Monday, October 3, 2016

Writing Media: The Ink Test

I finally have a new lappy (laptop), so it will be easier for me to make blogs. But there's the problem with the internet speed. If I can find a new way that this internet speed could be consistent, then I wouldn't be having problems updating my blog. 

But I shouldn't be blaming the internet. I just have time management issues. 


Here are the inks that I own so far: 

Kuretake Sumi Ink Black

This ink claims to be waterproof, but not entirely. The ink will still smear when it comes into direct contact with water. But it doesn't react that much when I paint over it with watercolor. Just don't pour too much water. 

I love this ink because its consistency is just right and it flows out of the nib smoothly.


Sumi in writing:
Broad Edge, Italic
Pointed nib, Copperplate

Kuretake White Ink

This Kuretake White Ink was a last minute purchase because I had a commission work to address dark colored envelopes. It turns out that it is not a good idea to use this ink as a writing medium at all, because it cracks when it dries. It's my fault for not reading the label: Highly Opaque white ink for highlights and corrections. I didn't test this ink and haven't used it in a while.


Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black

Dye-based black ink. I had this for almost 3 years.  I even used this with my Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink just to get that smooth and pure black color.

Pelikan in writing:

It may not be obvious with broad edge, but as you see with Copperplate, the ink bleeds on paper. This is what happens when Pelikan (fountain ink) or other dye-based ink is used on some type of paper (for this one I used ordinary bond paper). I've read that using Gum Sandarac can control the bleeding (it can help "produce crisper letters and finer thins"), but I haven't used one. 

I tested Pelikan again on a different paper (one specifically designed for Calligraphy use). This is the result:


Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink Matt Black 

This is my favorite black ink! I've read reviews about densely black inks and it's true. I have to shake this little guy before using it because the pigment (is it?) has settled at the bottom. When the ink is too thick that it doesn't write (particularly broad edge), I just add (a little at a time) distilled water. I've read that the liquid evaporates, so you need to add distilled water. And don't worry, the label at the back says you can add distilled water to it when needed :)

W&N Matt Black in writing:
I just had to write those :)

Walnut Ink Crystals 

I initially wanted to buy the walnut ink, but Paper Ink Arts that time had ran out of stock for it. So I went for this instead. For me, it is more economical to go with the crystals since you can control the amount of water to add and stick to a preferred consistency.
Instructions from Paper Ink Arts: Mix one tablespoon of crystals with one oz. distilled water.

The Ink Within

When I made my first walnut ink mixture, I had to use a stirrer because I thought it would mix that way. Some of the crystals turned hard and did not mix with the water right away, so I thought I did something wrong (like putting the crystals in and water afterwards). I just left it alone and it mixed all on its own. What I love about walnut ink is that I can take some of its mixture on another bottle and add more water to get a lighter consistency, or a wash effect. I use this ink a lot for practicing scripts.

I don't know with others who have used the walnut ink, but something settles at the bottom. I have to shake it every now and then when I write. If I don't, it gets thick and won't flow through the nib properly.

Walnut Ink in writing:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Greetings, for such a long time!

Long time no see, my blog and to all who visited my blog. Great day, isn't it? Even if it's already evening in your place, it is still a great day!

Thank you all for taking the time to visit and read some of my posts. I noticed that a lot of you are reading my Tools and Materials post. I'll be creating a post soon about the tools and materials that I have used mainly so far. It might be on the next post to this one! 

It's been more than a year since my last post. What was I even doing then? 

Just like every human living in this planet, even you reading this, have been going through struggles of life. It has taken quite long enough and I was able to stand on what I believe in. Whatever that is, I will just keep it to myself as of the moment.

When it comes to passion, I took art lessons a couple of months ago to improve my artwork. I know there are a lot of free videos that will teach you how to draw and even paint, but there was something about it that seemed lacking to me. I was a bit prideful at first, but seeing that I had no progress at all, I had to get rid of that and took the lessons. His rate was expensive, but when I took his first session, I felt he was going to teach me a lot. And the money I paid for him was worth it. It was a good decision since I got to meet a lot of artists of all ages. It also rekindled my passion of pursuing the art that I really admire, too. 

