what ink do you use?
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    what ink do you use?

    i am curious as to what brand of ink everyone uses. i did a few searches and found answers from a select few, but it does not entail the sort of specifics i am curious about.

    i need a black ink, which will be used to fill pens and brushes. it must be black, more black than satan's anus in an underground cave on a moonless night.

    i recently ran out of Staedtler Mars matic paper 745 ink, and purchased a bottle of Higgins Eternal Permanent Black Ink by Sanford.

    Higgins ink is pure shit. it is washed out violet and is nowhere near black, the only thing permanent about it is the pathetic quality. the wrath i feel at this moment as i stare at a faded purple-gray ink drawing i just did is intense, and i owe this fury to Higgins and their awful awful product which should not exist. whats worse is that i can't even use it as a ink wash with brushes because of the pigment used in the ink only gets more purple as you add water. its worse than Copic markers and their so-called 'black'.

    Copic markers have a golden oily snot-shine to their black ink which is borderline vomit inducing, if you use it over dried acrylic be prepared for a mirror finish of glowing ugliness. but markers are another topic, i digress.

    rapidograph black india ultradraw ink was alright, it looks fine when it is wet, but as it dries on paper it dries several degrees lighter and loses some impact. instead of gray the bottle i had when dilluted had a sepia hue to it.

    i also remember being none to impressed with black cat india ink and it immediately fading as it is absorbed into paper, but i can't say i was paying good attention to it last time i used it several years back.

    my love of staedtler mars matic 745 ink is unparalleled. i can only find it online, and would have to wait several weeks until it arrives, so i need something to work with to pass the time.

    drop a line about your experiences with ink types, be specific as possible. i'm finding the more i try out different inks the more picky and angered i become, i'd appreciate it if i could save some money by not buying low grade products marketed as professional quality.

    thanks in advance.

    Last edited by Grief; May 15th, 2009 at 08:58 PM.
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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Dr. Ph Martin's Black Star Matte is really thick and ultra black. So much so that it often doesn't flow well. Dr. Martin's Bombay Black India Ink is actually better in some ways. But a little ammonia (kept in a plastic bottle with an easily unscrewable, yet sealed tight, top on it) should be enough to not only get the black star flowing just as you like, but also is a fantastic way to nearly instantly clean ink off your brush. (Then rinse off the ammonia in your water bowl.) I haven't tried ammonia for washes yet. (Staedtler and Higgins are crap, imho)

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    Have you tried calligraphic ink? I haven't yet. but I imagine it would be pretty dense.

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    Speedball Super Black India Ink

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    I used to like Higgins Black Magic, but it's been over twenty years since I did much ink work. I remember when they switched to those horrid, tippy plastic bottles.

    Last edited by Elwell; May 16th, 2009 at 12:10 AM.

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    I use the rapidiograph ink for most of my work, though I did start using ink I bought when I bought my sumi-brushes. The brand is Yasutomo. It was cheap enough, and so far I've been pretty pleased with it.

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    Not really much of an ink connoisseur as it tends to be frustrating to use with my favorite paper but... I have used Martins Bombay black, which as far as I remember is a rich warmer black that dilutes to a brownish tint.

    Generally if I'm going to work only in ink I've gotten more into using sumi ink sticks. Nice tonal range, really soothing to grind out the ink, and a really pleasant scent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig D View Post
    Speedball Super Black India Ink
    Gonna second that recommendation, it's truly quality stuff. Flows nicely, jet black, and waterproof. Other inks I've tried are Higgin's (crap, as you said... and the smell of their waterproof brand gags me) and Windsor & Newton (another good ink, but it had a glossy finish which I didn't care much for).

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    i LOVE ink. So much so that I make my own special blend in the studio. My ink is a combination of 2-parts speedball to 2 parts sumi-e ink and 1 part windsor newton ink. Makes for an ink that lays on JUST how I want it too.

    I'm using a cotton vellum btw which takes ink BEAUTIFULLY, it just kinda floats there on the page.

