Author Topic: Desert Island Ink  (Read 2408 times)

Offline K-2

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Desert Island Ink
« on: January 21, 2022, 03:02:42 PM »
If you could only have ONE ink, what would it be?
* Here's my top ink - what is yours?

My pick: Parker Quink, black.  Sounds a bit pedestrian perhaps, but it's incredibly versatile: well behaved on good paper (even without gum arabic) for pointed pen and broad edge scripts, fast drying ("quink" is a portmanteau of quick+ink), a little bit of black sheen around the edges, a glowing gold to white reaction with bleach, and chromatography bleeding out gold and blue.

All these drawings use only Parker Quink black, water, and in some cases, a bit of bleach.  Images from a drawing series I did last year called "Pendemic"

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2022, 05:57:19 PM »
Cool drawings. As much as I like cows, my favorite of the four is the telephone poles--looks like they're heading for bad weather.

Regards ink--McCaffery's Penman's Black (not the glossy). Works with every nib I have and on most any paper. Permanent. Waterproof. Like a Ford 150, built to last.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2022, 06:01:40 PM »
Incredible! Love these!

My favorite would be McCaffery’s Indigo Blue.  ;D
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Erica
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Offline K-2

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2022, 06:09:35 PM »
Solid ink, that McCafferey's, @AnasaziWrites and @Erica McPhee - I really like the gloss black, even though it sometimes has trouble drying.

Here are a couple more looks at Parker Quink black.  Like the "Corona de Espinas" drawing above, they use bleach to lift the background ink to create the moon and the wasp wings.  Very versatile effects!

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2022, 10:28:51 AM »
Solid ink, that McCafferey's, @AnasaziWrites and @Erica McPhee - I really like the gloss black, even though it sometimes has trouble drying.

Sometimes? I'd gladly give you what I had of it, but threw it out after it refused to dry on a batch of envelopes I had to get out on a deadline, resulting it what I would term an epic fail. This problem has been mentioned for years. I really should ask McCaffery why it hasn't been corrected. Perhaps it can't.

Quote
Here are a couple more looks at Parker Quink black.  Like the "Corona de Espinas" drawing above, they use bleach to lift the background ink to create the moon and the wasp wings.  Very versatile effects!
Very nice effects indeed. Especially like the moon picture. Well done.

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2022, 07:24:21 AM »
I agree -- McCaffrey's are my favorite - the Indigo is dreamy - but, I, too, ditched my gloss black - and never gave it a second chance - even though I've often wondered if it was just one bad batch. If you do talk to Neil, please let us know what he says. Thx.

Offline K-2

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2022, 04:09:07 PM »
@jeanwilson and @AnasaziWrites - I think it's possible that the drying problem with McCafferey's gloss black could have to do with the climate.  Up here in the NORTH, it is quite dry most of the year, with real humidity only in the late summer and sometimes into the early fall.  This week is pretty typical for January, getting down to -15F at night, up to 5F in the day, and everything is pretty parched.  So maybe that gloss black dries better up here?  I use it pretty often without any problems.  I know some of the resins and binders in certain inks and paints are hydrophilic to the extent that they can actually re-wet themselves after they are dry by drawing moisture out of the air.

I do love the other McCaffery colors too, but the green degraded and sludged up pretty quickly.  The red-violet is a real favorite though, and the ivory is so subtle and elegant on dark paper.  But I don't love McCaffery's for broad edge pen work, and it's limited as a drawing ink (no chromatography; no reaction to bleach; limited shading), which is what pushes Parker Quink over the top for me.  Here's another drawing - another monotone using ONLY that one ink!

So if McCaffery's is the consensus for pointed pen, what about ink for broad edge calligraphy?  Or a real switch hitter, like the Quink (which also comes in a lovely blue-black)


Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2022, 04:27:08 PM »
Thanks for the info. Yes - McCaffrey's is only for pointed nibs.

