Author Topic: too much ink on nib?  (Read 77 times)

Offline mushroom

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too much ink on nib?
« on: October 10, 2018, 03:47:23 PM »
Hello, I'm brand new to calligraphy and would appreciate any help.

I'm using a Nikko G pointed nib with sumi ink. I prepped my nib with toothpaste and dip to the top of the vent hole.

During every practice session, the ink flow seems perfectly fine at first, but as I go on, it seems like more and more ink collects onto my nib. I clean it in water every couple of minutes or so, but cleaning it doesn't seem to have any effect on steadily building up more ink on my nib until it's pretty much the entire bottom half of the nib (both concave and convex sides) are completely covered in black ink. Then too much tends to flow out as I try to write. I try shaking it off after dipping but the ink stays onto the nib. I wonder if maybe the ink is too thin, but in the beginning of a session it seems to write totally fine. I wonder if it's something about how I prepped the nib? I also don't really understand why it's fine at first when it's been dry overnight and I'm just starting out a session but it gets worse and worse as I continue.

Would love any help!

Offline neriah

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Re: too much ink on nib?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2018, 04:53:38 AM »
Hi!

Are you wiping the nib with a cloth? What I do is stop every 3-5 minutes, dip my nib in water, clean with cloth, dip in water again, dry it with cloth, dip in ink, go with nib over the edge of ink bottle to remove some of the ink and then write.

From what you are describing it seems to me there is water on your nib after you clean it with water? If that is so, water which remains there will mix with the ink and make it too thin. You need to dry your nib before dipping it into ink again.

Hope this helps!

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: too much ink on nib?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2018, 07:17:02 AM »
This is a suggestion for Nikko G nibs - because they are tough and can handle it - it is not advised for any other nibs.
Although, if you use Nikko nibs, you could figure out which of the other nibs are comparable and could handle a forceful wiping.
When I am using Nikko Gs with sumi or gouache I keep a squirt bottle of Windex and a lint free cloth right by the desk.
I clean frequently - by squirting into the cloth and using the soggy spot of the cloth to wipe off the nib.
I apply more pressure than what would be used to just dry a nib that had been cleaned by dipping.
I agree that it is important to wipe the nib after dipping in water - so, my process includes the wipe - plus eliminates the open container of water.
When I had a container of water - it always had about 1/3 Windex combined with the water.
Be careful to hold the cloth against the squirter - you don't want to be spraying on anything that matters.

Something else I do that most people find tedious - but I think is a time saver in the long run - I load nibs rather than dipping them.
I only load the ink or gouache onto the underside of the nib using a brush with gouache.  With ink I use the handle end of a brush - cut off to about 4 inches so it just stands in the bottle of ink.
The amount of ink that clings to the brush handle is all I like to have in the nib.
Frequent loading does not bother me - because it eliminates the possibility of blobbing.
Loading also makes it easier to use ink out of bottles that have a small opening. I never have to transfer into dinky dips.
If you really insist on loading more ink each time, you can transfer ink with the little stick two or three times.

It takes a lot longer for any build up to occur when you don't put ink or gouache where it is not needed...on top of the nib.
I'm not the only one who does this - and those of us who do - are pretty sold on the whole concept
and we feel like we spend way less time fussing with the nib.
Once you get used to having a tidy nib - dipped nibs look super messy.
Plus, I think I get finer hairlines with the ink on only the underside.

And - another shout out for walnut ink - and why it is so wonderful for practice - it takes forever to build up - so it's no problem with dipping.
It is the one ink that I do dip.
I guess I sometimes dip McCaffreys black, and colors - not white - I load white.

Offline mushroom

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Re: too much ink on nib?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2018, 08:56:57 AM »
Wow, thanks so much for your thoughtful responses!

Sorry if I wasn't clear before: when I clean the nib, I'm dipping in water and then wiping it off with essentially a paper towel (but thicker/sturdier because it's meant for substituting for a painter's rag). I make sure it's completely dry and clean before dipping again. I do this every couple of minutes. But at the beginning of a session I get very little buildup, whereas even right after cleaning there's immediately a ton of buildup as soon as I dip into ink again if I've been writing a while. Towards the end, the entire nib from the vent hole down gets completely covered in thick black ink, which makes me feel like I'm doing something really wrong. Once it's been dry overnight it seems fine again at the beginning of a session.

I will try adding the Windex to the cleaning water to see if that makes a difference. If not, I may need to change to loading the nib (thanks for the suggestion), which I think would definitely solve this problem. But I'm frustrated that I can't figure this out with just dipping when lots of people seem to be able to dip fine??

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: too much ink on nib?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 08:19:33 AM »
What you describe is very curious - that the build up problem doesn't start until after the first time you clean the nib.
Maybe there is some kind of residue from the paper towel.
Maybe a pure cotton pen wiper or pure linen is worth trying.
Old cotton damask napkins - or linen handkerchiefs - make nice pen wipers.
But anything that has been washed many times will work - as long as it is pure cotton or pure linen - no blends.

At my house, when we clean our eye glasses - we only use a linen cloth to dry them.
There is something about the linen that works better.
Cotton is OK - but it's just not the same.
I have never compared cotton and linen with nibs - cotton has been fine - but now I am curious to try linen.

Offline Bianca M

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Re: too much ink on nib?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2018, 01:09:06 PM »
Well this is certainly intriguing.  Does this happen with multiple types of nibs?    I'm curious if using a different towel would help, as Jean suggested. 

I'm also wondering if your ink is drying out quickly on top in its vessel, and your nib is picking up the partially dehydrated ink at the surface, which would stick to your nib.  And then when you cap it, it somehow rehydrates from the ink below it (or gets mixed up when you move the bottle), so its fresher when you uncap it again and all is well for a few minutes.  Now, I realize that sounds like I have lost my marbles, but I do find that with some inks, they start performing a little less cleanly the longer its been exposed to air.  A quick stir, with or without the addition of a drop of water, fixes that right up.

Also, what kind of sumi ink are you using?  I've noticed some of them get a little cakey during use.