. I suspect the best alternative to dip nibs is the brush pen...

    ...maybe i can make my own pen...

    MY SKETCHBOOK IS AWESOME
    karmiclychee.net

    EAT EARTH, DIG DEEP, DRINK WATER, GO TO SLEEP, YOU SHOULD NOT BE WAKING.
    Peepul: Tulokyn :: Nakhon :: Deadlyhazard :: raminafshafari
    :: Mr. Magic
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  12. #10
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    Keep the ink in sealed ziplock bags and those within a Tupperware/Rubbermaid container -- should prevent leaks while within things like backbacks. It'll slow down the set up phase by a few minutes, but I don't see that being too great a problem and they don't add much weight.

    ~Richard

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  13. #11
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    I have learned to get the ink in glass bottles. For some reason Higgins uses cheap shitty plastic bottles that are guarantied to leek. Unfortunately that is the most popular brand.

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    i use a small plastic coke bottle to carry ink and water, and the opposite side of the sketchbook as a scratchpad

    (plus a filmroll container for dipping)

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  15. #13
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    I've heard good things about Esterbrook fountain pens.
    They're old school though, so they can get pricey and are a little hard to find.
    Never tried one, but as a nib fanatic myself, they seem pretty close to the real thing.

    Traveling with ink

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  16. #14
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    For some reason Higgins uses cheap shitty plastic bottles that are guarantied to leek. Unfortunately that is the most popular brand.
    My advice is stay away from Higgins completely... it's weak and watery compared to 'real' india inks. Windsor/Newton, PH Martin, or FW are my recommendations. W/N and PH Martin come in good glass bottles and I've never had a problem with leaking. Ziploc baggies are a good idea too.

    "Change is a virtue my friend... if you want to escape, all you have to do is make up your mind."
    John Cale / Bob Neuwirth


    Here be SKETCHIES...

    www.ccthrom.com
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  17. #15
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    I only took once my bottle with ink with me and carried it in a small closed plastic bag (I think a small zipper bag is also fine). It did'nt leak, except after a week when I picked it up again a bit of ink dripped out of it.

    That was also the last time, I rather use Rotring or the Sakura pen brush from Pentel when going somewhere. Just too much of a hassle to carry around and the risk of leaking.

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