Ink – first steps

November 28th, 2018 / Illustrations Basics

It’s true that Inktober has been behind us for a long time, but on the occasion of recalling this intense drawing challenge, I thought it would be worthwhile to devote one post in the “first steps” series to the ink. Creating it gives me a lot of pleasure, so I am happy to share my insights on this medium with you. We will add some technical information to support the subjective feelings with knowledge. So let’s start.

Most probably of our ink is associated with notorious calligraphy. However, what is actually the ink? And is the ink the same as fountain pen ink? The answer to the first question is now. The second issue will be dealt with later.

Don’t be affraid of ink

The ink is a water-based pigment paint – a suspension – known in ancient times, produced from soot and a binder. It used to be mainly in black, today available in a much larger color palette. It also occurs in metallic colors thanks to the use of metal particles. After drying, it gives a matte effect (metal inks are an exception). As a binder, shellac or synthetic acrylic is used, however, it is the shellac that is most widely used due to its properties. By the way, let me just mention here that shellac is a binder of natural origin, and it’s a resin secreted by female lac bug.

Calligraphic Ink Turdus Concept

Usually, after drying, the ink is waterproof, but some types and colors can still be dissolved in water. Occurs in solid form – bars – especially associated with Chinese calligraphy, or in liquid form. The earliest mention of the use of ink comes from ancient Egypt and China. Everyone certainly associates Eastern Asian calligraphy, which is readily shown in almost every historical feature film. In Europe, ink appeared in the eighteenth century.

Due to its purpose and properties, the inks can be divided into two types: drawing ink and calligraphic ink. The first one, as I mentioned earlier, is usually waterproof. An exception to the rule is black ink drawing which is waterborne even after drying. For this reason, you have to be careful when combining techniques, for example with watercolor paints, because you can ruin all your work with one careless brush movement.

horse black ink Turdus Concept

The second type of ink mentioned is calligraphic ink. It is less transparent than inkjet ink and can therefore be used on paper other than white. Of course, we can dilute it with water to get brighter colors. After drying, it can still be dissolved in water.

One of the most recognizable ink-making companies is Winsor & Newton. I use it as well; I did my Inktober works using these inks. If you have not seen them yet, here you will find a link to my Instagram. I also encourage you to view the summaries of the challenge on YouTube, in which, in addition to speed-drawing, you will see all the work from the challenge.

Ink- how to use it

When it comes to the application method, we can apply ink using a pen with a nib, a brush or even an airbrush. I, in the occasion of Inktober, also used the Pentel Brush Pen, which has the form of a brush with a replaceable cartridge, so that we do not have to immerse it in the ink jar.

At this point I will return to the issue from the introduction, i.e. the difference between ink and fountain pen ink. Ink, unlike fountain pen ink, is an aqueous solution of a dye (not a suspension). Suitable for fountain pens and has a more uniform, light consistency. If instead of putting fountain pen ink into the ink pen, we can destroy it. Therefore, it is better to get acquainted with the purpose of a specific product.

Kasia's Inktober 2018 Turdus Concept

If you’re drawing ink, it’s worth getting a paper with a heavier weight. Due to the fact that the ink is a water technique, watercolor papers are ideally suited. As with other water-based paints, apply colors best from light to dark. Despite the better cover than, for example, watercolors, the inks are also transparent, which is why the possible brightening will be very difficult, and sometimes even impossible. Although there is a white ink, but the effect of its use may not necessarily appeal to you.

As in the case of watercolors, I encourage you to try and experiment and share your work and insights in the comments under this post or on Facebook. To read in a week!