Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Working Sketchbook pages - Fountain Pen and Drawing Inks

I have many pages in my sketchbooks that I use to explore different materials or mediums.

They are not finished sketches but exploratory tests. Some may be useful to others.

This are a series of test sheets in Stillman & Birn Alpha landscape sketchbooks - my favourite for this sort of exploration. I love using a fountain pen to write and draw. I use a number of Lamy pens (as well as a number of other brands) and have had problems with damage apparently caused by Noodlers ink. So I started a search last year for a waterproof black ink.

The German made and highly respected De Atramentis have a huge range of inks. In their Document range they have Document Black, Blue and Dark Blue, Red, Fuschia (Magenta), Turquoise (Cyan), Green and now Brown (update also violet, yellow, and fog blue-grey) that are waterproof once dry. They also have an Archival Black that has been tested under more stringent tests but appears the same as the Document ink. I have used both of these black inks in my Lamy Joy, Safari and Al-Star pens and they are wonderful. They are also excellent in a Sailor EF and a Namiki/Pilot Falcon EF soft (see a gorgeous video of a custom Namiki Falcon here.)  The Document Brown is wonderful - many brown inks are variations of reds and oranges rather than a true sepia or burnt umber brown like this ink - see Noodlers 'Singapore Sepia' below - which is maroon. You can see all the tests and mixes I have done if you do a search for De Atramentis in my blog.

I also wanted non waterproof inks for the Lamy pens as it can be rather nice to draw with a fountain pen then wash watercolour over and soften the lines. You just need to know before you start whether the ink is permanent or not. While I haven't yet found the perfect waterproof brown, I rather like the non waterproof De Atramentis Ochre Yellow and Terra Di Sienna. The Ochre Yellow actually looks more yellow/orange than this image and the Terra Di Sienna a little less red. (Update - I find Document Brown to be the perfect waterproof brown fountain pen ink :-) Mixed with Document Blue and some thinner, it creates the perfect grey too)

Fountain pen ink tests De Atramentis and Noodlers
Below are the De Atramentis Fog Grey and Ochre Yellow so you can see them in more detail. I use these for drawing with in my Lamy pens. The grey is lovely to write with too but they are certainly not waterproof. The colour is still a bit bright for the Ochre Yellow but you can see it is not at all 'yellow' - much more of an orange.

De Atramentis Fog Grey and Ochre Yellow fountain pen inks

 This page is testing the De Atramentis Archive ink in a Shaeffer pen. Dry after a minute.

This is Sailor ink - a lovely Nano ink that is almost waterproof if you use a very fine pen such as the Sailor with the EF nib.

In the Sailor EF the ink is applied very thinly so is more waterproof. De Atramentis is the most reliable though if completely waterproof is needed.

This next page is testing some Higgins inks with dip pens, which I also like to use. These proved not to be waterproof, which can have its uses. :-)

Below are some more explorations with Higgins Fountain pen India ink - non waterproof - and De Atramentis Fog Grey. I was testing them out for drawing -  looking for an ink that could be softened with a wash.