I also realized that I have a lot of things to improve. My instructor told me I know how to draw, but I lack skills with tonal values (more like shading). It's very frustrating because I couldn't get it right even after so many sessions. I hesitate a lot by going back and forth to my work, seeing it is okay. It seemed that it was already acceptable. Is this how an artist is going to be like - like there is no end? I'm not stopping though. In fact, I am having fun. 

So where am I going now? Just last year I had a couple of commission work done, but to be honest, I wasn't satisfied with it. I was asking myself whether this is going to be the one I should be doing. It is still a part of calligraphy and I was even happy making it. However, there was something bugging me whether it was the one that I should be doing or not. 

Most of my commission work were pointed pens and two of them were addressing envelopes. It was my start and I thought it was going to go steady, but it felt like it wasn't the right one that I should be doing. When I discovered calligraphy back in 2013, I already knew what I was really going to do. However, due to competition, I got swept away in that plane and got lost. I was frustrated and have been belittling myself that I should have done this or that, but I already knew what I really wanted to do. It still has something to do with calligraphy, but it is more on broad edge. So what I did, I keep on writing in broad edge and tried to create art with it. It was also the time that I discovered I needed art lessons because my color combination did not seem right, like it was dead. I posted one in my Google+ page.

I'll be showing my artwork in my G+ page, starting from when I took my first art session until the latest one. Next week, I will be learning how to paint, although it is still about techniques rather than color harmony, the part in my art that's missing. 

That will be all for this post. Until next time then!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

How I Dealt With My Densely Black Ink (Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink Matt Black)

Warning: Please be extra careful with mixing inks from different makers as there might be reactions that could damage the nibs or discolor paper. -Thanks to +Michael J. Coffey for the warning!

One of the challenges I face when doing calligraphy in black ink is when it doesn't flow out of the nib. I thought that something must be wrong with my nib, but it was the ink - W&N Matt Black Calligraphy Ink.

I love using this ink because it has a very dense black color to it. Since I used Higgins at the time I got this from the mail, I left the W&N ink for more than a year without using or even move the bottle from where I placed it. 

I opened the bottle a few months ago and used it occasionally on practices. I took a look inside and saw something gathering at the bottom. I realized that a part of the ink sank into the bottom and I needed to shake it first before using, which I did not. I shook the bottle a lot so that it would mix well (I read from one book that I should avoid shaking the bottle too much, but I needed to do it). The ink went to a very sticky consistency, so I had difficulty trying to let it flow out of the nib. The ink can be diluted with water as needed, but I did not like the result. Or I could have added too much water.

Ink was too sticky; uneven distribution of the ink; color was too light

My solution: After a couple of months thinking how I can use W&N matt black again so that it won't go to waste, I thought of mixing it with my fountain pen ink. I really love the result, which was the same dense black I saw when I first used W&N on my broad edge.

Finally! Even distribution of ink :)

I am not sure whether it is okay to mix different inks. I haven't come across any warning from other renowned calligraphers about mixing inks. I did, however, read a lot of product descriptions that suggests mixing inks with other mediums.Read warning above.

Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink dries up fast in the nib, but it can be reactivated by dipping it back into the ink since it is non-waterproof. In my case though, I avoid dipping the nib directly into the ink, as it has the tendency to appear 'thick' when I write on paper. What I do is use a cheap paint brush to load the ink into the reservoir (I am using Brause). When the tip of the nib dries up, I use the wet brush to reactivate it. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Playing With Gold

One of my favorite colors is gold. When it comes to jewelry, I prefer gold over silver. Some people find it 'old' to wear gold jewelry, but find it to my liking. Or maybe I just love something that shimmers (◕‿‿◕)

When I started to self-study calligraphy, I've always wanted to have something gold to write with. But the kind of gold compatible with my pen is scarce where I live. Good thing I just acquired one today~! I'm happy that I got to have my dream of writing with gold!

