Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Mixing De Atramentis Document Inks Updated January 2015


I am really enjoying working with the De Atramentis Document Black and Document Brown fountain pen inks. I have been gradually buying the other document colours as I find them in various shops in Sydney Australia, including Larrypost, Art Scene, Tilly's and Pen Ultimate, or from Gouletpens in the US. A couple of sample shipments from De Atramentis has enabled me to add Yellow and the thinning solutions, along with Red, Green and Dark Blue. See the full range - Yellow, Red, Magenta, Blue, Dark Blue, Cyan, Green, Brown and Black here.

A Document Grey is now available in some areas, though it appears much more a dark blue than a grey.  Burnt Sienna and White are in the pipeline.

To have a good range of lightfast, waterproof, fountain pen-friendly inks is one thing, but to then be able to inter-mix them is really exciting for an artist. I'm looking forward to experimenting with them as liquid watercolours. They rate the maximum 8 on the blue wool scale so should be fine in framed finished works. (Of course I'll do my own testing :-)

So I have been mixing them, and explored making a range of mixed colours measuring drop by drop. It's not perfect - how big is a drop? - but it gives a good idea of just some of the colours possible. All these colours are full strength. A thinning solution is also available. These are painted out in a Stillman & Birn Alpha A4 sketchbook.

Here is Document Blue mixed with Document Magenta in the ratio written below. Document blue is a lovely warm blue so the purples are clean and beautiful. August 2015 - a Document Violet has been added to the Document Range.



Here is Document Turquoise (Cyan is a more helpful name here) with Document Magenta. Notice how the colours overlap the mixes above so you can make your own document Blue hue, though the Document Blue ink is very nice and acts as a wonderful warm mixing blue.


My next mixes were with Document Turquoise (which will be called Cyan) and Document Brown. The cool blue creates lovely turquoise and green hues and a great olive green and cooler brown.









The next range with a warmer Document Blue creates a lovely deep blue, grey and warm Sepia and burnt umber browns when mixed with Document Brown. I am loving working with this mixed grey and have also used a slightly thinned version in a fountain pen :-)



And here is a range of deep red and maroon colours made with Document Magenta and Document Brown.









Here is Document Yellow mixed with Document Blue. I always love the more natural greens you can make with a warm blue.
Document Yellow mixed with Document Cyan will create much brigher greens.



Document Yellow mixed with Document Green makes ever warmer greens.

Document Yellow with Document Brown makes wonderful yellow ochre, raw sienna hues. You can see this combination in action in Liz Steel's sketches here.
And Document Yellow mixed with Document Magenta makes gorgeous oranges, reds and crimsons :-)










Here is Document Yellow mixed with Document Red.
All the colours can also be mixed with the Document Black for deeper shades. I've started playing with those mixes and you can see them here.

I then did some exploration of three colour mixes. I will add more on these as a separate post. These are quite deep and dark but rather interesting. The first were made with various ratios of Document Blue, Magenta and Brown.




The next were made with the same ratios using the cooler cyan, (Document Turquoise), Magenta and Brown.



For more on drawing with inks see Working in Ink here, or Sketchbook Pages Exploring Fountain Pen Inks here. For more on coloured inks see here. For Brown Inks comparisons see here.

22 comments:

  1. I love your color studies and am so glad friends turned me on to your blog!

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  2. This is fantastic! I got the document black and brown at your suggestion, but I love the idea of mixing the colors. I think it's time to order some ink samples!

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    1. Aren't they wonderful inks? I have been searching for a good brown waterproof fountain pen ink for so long! Being able to mix pretty much any colour will be terrific. I do especially love the mixes with the Document Blue and Document Magenta. And though the Brown was perhaps not intended as a mixer, I love what it does with the blues. I'm really looking forward to adding the Document Yellow to the mixes...

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  3. These are gorgeous samples of lovely colors! Thank you for sharing your experimenting with us here. I know I will want to be putting in an order for Document inks VERY SOON!

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    1. I had a lot of fun :-) They will be available as a special 4 colour CYMK mixing set eventually, in special square bottles (as well as individually of course).

