Painting with ink – Part 1

While I was thinking how to start this, I remembered ink spots on my hands at schooltime. When I went to school we had to learn and continue writing for next many years with a fountain pen! I think it was because they were more useful to develop better handwriting. In reality, it didn’t make all of us masters of calligraphy of course 🙂

After all those years I still like using ink both for writing and painting. So, here comes my very humble collection:


I usually buy ink accidentally when I see these beautiful bottles in a shop and can’t resist -)

Of course, main and most important is black ink for me. At the moment I have two:

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img429The Winsor&Newton came first, but me being sometimes a bit of a disaster had an accident, and while travelling it has spilled in my suitcase, after what I had to get rid both of ink and a pair of pants:) Bottle of ink still had some inside, but it was impossible to open it. I bought same ink again, but again had similar story with only difference, that no of my clothes suffered. Unfortunately, bottle can’t be opened now. Does anyone know, is it openable? I think, being waterproof it just dried dead.

But there is one good thing of using waterproof ink – you can draw before you paint over it. I was so much used to this feature, so that when I bought new black ink, by default I assumed it was waterproof, which it wasn’t. I understood that while painting this:


As I touched places with ink with wet brush, trying to apply watercolour, I figured out ink was smudging… I had to go around ink, trying not to touch it. That was also fun, but not exactly what I was planning to do.

The difference between these two types of ink seems to be also in the way they look after drying. Waterproof Winsor&Newton is glossy:


… while non-waterproof Faber-Castell is mat:


Using ink in watercolour depends on my mood, sometimes I just feel that everything should be outlined and I can’t stop myself 🙂


The next one is a violete ink. Mine is also Winsor&Newton. There is no indication on the bottle whether it’s waterproof or no, but I just tried wettening and rubbing it on the paper and it just stayed there.


I use this one for the same purpose as black, but when I don’t want to overload picture with black lines, just keeping it lighter and not so evident, but still to add some contour and lines:

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Here I used both black and violete:


The next hero is cobalt blue ink also by Winsor&Newton. I think blue is one of my favourite colours for painting, I like using it solo, as I do with black paint. Among all blues cobalt blue is my favourite:


I mostly used it for contouring:

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… but just recently I tried to do the whole painting with it and I’m quite happy with the result (here just the darkest strokes are watercolour, the rest is ink):

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Let’s come to warmer colours, and first will be orange indien ink by J.Herbin. This was of course unplanned purchase, but how could I possibly resist this beautiful bottle and colour? 🙂038 043

As it turns out I prefer to use this mostly for washes, as its colour is really really intense. I also find it makes a very good combination with black colour, especially payne’s grey.

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And here is example for the outlining:


Now look at this: sunset ink by CARAN d’ACHE, I would say it’s burgundy colour. Can you believe I could keep myself from buying it? Colour is beautiful and so is the bottle! 🙂

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I haven’t used it much yet, but it seems to be good for some contrasty accents. So far this is almost all I did with it:

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And my last two heroes are gold inks: or ink by J.Herbin and gold – metallic bronze ink by Winsor&Newton:


These two are quite different if you compare them. But one thing is common for both: while they are not disturbed, the harder “gold” particles fall down to the bottom and transparent liquid can be seen on the top. So you always nee to shake bottle before using these. I definitely like or by J.Herbin more – it mixes into more smooth substance, really like gold:


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Gold – metallic bronze ink by Winsor&Newton is more like many golden glittering particles in a thicker liquid:



You can clearly see these particles in the water after I washed brush there:


What do I do with these? Honestly, almost nothing, but it’s really nice having them, and I am still planning to do some cards with their help. I’ve been planning this since quite a while, but you know – hope is the last to die 🙂 They look gorgeous on dark backgrounds (left is J.Herbin, right – Winsor&Newton):


That’s it for now, but I do plan to enlarge my ink family with some other colours, next may be some shade of brown – it must be good for monochrome works.


P.S.: To read more about my inks, click here.

4 thoughts on “Painting with ink – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Watercolour painting: blue mood | Liliya Datsyuk

  2. Pingback: Ink – Part 2 | Liliya Datsyuk

  3. Hi Liliya,

    I recently discovered your blog and I love it to bits!
    The mediums you are using is inspiring, you are a sort of artistic daredevil. 🙂

    One thing I would like to ask, and that is what kind of nibs are you using? There are all too many types, I am confused as to which one to choose.
    I am also an impulsive drawer, painter though I am not as good at them as you are. Therefore, I am seeking your advice. Which ones are the best and has a rather versatile usage when it comes to mixed media pictures?

    Kind regards,

    P. S.: Please keep on blogging, because your creative and writing style is too inspirational to miss.

    • Hi Mary!

      Thanks for your kind words! I indeed don’t write too often here, unfortunately. I wanted to keep it with some useful stuff, and I can’t always make myself find enough time to write all I want. But I am more active at Instagram or Flickr, you may find links in my profile (“About” section here).

      As to your question about nibs. For the paintings here I used some random nibs I bought on my trip to Italy. I’ve no idea what they are to be honest. But I’ve recently got some interest in calligraphy and bought quite a few nibs for it, but didn’t test all of them yet. But so far I can say that many people recommend Nikko G nib for drawing and it’s not bad for calligraphy as well. It’s not very flexible, but generally seems like a nice one! One of my favourites now is Leonardt Principal Extra Fine nib. I use it for Copperplate calligraphy. It’s very flexible, which allows to make both very thin (if you don’t press on it) and thick (if you apply pressure) lines. I tried Gillot 303 (more flexible) and 404 (less flexible) nibs. They are also fine, but I tend to like Leonardt Principal EF more. It’s easier to manage it.

      I’m not sure if you know, just in case: you need to prepare all new nibs before using them. There are a few ways, but I clean them with toothpaste and my finger, then I rinse. Otherwise ink won’t hold on the nib and will drop off. There is some kind of lubricant on the new nibs, which needs to be removed before using it.

      I can also recommend this blog:

      I think it’s mostly about calligraphy, but you may still find some useful info about nibs and other supplies.

      Wish you luck and inspiration!

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