Sunday 12 October 2014

Working in Ink

I have always loved ink. Indian ink with a dip pen. Rapidograph pens. Calligraphy Pens. Chinese ink with pen or with lovely Chinese brushes. Fountain pens. Felt tip pens. Love them.

Here are some ink sketches done over many years.

Dried Strelitzia, Indian Ink. 1987

Left is a pen and ink drawing in Indian ink with a 'post office' nib of a dried strelitzia - a favourite subject since I was 16 and drew it in minute detail with rapidograph pens. This is a much looser sketch exploring the lines with a bit more freedon in the wash

Flax Flowers. Ink and wash. 1981.

Right is a drawing with rapidograph pens and watercolour wash. The pens came in a set with a good range of sizes but took an awful lot of cleaning out to keep them working properly.

Garlic. Chinese ink. 1987

Left is a study of garlic done in Chinese stick ink, ground on an ink stone, with a brush. The range of greys and black possible with Chinese ink sticks are wonderful. They tend to brush onto the paper very smoothly too.

Ayers Rock, watercolour and Indian Ink. 1986?

Right is a sketch done on location at Ularu using watercolour and Indian Ink that creates crazy blooms in the wet watercolour.

Queen Victoria above the Post Office building 1984?

Left is a sketch done in Martin Place with a fountain pen with a sketch nib.

Rhinoceros Beetle pen and ink. 2013
Above is a traditional drawing using a fountain pen with black ink and added watercolour. This was done with a Sailor 1911 with and Extra Fine nib.

Working with brown or grey ink is something I have been exploring for a couple of years - with mixed success. Some subjects suit a line that isn't black.

Cockatoo Island machine. Micron pen and wash 2014

Left is a pen and wash drawing done using brown felt tip pen - a Sakura Micron 01. There is also some grey Copic pen work in this sketch.

Rookwood cemetary, ink and wash

Right is a study at Rookwood cemetary. I used a water soluble ink for the wrought Iron work but the colours that exploded were too pink to be realistic or desirable.

Saxophone study, pen and watercolour wash 2014

Left is a drawing with De Atramentis Document Black ink in a Flexible fountain pen - a Pilot Falcon with an Extra Fine nib. This is great ink and totally waterproof so I am really enjoying working with it in a number of my fountain pens.

A machine at Cockatoo Island,
Brown ink and wash 2014

And finally I received the Brown De Atramentis Document Ink I have been waiting for. It's a lovely burnt umber colour and once again, totally waterproof. I drew the machine on the right in the brown ink using the Pilot Falcon fountain pen and added watercolour.

Now I just need a waterproof grey ink, and perhaps Burnt Sienna........


  1. These are all beautiful drawings using many different pens and inks. I loved my Rapidographs and sent many in for a rebuild back in the day! Pretty much gave up on ink drawing except for dip pens, and then discovered the wonderful fountain pens of today, TWISBI, Lamy and so many more. And the inks are so varied, things just keep getting better for us who love line and wash. Your posts are fantastic, thank you. Jody

    1. Thank you Jody. I think these days the waterproof felt tip pens are a much simpler option than the rapidographs, and they create lines that are nearly as fine. I like the fact that if you fork out for the Copic ones you can refill them and even replace the tips if necessary. I do love fountain pens though with their many and varied nibs, and the fact that they are not disposable :-)

  2. Hi Jane
    The Noodler's Lexington Grey is a lovely, completely waterproof grey ink that I use all the time, with a watercolour wash over it. It is quite dark.

  3. The any author or writer always requires a writing skills so they always use fountain or ink pen that will never make their handwriting feel dull.
    Read more