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.