Finetec 6 Pearl Colors from Paper and Ink Arts through a friend
I'm still hoping for more gold, but I will settle with this for now. I have read reviews about this watercolor (yes, it says so in the package Watercolor Pan Set, 6 Pearl Colors) that it's the best for pointed pens, but no reviews with broad edge. So I made some experiments with it to see how well it will go with broad edge pens. 

Mixing gold with a few drops of distilled water
This pan is Tibet-Gold. I just used the same techniques I do when mixing water and gouache until I get the right consistency. I first experimented it on writing in pointed pen. It really is like they said it was - magic!
Some random name, but I think it belongs to someone famous.
Even with a little mix, you can write a lot with it. No wonder a lot of calligraphers out there love working with this gold watercolor. But I wanted to experiment it with broad edge. Here are my results:



(1) The consistency of the mixture was getting thick (it was starting to dry up), so I had a difficult time trying to get the 'ink' flow out of the nib. I diluted the mixture with a few drops of water to make the consistency thinner. The result is as you see in the second image(2). The gold seems to get 'faded' at the start and gathers at the end of the stroke. But still, I like the effect of it. The third image (3) is a comparison between a thick and a thin consistency. 

That's not where my experiment ends, though. I've also read some calligraphers love to mix inks, watercolors, pigments and gouaches altogether. I've thought I'd try doing something on my own, too, so I mixed gouaches with gold. 

White gouache and a little bit of gold

Brilliant red gouache mixed with gold (left: white and gold)

Red and Gold, two of my favorite colors.
It is not clear in the image, but the gold really shimmers beneath all that red! I'll try mixing gouaches with silver next time!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Progress So Far

When was the last post? I've been slacking with my blog (^^ゞ

But anyway, here it is! My latest post. 

Recalling the past two years, I have practiced six scripts: Italic, Gothic, Foundational, Copperplate, Uncial and Carolingian. I haven't practiced much with the last two scripts, but I will be doing that from now. With all these six scripts, I'll be making more challenging projects, just like this one: 

My first greeting card project
This project was done spontaneously. I originally wanted to give someone a sample of my work (addressing envelopes), but thinking that my recipient is getting married (by the time of this posting, the couple are already getting ready for the wedding), I thought of adding more excitement to this. I think I finished this project for about eight hours or so.

So why is this a challenge to me? Actually, I already had previous projects similar to this. Those were challenging too, but I made that project two years ago. I want to put more illustrations with my work, but after making those two cards (which I will be posting it below), I lost my motivation to continue it. It was supposed to be seven cards, but I stopped after the second one because it was not the one I had in mind. There was too much work need to be done, such as drawings. I guess I was just overwhelmed of the fact that to draw the image I have in mind, I need to study and practice drawing. Not to mention color.

First law of gold - my first card project

Second law of gold - first of the two card project

Excuses are not going to get me anywhere, so I'll be challenging myself. I forgot that I got compliments for these two cards. Thank you very much for those wonderful words, Night Owl! (Thinks of adopting a barn owl...)

My next project will be combining the three of the four scripts I have practiced. I had trouble with centering phrases, but because of my first greeting card and looking at the books I have, I already have an idea how to make it perfect. They may not be near perfect as of yet, but I'll do better with my future projects. 

Here's what I did for almost four hours (with breaks):

That's it! I'll do my best to fill my blog with anything I'm doing with calligraphy. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Apache Wedding Prayer

I started practicing Copperplate so that I can create the kind of gift I want to give to my brother and his wife for their wedding. This is the result:

I daresay, I am a bit disappointed ^^; Maybe because I was hurrying in trying to finish this or that there were a lot of mistakes in it. I did not have any special fine papers around to work with, so I only used the Boris Layout Pad (a shame, really) for this project. As with the ink, I only used black gouache paint. The same goes with the blue rose drawing. I did not use the W&N nor the Pelikan black ink I have with me for this project because I do not like the result it makes. 