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    My first choice after many years of use is Pelikan Drawing Ink "A" (aka Encre de Chine.) Once you go Pelikan you'll never go back. A close second is Speedball Super Black. If neither of those two were available, Dr Martin's Black Star.

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    Not much of an ink connoisseur...I am not that finicky when it comes to ink. I use either Bombay and Higgins. They both seem to work pretty good although Bombay is more darker and I hate Higgins cheap plastic bottle. I no longer dip my brushes or pens into the bottle and instead use little plastic trays with small wells (sort of like cocktail ice cube trays). I also got some various brands of colored inks...will be trying them out soon.

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    Speedball Super Black. I actually just recently bought a huge bottle of it rather than risk running out and having to settle for Higgins. Rivkah (comic/manga artist) tried out different inks and posted her findings in her LJ, let me dig that up for you. It's quite comprehensive, and I found it really helpful. Though I still prefer Speedball. Keep in mind I don't do any brushwork, though, so if that's what you're looking to do I'm not sure if it would pass muster. Great for nib pen work though.

    Rivkah!

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    Uh I guess the forum bugged out, sorry for doublepost.

    Last edited by idoru; May 16th, 2009 at 12:44 PM. Reason: doublepost
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    To begin with, I feel your pain. Others have already given a pretty comprehensive discussion of inks to try.

    Based on what I have read, I am offering something never-ever to try. Those so-called colored inks are basically dye with a sackload of shellac mixed in water. You have to have major patience to put up with them and it looks like you are all out of patience. There will be all these colorful curds of nasty stuff on your pens that you must wash off if you want to use your pen again. Ick. They are all slick on top when they dry so if you go over them with another color it blooms out across the area that had already dried.

    Have you thought about just using charcoal? It looks like you want to get ever more subtle in values without departing from what one would call black. Willow charcoal is not too bad for that. (I know, I know. It doesn't image well for the internet and you need a truckload of fixative to keep it nice for long).

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    Oh another thing to consider is, do you let your inks condense? Sometimes it helps a too-thin ink if you leave it open for a period of time and let it dry out a little. (I don't usually do this because I find it a hassle, but I know other people who swear by it.)

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    My current favs at the moment:

    Rapidograph Black India Universal Ink &
    Rapidograph by Koh-I-Noor Technical Pen COMBO

    Prismacolor Fine Marker

    Faber-Castell Brush Tip Inking Pen

    see pic attached

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    Quote Originally Posted by strings View Post
    My current favs at the moment:

    Rapidograph Black India Universal Ink &
    Rapidograph by Koh-I-Noor Technical Pen COMBO

    Prismacolor Fine Marker

    Faber-Castell Brush Tip Inking Pen

    see pic attached
    That's the same for me right now. I'm loving the rapidograph India ink and the lines are very dark and crisp. They scan really well, too. The Prismacolor Fine Markers also serve me better than Sakura Microns when I used to use them. I also find Winsor & Newton's Indian Ink to be great. I'm not too fond of Speedball's ink, primarily because it gets sticky fast on my nibs.

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    Adding some more info...
    "Ink," even "black ink," hell, even "india ink" can mean several different things.
    First of all, inks are either dye or pigment based. Most ink that's sold as being able to be used in a fountain pen (or specifically as "non-clogging"), as well as most marker inks, will be dye based. They'll usually have a purple, blue, or green cast, especially when diluted, and may fade (and take on a pronounced color cast) with age and/or light exposure.
    Black pigmented inks are almost all made from carbon (lampblack), and come in waterproof and non-waterproof forms. Non-waterproof ink is traditionally bound with animal glues. Waterproof inks are bound with either shellac or acrylic.


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    ...and if at all possible, you should never--NEVER--use a dye-based ink for anything that you would want to keep as a piece of art or to exhibit. It's fine if you're going to scan it and continue to work on the comp, but the original drawing is not stable, no matter what you do to save it. Use only pigmented inks for keeping/showing work.

