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!