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Tools & Supplies / Re: Best nibs for bad paper
« Last post by Starlee on June 22, 2018, 07:14:28 PM »
I second @AAAndrew ís thoughts on laser printer paper. I love some brands as much as Rhodia. I buy mine at a local art store for just under $10 CAD for 500 sheets, but I didn't write the names down. I buy whatever the store stocks as they all perform consistently well, although some better than others.
 
I am also curious about what exactly makes the paper Ďbadí. What do you not like?

Is it catchy? You could try gently sanding it with a pumice stone; or go the other way, and smoothen it with a skipping stone (smooth and flat...much like Spencer's favourite!). Please note, I am wild guessing here. These things might make it worse, but worth trying.

Does it bleed? Try different inks. For me, gouache or Zillerís ink overcomes this issue when sumi bleeds.  I havenít searched, but I think there are also art fixatives or even hair spray that might help; but, I am wild guessing again.

On a final note, you could just learn to live with it, if it bleeds. If it is catchy, you could also turn this into an opportunity. Jack White of the White Stripes once said he purposely did things the hard way. Faster learning curse as you have no choice but to learn a feather touch. Master it on this paper and any other paper will be a breeze!
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Best nibs for bad paper
« Last post by AAAndrew on June 22, 2018, 12:51:02 PM »
What are you trying to do on the bad paper? And what ink are you using? It's a combination of all three that determines whether it works or not.

And you don't have to spend a lot of money on paper. 25% cotton laser printer paper seems to work quite well with pretty much anything I throw at it. A bit more expensive than the recycled-napkins-printer-paper that is the cheapest, but still rather inexpensive.
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Best nibs for bad paper
« Last post by AmyNeub on June 22, 2018, 09:34:36 AM »
I would suggest a Nikko G. It's not as sharp of a nib. I hope that helps. Good luck.
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Tools & Supplies / Best nibs for bad paper
« Last post by RD5 on June 22, 2018, 07:53:33 AM »
I realized most of the pen reviews out there are tested on good to high quality paper. As I have bad paper, and don't want to shell out for more paper. I wonder, what nibs work best with bad paper? Any tips or suggestions?
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Sumi Ink
« Last post by RD5 on June 22, 2018, 07:50:06 AM »
That is a nice picture.

I did find some information on how the sticks are made. It is a time consuming process that includes kneading soot and animal glue together. No wonder they are quite expensive. I also got the impression that the liquid inks are not made from a ground stick, but by varying processes resulting in the varying inks.

I know W&N has an India Ink made from a traditional recipe that seems like it could use animal glue as a binder, meaning it could be identical to a sumi ink that uses lamp black and animal glue. So despite the various reviews online that treat Indian ink and Sumi as two definite and distinct things, that doesn't seem to be the case.
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Open Flourish | General Discussion / Early sources of steel pen history
« Last post by AAAndrew on June 21, 2018, 09:35:16 PM »
I have a new post up at my site where I've listed the few early sources that discuss the early steel pen trade. (pretty much only the British pen trade)

https://thesteelpen.com/research-resources-histories/

if you've read any contemporary accounts of the history of dip pens, you'll recognize some of these stories and see the sources for these stories.

I also read these stories, but then started finding primary sources like advertisements in contemporary newspapers that hinted at a much richer history than the pat narratives told in so many sources. (No, Gillott did not invent the steel pen in 1830's, nor did Perry in the 1820's, and definitely not Esterbrook in 1858)

These histories have been both very informative, and very frustrating in their glib simplification of a very interesting history. And none of them really address the American side of the story. That's why I began looking for the "rest of the story" and started to write my own history.
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Sumi Ink
« Last post by AAAndrew on June 21, 2018, 10:15:49 AM »
For those who cared a great deal about their ink sticks, it did matter which plants were burned to create the soot that went into the ink. Certain pine trees were favored, over just normal wood or whatever.

I put this in past tense though there are some who do still care a great deal. Top quality ink sticks can go for quite a lot of money. Of course an ink stick will last for a long time.

Here's one of my favorite ink and paper paintings. It's by the Chinese painter Liang Kai and probably painted in the late 12th-century. The subject is the famous poet Li Bai (aka Li Bo). Liang Kai was famous for his ink "sketches" where the minimum lines were used to indicate his subjects.

