Author Topic: Ink recommendations?  (Read 1682 times)

Offline Ohana

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Ink recommendations?
« on: February 24, 2017, 01:08:25 PM »
Hi,

I'm beginning calligraphy, and I've gotten some nice nibs, an oblique holder, and good paper, but I really have no idea where to start when it comes to ink.  For now I'm using some unrecognizable brand that came from a novelty set, which presumably isn't ideal.  I've been looking at sumi inks because of the blackness, but if anyone strongly recommends trying oak gall or something else for beginners, I'm willing to check out other options.  Does anyone have a recommendation of a particular brand of sumi ink, or if you really think I should use something else, do you have any specific other recommendations?

Thanks so much in advance.  I'm running low on my other ink so am planning on buying more ink soon, but there's really not much information I've been able to find online.

Offline AndyT

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 05:56:11 PM »
Hello Ohana, and welcome.  :)

Whether you want to try it now is entirely up to you, but at some stage as a pointed pen calligrapher you really should treat yourself to some iron gall ink to find out what the fuss is about.  In my opinion it's incomparably wonderful, but your mileage may vary of course.  All the brands marketed as for calligraphy are known to be good, and the fountain pen friendly ones are reliable too in my experience.

The other thing you should try at some stage is gouache, for a number of reasons.  Firstly (and least importantly) it's economical; secondly you can mix any colour you like; thirdly it's opaque and can be used on any background you fancy, light or dark, and finally gouache will generally work on papers which will feather with any other medium.  It probably isn't something you'd want to use all the time and it takes a modicum of practice to judge the consistency, but it's a toolbox essential, as it were.  Winsor & Newton Designers' and Schminke Calligraphy are the two brands I've used: the latter has the edge for my money but both are easy to recommend.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 04:52:22 AM by AndyT »

Online Bianca M

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 06:13:24 PM »
If you're going to go for a Sumi, I recommend Moon Palace Sumi.  I dilute it a bit with water.  I prefer it to Yasutomo in the round green bottle and to Kuretake 60 because it doesn't eat nibs like those two do (although they are really lovely inks to use).

Offline JohnNealBooks

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2017, 09:38:15 PM »
For Sumi I second the Moon Palace - by far our bestselling Sumi
And for iron gall, McCaffery's is my favorite. 

Both inks will work well out of the bottle, but you might want to dilute the Moon Palace, as @Bianca M suggests. 


Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2017, 10:52:52 PM »
And for value, nothing beats walnut ink crystals. A four ounce bag will last a tremendous amount of practice time.  On good paper, walnut ink is beautiful. But nothing is as forgiving of bad paper like iron ball ink. I use fountain pen IG ink.
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Offline JanisTX

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2017, 09:48:32 AM »
In addition to the above recommendations, I love Noodler's Ink.  The "bullet-proof" is waterproof.  But, the "regular" Noodler's black is a very good ink & I use it ALL the time!

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Offline Tales from the Nib

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2017, 12:42:29 PM »
Apologies for invading this thread, but the Simi moon palace, is there a UK seller. I've only found places outside the uk ?
Again sorry for asking on this thread  :)

Offline AndyT

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2017, 01:30:44 PM »
... is there a UK seller. I've only found places outside the uk ?

It can usually be found at Amazon; same goes for the Kuretake vermilion which is also highly regarded.

Offline Tales from the Nib

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2017, 01:43:21 PM »
... is there a UK seller. I've only found places outside the uk ?

It can usually be found at Amazon; same goes for the Kuretake vermilion which is also highly regarded.

Thank you very much Andy T  :)

Offline Ohana

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2017, 01:46:40 AM »
Thanks so much everyone!  I'll definitely get some moon palace and iron gall. 

