A Pot of Black Ink and An Idea

First Experimental Drawing Using A Dip Fountain Pen- and I LOVE it.

I have been doing a lot of ink work the last year. It all started when I was making the colouring book, which is all black outlines, then after I made that I started breaking up the lines and working with a stippling effect which I found made everything look so much more intricate and sophisticated.

Stippling takes a lot of time and attention to detail. I have been working my way through mounds of black pens which I have been buying from Cass Art. The pens have been all different widths and brands. I have found that with the pens you are limited to how black you can make the ink and marker pens only lets out a certain depth of black restricting you from getting anything really deep shiny black. 

The marker pens will also only go to a certain width, there is a point where I would like to make the line thiner which the pen will not allow me to do. To solve this I was using pens which were nearly run out so that they would make a super fine line, but the line was faded, not a deep black so this was not ideal. 

I bought a calligraphy starter pack from Cass Art which was about 12 pounds. I have never used a calligraphy set before so I wanted to try a range of nibs to experiment with before investing in a professional kit. I also bought a pot of Winsor & Newton black Indian ink. 

I had read in a blog to clean all your nibs first to remove the manufacturers oil from them. It is also really important to always keep your nibs clean so that the ink can run smoothly down the nib. I made sure that there was a glass of water and some tissue to constantly clean as I was using. I did find that the nibs clump up easily and affecting the flow of the ink.

I had a play on a spare piece of paper and tried a few different nibs to see how they were working. I then selected the finest nib which is labeled the mapping nib. I had sketched out the horse loosely on some smooth watercolour paper- I used smooth as I find that anything with a texture stops you from getting really fine detail. After dipping the pen in the ink I made sure that there was no excess. One thing which I have learnt is that the ink is very temperamental and you have to keep your eye on it as it can drip at any time.

Dipping Indian ink with a fountain pen allows you to get really fine detail in a very deep black. The Indian ink also dries with a beautiful glaze which you do not get with marker pens. The ink lasts for quite a while before you have to dip again but do keep your eye out for ink running down the back of the nib and dripping onto the drawing as this happened a coupled of times.

As I was making an appaloosa horse, the drawing was quite forgiving with ink splashes. I did keep forgetting that I had the pen in my hand and I would talk to someone and wave my hand around and throw ink everywhere, I had to remind myself to keep putting the pen down before moving around. 

I did fall in love with using it though, it just does not really compare with using a black marker pen, the line quality is lovely, you can achieve the really deep black quality. It also dries beautifully. I was primarily using this for shading but next on my list is to experiment with drawing and writing with it.

Caroline