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Tools & Supplies / Re: Sumi Ink
« Last post by RD5 on June 21, 2018, 09:47:55 AM »
If you buy from calligraphy supply stores such as scribblers, John Neal or Paper and ink arts, sumi is traditional sumi ink and india ink is waterproof thing containing shellac. India ink they sell is usually W&N india ink and is waterproof (and horrible to use for pointed pen calligraphy). I got some sumi on ebay from random seller, it had japanese text on it and it is very similar to the sumi I got from scribblers.

All in all, I don't think it is possible to answer your question. It will greatly depend on where you buy and from whom. But if you stick to reputable sellers, Sumi will be sooth, water and binder and india ink will be shellac.

As to functional difference, someone else will have to answer that. The only thing I can think of is that it is not acidic which makes it archival. It is cheap and easy to use which makes it more beginner friendly than grinding your own from ink stick.

That this is no answer, is an answer, but I am not sure what you are saying holds up. First, I think you misunderstand that Shellac is a binder. Second,  John Neal's describes many of their Sumi inks as waterproof and some as eating nibs, suggesting they are acidic and  possibly even iron gull ink.

So the only conclusion I can draw from that, is as you said, it depends on the brand, more than if it is indian or sumi ink.

This was actually very helpful,  because I was thinking of buying some cheap sumi ink.

It is also interesting that while Indian ink is said to be traditionally made with lamp black, some brands of sumi state which plants were burned to produce the soot. I wonder if that makes a difference.
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Sumi Ink
« Last post by AAAndrew on June 21, 2018, 09:01:34 AM »
Sumi-e is the Japanese term for traditional black ink painting, usually on paper or silk. Traditionally, you would use your Four Treasures: ink stick, ink stone, brush and paper, to paint. The ink stick was traditionally made with lamp black (carbon) bound with pine resin and other elements. As you round the stick on the stone with some water, it would make the ink with which you painted. This tradition began in China and spread around East Asia, including Japan.

The same materials were used for traditional calligraphy. Ink from a good ink stick, when applied to paper, was completely waterproof. Years ago when I took a Chinese painting class, the teacher demonstrated this by taking a piece of cheap newsprint, which is what we used to paint our practice pictures, immediately after the last stroke, wadded it up, and shoved it into a container of water. Two days later when we returned for the next class, the paper smoothed out and not a bit of ink was gone. It's also extremely light-fast.

Liquid Sumi ink is used to replace the ink created by grinding the ink. Generally, it was seen as good for practicing, but a serious artist would grind their own ink. The grinding itself is seen as part of the preparation for executing the work, and a skilled person can achieve all kinds of variations in ink by changing water and ink amounts, dipping the brush in the "sea" or on the "land". (the indented portion where liquid water or ink would be kept, and the higher part of the stone where one would grind the ink)  I would hope that a good sumi ink would still use carbon black for the pigment, but there's no telling these days what they use.

One of the characteristics of traditional ink painting, and calligraphy, is that this technique of ink on paper with a brush does not allow for corrections. Once you place a stroke on the paper, it is there. A knowledgeable observer can recreate the exact performance of the original artist. You can see where they pressed and where they lifted, where they went quickly and where they slowed down, where they held the brush straight and firm, and where they twisted or bent the wrist. This performative aspect of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy is said to allow one to observe and understand the true character of the writer. This is one of the reasons cited for why, at least in China, calligraphy was traditionally considered the highest art form, as it was the most revealing of the inner character of the artist.

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Tools & Supplies / Re: Sumi Ink
« Last post by neriah on June 21, 2018, 04:54:49 AM »
If you buy from calligraphy supply stores such as scribblers, John Neal or Paper and ink arts, sumi is traditional sumi ink and india ink is waterproof thing containing shellac. India ink they sell is usually W&N india ink and is waterproof (and horrible to use for pointed pen calligraphy). I got some sumi on ebay from random seller, it had japanese text on it and it is very similar to the sumi I got from scribblers.

All in all, I don't think it is possible to answer your question. It will greatly depend on where you buy and from whom. But if you stick to reputable sellers, Sumi will be sooth, water and binder and india ink will be shellac.

As to functional difference, someone else will have to answer that. The only thing I can think of is that it is not acidic which makes it archival. It is cheap and easy to use which makes it more beginner friendly than grinding your own from ink stick.
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