Interestingly about walnut ink, before I was interested in calligraphy I was interested in ink making, and attempted to make walnut ink, but it didn't come out that great.  I'm definitely going to try again next fall, especially now that I have a reason to use it!  Maybe in the interim I'll get some professionally made though.  It seems like there's a ton of cool inks, paints, etc. to try out, and I probably will, once I'm better at this, but for now I'm just looking for something that looks nice enough and is good for learning/practicing. Thanks again!

Offline Elizabeth O.

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2017, 12:56:02 PM »
I very well may be alone in this, but I really like Higgins Eternal (NOT the Higgins Calligraphy that's waterproof - just plain old Higgins Eternal).  The clean up is just so quick with water, hairlines are good, no dilution required, it doesn't eat up your nibs, and it's dark enough to scan.  The ease of use is hard to beat.

Plus, the top on Higgins will always unscrew...I've got a large dinky dip full of sumi that remains unopened because I can't get it opened...haha!  That stuff can get sticky!
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Offline Simone Lettering

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2017, 01:11:29 PM »
Hello Ohana, and welcome.  :)

Whether you want to try it now is entirely up to you, but at some stage as a pointed pen calligrapher you really should treat yourself to some iron gall ink to find out what the fuss is about.  In my opinion it's incomparably wonderful, but your mileage may vary of course.  All the brands marketed as for calligraphy are known to be good, and the fountain pen friendly ones are reliable too in my experience.

The other thing you should try at some stage is gouache, for a number of reasons.  Firstly (and least importantly) it's economical; secondly you can mix any colour you like; thirdly it's opaque and can be used on any background you fancy, light or dark, and finally gouache will generally work on papers which will feather with any other medium.  It probably isn't something you'd want to use all the time and it takes a modicum of practice to judge the consistency, but it's a toolbox essential, as it were.  Winsor & Newton Designers' and Schminke Calligraphy are the two brands I've used: the latter has the edge for my money but both are easy to recommend.

Hi Andy (and Ohana),

I am also a newbie here on the forum  :)

How is the iron gall for your nibs? Is it friendlier than sumi ink?

A ready-to-use ink that I recently bought (from Scribblers.co.uk) is the C. Roberson & Co. Permanent Pigmented Penman Ink. It comes in different colours and is easy to use for a beginner (at least that is my experience and I just started in November).

And I love using gouache too!




Offline AndyT

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2017, 02:08:41 PM »
Hi Simone.  :)

Not being a sumi user I can't very well make a comparison, but at a guess iron gall ink sold for calligraphy will be more aggressive than sumi, whereas the fountain pen type will be milder.  If you're using UK suppliers, Blots is particularly corrosive whilst Walker's is rather less so.  I'm content to accept a slight reduction in nib life because I like that sort of ink so much.

I haven't tried the Permanent Pigmented range, but Roberson's Classical Transparent is excellent.  To the point where I'm kicking myself for not mentioning it in the first place.

Offline Simone Lettering

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2017, 02:25:16 AM »
Hi Simone.  :)

Not being a sumi user I can't very well make a comparison, but at a guess iron gall ink sold for calligraphy will be more aggressive than sumi, whereas the fountain pen type will be milder.  If you're using UK suppliers, Blots is particularly corrosive whilst Walker's is rather less so.  I'm content to accept a slight reduction in nib life because I like that sort of ink so much.

I haven't tried the Permanent Pigmented range, but Roberson's Classical Transparent is excellent.  To the point where I'm kicking myself for not mentioning it in the first place.

Thanks Andy! You certainly made me curious about the iron gall  :D

Well, you can stop kicking yourself...... I will forgive you for not mentioning the Classical Transparent earlier  ;) And glad I reminded you about it!

Have a good day!

Offline Simone Lettering

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Re: Ink recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2017, 10:29:02 AM »
@AndyT
Hi Andy,

After your recommendation I bought Walker's Copperplate iron gall at Scribblers.
I just used it for the first time and love it!
And it's so magical what happens when the ink dries  :D
After one go I can already say I like it better than sumi.
Thanks for suggesting it!

Regards,
Simone