I did have a previous version made, but it was a practice pad. I don't know what made me choose the bigger flower; I should've sticked with my first choice. Too late, I already gave the gift, anyway. But I'm happy that the bride likes it. I'll try better and work harder on my next project. 

Used this as my cover page in my G+ page

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tools and Materials

Most of the tools and materials I have are bought exclusively from Paper & Ink Arts. I vouch for their amazing service, and they answer every question I have, especially when it comes to shipment. There is another site that sells some amazing tools and materials that you cannot find in Paper & Ink Arts: John Neal Bookseller. I have not bought anything from the latter yet, but they are recommended by a number of professional calligraphers, such as Maryanne Grebenstein (CALLIGRAPHY: A Course in Hand Lettering) and Michael Sull (Spencerian penman).I also joined The Flourish Forum recently. You can find a lot of information about the basics and advanced techniques/tools/materials to use for calligraphy.


Broad Edge and Pointed Nibs
Broad Edge nibs (left side, from the top):
Speedball C2
Speedball C3
Mitchell Roundhand Square Nib 4
Mitchell Roundhand Square Nib 2.5
Brause C Nib 1.5mm
Brause C Nib 2.0mm

I mainly use Brause nibs for practice and making fun projects, but I often switch with Speedball since they are bigger. I just tried Mitchell recently and my experience with it is not good. I might have heated the nib for too long that it must have distorted the tip.

Pointed Nibs (right side, from the top):
Mitchell Copperplate Elbow
Brause no. 361 Iserlohn
Hunt 56
Brause Steno Pen (but it says Leonardt 40 Steno) needs clarification
Manuscript G
Gillot 170
Gillot 1950
Gillot 303
Leonardt Extra Fine Principal
Gillot 404
Brause Extra Fine 66
Hunt 101

The first pointed nibs I got was the Manuscript G, Brause no. 361 and Brause EF 66 along with the Brause broad edge nibs when I first bought from Paper and Ink Arts. I did not have any idea what the nibs' purpose for, but I used it for scribbling and drawing. By the time I started practicing copperplate, I used Brause no. 361 and purchased for additional nibs to see if I might like other pointed nibs. Right now, I use either Leonardt EF Principal or Gillot 303 for Copperplate.

Straight Pen Holders

Oblique Pen Holders
Straight Pen Holders: Koh-I-Noor Cork Tipped Penholder (top), Speedball Holder (bottom)
Oblique Pen Holders: Oblique Red Peerless Holder (top), The Paper and Ink Arts Adjustable Oblique holder, Rosewood (bottom)

I prefer using Speedball Holder over Koh-I-Noor's, because the latter feels a little large on my fingers, but I use both alternately, especially if I practice different script sizes. For oblique holders, I prefer using the adjustable oblique holder, because it fits almost every pointed nib. I initially wanted to purchase Hourglass Adjustable Oblique, but they were out of stock that time and I needed them right away so I went with their recommendation. The Paper and Ink Arts Adjustable oblique holder is created by the same maker of the Hourglass Adjustable Oblique, but with a different shape.

Non-waterproof Inks
Non-waterproof Inks (from left to right): Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black, Higgins Eternal, Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink Matte Black

I am using Pelikan right now, since my Higgins is already depleted. I tried a little test with W&N and it produced a thick consistency. All the books I have read suggest to use non-waterproof inks over waterproof ones, because the latter clog the nibs after they dry up and will destroy the nibs, unlike non-waterproof inks where you can just clean it off with water.

Container (from left to right): Clear Dappen Dish with Lid, 4 Dinky Dips.
My leftover Higgins Eternal Ink is in one of those little dinky dips.

Kneaded Eraser
Eraser: I bought this out of curiosity. It turns out to be a good eraser.

Gouache Paint

Gouache: Reeve's gouache. I bought this from a local art supply shop. I did not have any idea about which gouache paints to buy so I settled with this.

I will be providing a detailed review on some of the materials/mediums/tools mentioned here, particularly the nibs and inks, on a future post.