For broad edge, I really like stick inks. If I need something quick, I like walnut ink. Walnut ink is friendly to being mixed with gouache or other inks. But, there aren't any inks (other than walnut) that I like straight out of the bottle - if we are talking about writing for one's own enjoyment.

I always had Moon Palace and the green bottle of sumi ink on hand for jobs.

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2022, 09:40:25 AM »
I do love the other McCaffery colors too, but the green degraded and sludged up pretty quickly.  The red-violet is a real favorite though, and the ivory is so subtle and elegant on dark paper.  But I don't love McCaffery's for broad edge pen work, and it's limited as a drawing ink (no chromatography; no reaction to bleach; limited shading), which is what pushes Parker Quink over the top for me.  Here's another drawing - another monotone using ONLY that one ink!

So if McCaffery's is the consensus for pointed pen, what about ink for broad edge calligraphy?  Or a real switch hitter, like the Quink (which also comes in a lovely blue-black)
@K-2
Love the bird.

I, too, like the McCaffery's Red-Violet. It seems a little thinner than the Black--more like a fountain pen ink--but okay with a pointed pen. I have the ivory, but don't use it much, preferring Martin's Bleedproof White for most applications, although would probably work well with brown based envelopes/paper (which I rarely use). Never tried the green, but use various Martin's for greens.

No favorite for broad pen, although I have a large bottle of "green bottle" Sumi, unopened for at least 20 years. I wonder if it is still okay.

Offline JanisTX

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2022, 12:26:09 PM »
This' dumber than dirt, I know, but my go-to ink for practice, etc., is Noodler's black.  I love the stuff!  I know that it is fountain pen ink and that it's not as thick as calligraphy ink, but I find it to be very well behaved, easy to use & the throat of the jar has such a wide opening, you can easily dip an oblique pen in without any problem.  No decanting of ink = a much happier Janis, as I am a mess when it comes to pouring ink out of one container into another.  (If it CAN go wrong, it WILL go wrong, in my experience!)  I also am pretty wild about Pearl Ex used as ink, but I love sparkly things (I'm basically a small child at heart, it seems!).  I have used Walnut ink and hate the stuff.  It's brown.  It's thin.  It's too opaque.  Did I mention that it's brown??  I like McCaffrey's inks, but I couldn't agree more about the Gloss Black.  It's a pretty ink, but it WILL NOT DRY!!  I've tried propping the envelope in front of a fan overnight (no effect), freezing the envelope (this made sense at the time) (no effect) & letting the envelope sit for five days (no effect).  I buy lots and lots of ink, but I find that I am drawn back to the Noodler's most often.  (It also comes in many other colors & I have NEVER had a problem with any of them!  Just dip and go!)

@K-2 Your work is beautiful!

Janis

Offline K-2

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2022, 10:20:41 PM »
@AnasaziWrites - the McCaffery's ivory is really beautiful on a dark olive paper and also a dark grey.  That sumi you have is almost certainly just fine.  Even if it dries up, you can just use it like a stick ink.  Sumi is just pre-wetted carbon ink (like the sticks are made of), after all, and those stick inks can last for centuries.

@jeanwilson - I probably use Moon Palace for 90% of my broad edge work.  I love that ink.  And I'm with you on walnut ink.  I love it for so many things.  It's actually really high on my list of potential "desert island" inks, even though it doesn't have a very compelling reaction to bleach and you can't put it in a fountain pen.  Regarding stick ink - have you ever used those colored stick inks?  I've been kind of wondering about them.  I learned how to paint with stick ink when I was very young, but my grandfather and father only let me use the black ink - they thought color was a distraction to learning proper form.  You know - the Saint John's Bible used stick ink for all the lettering, because Donald Jackson thinks it's the best too!

@JanisTX - Thank you for your kind thoughts about my work!  Your enthusiasm for Noodler's black is fantastic (and much like my enthusiasm for Parker Quink black).  And what a great point about the wide-mouth jar.  It actually reminded me to comment in kind about how much I like the wide mouth and squat shape of the Parker Quink bottle - much like Noodler's, but a little harder to tip over (see photo).  Now, I have actually have had some trouble with a couple of inks in the Noodler's line NEVER drying!  Golden Brown and Gruener Cactus are special offenders for their strange greasiness that smears even after several days of drying time.