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    I technically use Copic multiliner pens & Microns...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig D View Post
    Speedball Super Black India Ink
    I love that ink! I was getting frustrated with Koh-i-Noor sometimes because if I wasn't careful enough, it would give off this weird glare that I didn't like. So far I haven't had the need to change from Speedball whenever I do traditional inking.

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    I mostly stick with pigment inks for brush or nib... carbon and binder, pretty archival and impervious once it dries. Fountain/tech pen inks are almost always dye based and somewhat suspect.

    As noted, Higgins is crap!
    I'm personally not real impressed with Speedball or Osmiroid inks.
    Some tech pen inks work very well, but it's been a long time and I don't remember brand names.

    I'd recommend...
    PH Martins Black Star
    PH Martins Bombay Black
    Windsor/Newtons India
    FW Acrylic

    And if you're really interested in this medium, get yourself a copy of JA Smith's "The Pen and Ink Book"!!

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    The ink that strings has pictured is the one I used to use. I never thinned it, so I have no idea what kind of color shift may result if you do, but it seemed fairly opaque and black. The bottle is tiny, which isn't great for big projects, but was perfect for having in a bag for doing art on the go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    The ink that strings has pictured is the one I used to use. I never thinned it, so I have no idea what kind of color shift may result if you do, but it seemed fairly opaque and black. The bottle is tiny, which isn't great for big projects, but was perfect for having in a bag for doing art on the go.
    It dilutes brownish. I've also had one of those little bottles leak, and ruin half of the stuff in my art case, so I refuse to carry them anymore. Maybe I was just unlucky though.

    In any case...

    rapido-eze will take most inks off of non-absorbent surfaces, and is the easiest way to clean up my plastic palettes once ink has dried on them. (Or at least, easier that chipping/scrubbing it off).

    Last edited by Aphotic Phoenix; May 18th, 2009 at 08:59 PM.
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    The best ink I've used is Windsor & Newton's and Talens Indian Ink.

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    Pelikan and Windsor & Newton were the best I got to try but still they both brown and fade slightly with time, if they are exposed to light. Unlike some types of black ballpoint pen ink who seem to last forever.

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    I recommend Dr. Martin's Black Star matte. It's waterproof, but doesn't dry with any shine and it thins out into nice neutral grey tones.


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    I used to use FW Acrylic ink, after it was recommended to me. That stuff is blacker than black, makes other ink look gray by comparison, which I love. It also never ever erases when you go to erase pencils after inking.

    However, beware of trying to put white FW ink over black FW lines, the white crackles when it dries on top of it for some reason. Also, I discovered a few years later that since the ink is slightly shiny and slightly sticky when dried, if you stack multiple inked pages, then go to pull them apart again after a while, the dang ink sticks to the back of the next page and can actually pull bits off your original.

    At some point I switched to Speedball Super Black Pigmented Acrylic Ink. This stuff is also really black, has a matte finish instead of FW's shine and is therefore not sticky. It doesn't pick up with an eraser either.

    (Btw I use deleter nibs, not brush, so I can't tell you what these do to brushes or technical pens.)

    The only problem I'm having is that all the stores seem to have stopped carrying it. I went to order some online and they sent me Speedball Calligraphy ink! Does anyone know if this is the same stuff, or at least works the same? The bottles say nothing about being acrylic...

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    You have all these different sumi inks over here, with bigger or more subtle varieties in tone and texture. Then there's this crazy amount of ink stones with which I eventually would love to build my own house.
    You also have of course the drawing inks mostly used for comics and manga - of which this one is one of the more popular ones. Often when I'm in the store picking some supplies up, you see a lot of dudes go for this one and buy it in bulk.. I don't know if that says anything but there you go.

    edit - I just bought it because it looked so tasty, but I personally really like the colour when you water it down and it goes well with pen or brush.. Or at least on mine..

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    ink
    FOR DRAWING USE


    I guess it's a good thing they clarified that, since it looks like a soda bottle.


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