Sunday, 14 December 2014

De Atramantis Inks - mixing document greys. Updated January 2015

I enjoy sketching in black, brown and grey inks. I may add a yellow ochre or raw sienna, but these generally satisfy most drawing subjects on location. I am using the De Atramentis Document Black and Brown and apparently there will be a grey, but for now I have made my own using the Blue and Brown inks. 
I wanted to see whether the Document Magenta and Document Green inks neutralise each other to produce a black, and therefore another grey option. They do - they make a rich black. I then thinned it down with the Document thinning solution and made a lovely range of lighter greys. The last has about 8 drops of thinning solution with less than a drop of ink!
  
The bottom mix shows the same process with the Document Brown and Document Blue inks. They made a very dark grey - almost as intense as the magenta and green - that thins down beautifully to a range of greys. 

This is a page from a sketchbook exploring Document Red and looking for Burnt Sienna, Indian red and grey hues. 

In the first line you can see Indian Red and some great greens.

In the second row there is another Indian Red option with Document Blue

You can see another grey option on the third row with Document Red and Cyan. It is then thinned out with ink thinner.


The lower rows are also explored elsewhere. So many colour options!

I'll explore raw sienna and yellow ochre mixes next. I'll also thin the black and see what it looks like as a grey. The options with these inks are endless!

9 comments:

  1. all this mixing of inks makes me what to go buy a fountain pen finally and make my favorite payne's grey (blue shade). I love that color and would love it as a document ink!

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    1. Working with a grey ink is really nice - it's softer than black. Payne's grey is usually made with phthalo blue, quin violet and black so you could make it with Cyan, Magenta and Black inks I guess. I always prefer to make greys without black - as above.

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  2. Great, Jane! Where do you get the thinning solution? Could you just use distilled water, do you suppose?

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    1. I got the thinning solution directly from Dr Jansen of De Atramentis. It is literally 'ink without the pigment' so it will function in a pen just as the ink from the bottles will. I have used a little water to dilute the inks for testing in a painting with a brush and that is fine, but in a pen I'd suggest that the thinning solution would be required to maintain the waterproof properties that are so valuable to me.

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  3. You have convinced me to switch to De Atramentis, as soon as I can. Currently I have a full range of Noodlers Polar and Eel inks (Brown, Black, Green, Red Fox). I know you are not supposed to mix them with other inks. Do you think I could try, or is that a crazy idea? I would like to use them up before starting in on De Atramentis in my fountain pens.

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  4. I often try crazy ideas and discover they work. Do you mean intermixing the Noodlers inks? Or mixing brands? You risk perhaps blocking a pen and needing to clean it out, or losing the ink properties, such as 'waterproof-ness', by mixing brands or different types but most inks are not as potentially 'clogging' as the ones you are using. If you give it a go in the pen you use often you'll see how it goes but perhaps don't leave it in a pen that is not getting used much...

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    1. Thank you so much for replying to this. I was considering mixing brands. I continue to find all you have put up online so helpful!

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  5. I suppose you could make a grey ink by diluting the black. You say that you prefer to make greys without using black: is there a specific reason? Are greys made without black different to those made with it. And could you recommend color combinations that you can use to make greys?

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    1. Black pigments don't reflect any light so in watercolour I prefer to mix a black by neutralising one colour with another rather than using a black that can create a dull spot in the painting. With inks I am less concerned as working in black line is not the same as washing large areas of black watercolour - and it's possible the black is actually already a mixture of other pigments - but to dilute the black ink enough for it to be a grey may change the quality of the ink. So I choose once again to mix a blue and brown ink to make a grey. My favourite grey mixes are based around a warm blue + an orange - whether the orange is a burnt sienna, a brown or whatever. You can also make a range of greys with a red and a green - crimson + phthalo green, but I prefer the other.

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