I don't know what else to say about my stan for gloss black -- every once in a while I have drying problems with it, but usually it does fine.  I did a heavy test strip with it in October, and it was quite immovably dry, even though I laid it on quite thick.  I'm collaborating with a scientist colleague of mine to replicate the recent chemical fingerprinting research that revealed redacted material in Marie Antoinette's love letters (https://www.express.co.uk/news/royal/1504997/royal-news-marie-antoinette-mystery-lover-letters-found).  One of the inks we analyzed for distinctive trace elements was McCaffery's gloss black.  Trust me - he would not put it through his lab's macro-XRF if it were at all smeary or tacky.  It would be disastrous if it smeared on the sensor!

We did trace chemical analysis of several modern inks marketed as "iron gall" inks: Diamine registrar's ink, Old World iron gall ink, McCaffery gloss black, Rohrer & Klingner scabiosa, and Platinum sepia black.  We got strong iron signals from the Diamine, Old World and McCaffery; very weak iron signals from Platinum and Rohrer & Klingner.  But rather distinctive trace elements besides iron in each of them.  We'll enter the second phase of research this spring, as we see if we can "read" a message in one ink after effacing it with a different black iron gall ink, based on differences in their chemical signatures.

In case anyone was wondering what an academic calligrapher like me does in addition to paleography.  --yours, K



Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2022, 06:46:18 AM »
I have never tried the colored stick inks and do not recall even talking to anyone who uses them. For colors, with broad edge, I've always used WN gouache - paint, not ink.
Yes - I remember that the St. John's Bible was done with stick ink. It doesn't surprise me that it's what DJ prefers. I can't think of anyone who has ever had a complaint about stick ink. People are probably less inclined to give it a try because you need to invest in a stone. I was introduced to it in a class. There's something about a respected instructor recommending something and letting students give it a try.
And then there was Peter Thornton - master of the broad edge -- talking about the ultimate experience - stick ink, using a quill, on real parchment or vellum (animal skin). Our guild invited him to give a workshop. I asked him to bring some quills and give a demo. I can't say that I prefer quills over nibs - but I agree - stick ink on vellum is dreamy. Maybe if I spent more time with quills, they would become the favorite.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2022, 05:51:08 PM »
So many good things to talk about in this thread, it’s hard to stay on topic! LOL…


I do love the other McCaffery colors too, but the green degraded and sludged up pretty quickly. 

I can attest to this. Many years (decades) ago, I used McCaffery’s green for a private school’s diplomas I calligraphed because they requested a green ink to match their school colors. Dummy that I was, I didn’t know anything about the archival-ness of inks or colored inks, etc. at that time. I found a few of the scrap/practice ones when cleaning out my garage last year and the ink had faded drastically. EEEk!

My go to for broad pen is green bottle sumi.

@JanisTX I am not allowed near an open ink bottle without an eye dropper.  ;D

Love Peter Thornton’s classes. Took Italic variations with him wayyyy back in the day. And I also took a class with another British calligrapher whose name escapes me right now about quill cutting. There is little more satisfying to a calligrapher than the smooth but snappish feel of a well cut quill on vellum. CRISP!  ;D
Warm Regards,
Erica
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Offline K-2

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2022, 04:50:38 PM »
Here's some love for Parker Quink in Blue-Black too!

Like it's sibling in black, it's a fantastic all-purpose drawing and writing ink, straight out of the wide-mouthed bottle, with chromatography bleeding out royal blues, teals (teals! @Erica McPhee), celadon, and cerulean.  A stunning neon green-gold reaction to bleach, and russet sheen on the broad edge letters.

What else would you bring to your desert island?

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Desert Island Ink
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2022, 04:23:54 PM »
WOAH!  ;D
Warm Regards,
Erica
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