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  4. Wow, Jane...this is wonderful. You've become my 'go to' source for things watercolor but now you've opened my eyes to some of the 'alternative' DeAtramentis inks. I love using the black and brown but your mixes with turquoise generate a brown that's "just right" for the quick sketching I do. Off to do some ordering. Thanks so much.

    Cheers --- Larry

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    1. Thank you Larry. I am tossing up whether to add gouache, coloured pencil and some of the many other art materials I use onto my website. At this stage I'll just discuss them on my Blog.

      I had the Black and Brown but it wasn't until I heard there would be a yellow that I took an interest in the Blue, 'fuchsia' and 'turquoise' inks as it hadn't occurred to me that they would be mixable. Those last two will be/have been renamed Magenta and Cyan and that makes it easier to realise their potential ;-) Playing the a Yellow, a warm and a cool red (Magenta and Red) and a warm and a cool blue Blue and Turquoise/Cyan) and a reduced orange (Brown) is all so familiar to me and really good fun with liquid inks and an eye dropper.
      I've started the mixes with each that I have and Black too. It takes very little black to make a change in the ink colour. I'll add my 'in progress' page. The Black and Brown make a lovely Sepia of course.

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  5. HI Jane I talked to dr J on ink names

    The Turquoise will be named Cyan and the Fuchsia Cyan.... For less confusion

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    1. Yes Peter I am glad Dr Jansen is making that change - it will make it so much clearer that there is a CYMK mixing set. Looking forward to adding the yellow!

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  6. Hello! I'd like to try mixing yellow and green. What ratio did you use?

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    1. Sorry it is very faint - 3:1, 1:1 and 1:3 in the three samples shown. I must update this image!

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  7. Hello Jane
    I am enjoying this ink discussion. You mention 'slightly thinned version in a fountain pen' when mixing the brown and blue. Why do I need to do this? I have been using the de A inks, [brown and black] for sometime in various fountain pens with great results. Do I need a thinning agent, what is it and where can it be purchased if necessary? Thank you for your great site.
    Louise

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    1. Louise the brown and blue ink will mix a very dark grey - effectively a black. I use the De Atramentis brand thinning solution to lighten it to a nice grey. The thinner is effectively ink without the pigment so will not affect the waterproof properties of the ink. It should be available where you buy the DA document inks - certainly from De Atramentis in Germany, Goulet Pens in the US and Larry Post in Australia. It's a pretty large bottle so will lost a long time.

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    2. Ahh, the thinner lightens the colour. Thank you Jane.

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  8. Hello Jane,
    I am a fountain pen enthusiast and while there are many inks availible I like the idea of making your own color to your own individual taste. Do you know if the De Atramentis Document inks are officially marketed as mixable inks by the company?

    Thanks,
    Ash

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    1. Yes they certainly are Ash. They have now added a white to the range to mix pastel inks too. The basic colours of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow will create a huge range, and were definitely intended as mixable inks, though I actually prefer the mixes with the Blue rather than the Cyan. The Blue is more like an ultramarine where the Cyan is more like a phthalo blue if you are a paint person. With those three Document inks, plus Black, White if you wish and the gorgeous Brown and some thinner you can mix away whatever colour ink you want and they will all be pigmented, lightfast and waterproof. Search this blog for the other mixing charts I have done.

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  9. I like to write with an extra-fine nib fountain pen (I have a handful of Platinum Preppy pens so I can have lots of colors on hand) and am wondering how well these inks flow in this type of pen.

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    1. I haven't tried the ink in a Preppy but others have successfully so I think it's worth giving it a go :-)

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    2. Hi dragon,
      I realise this was a year ago, but just thought I'd ask if you ever tried De Atramentis ink in a Platinum Preppy? How did it go? I'd also like a lot of colours on hand & didn't realise there was a refillable pen as cheap as the Preppy around, so I might like to try it. Thanks!

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    3. I actually haven't tried De Atramentis ink in a Platinum Preppy yet. I have only gotten 2 sample colors of this brand and didn't like either of them enough to load into a pen (I use a dip pen first to ascertain color and flow). My current favorites are from Diamine.

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