What You Need To Know About Calligraphy Ink

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What You Need To Know About Calligraphy Ink

What You Need To Know About Calligraphy Ink

Calligraphy ink is an essential ingredient to creating great calligraphy art.

There are many types of ink you can choose depending on the color and effect you want. Calligraphers use Sumi inks, Walnut inks as well as Calligraphy inks and gouche paint or finetec gold. Some advanced calligraphy writer’s also make their own ink.


It is important to note that using the wrong ink may damage the nib or pen that you are using.

Therefore, care must be taken when choosing which ink you use when writing calligraphy.

The Types of Calligraphy Inks

As I mentioned in my previous article on Learning Calligraphy (you will want to link this), Sumi inks are carbon based that are great for dip nib calligraphy. Some of the more popular ones are Kuretake Sumi Ink and Moon Palace Sumi ink.

Another type of calligraphy ink is walnut ink. These are basically brown inks which you can purchase in ink bottles or crystals. Among calligraphers walnut ink is seen as a go-to brwon ink that can be used for both broad or point pen calligraphy.

The benefit of using walnut ink crystals is that you can adjust to shade of brown by adding crystals.

Calligraphy inks are usually pigmented colored inks that can be used for dip nib calligraphy. There are a few brands of calligraphy inks like Calli ink and Diamine.

Both of these brands of calligraphy ink get their colors from tiny pigments flowing inside the ink. These are not recommended for fountain pen users as it can clog up the feed inside your pen.

You should never use a fountain pen ink for calligraphy unless some alterations are made to the ink. Dip nib inks are usually much thicker so that the ink will cling to the nib. Fountain pen inks are too watery for calligraphy use.

Gouache paint is a great way to get creative with coloring in calligraphy and can be used instead of ink

Caution: Only use high quality gouache paint.

Cheap gouache paint will look faded while high-quality gouache will have a bright opaque appearance. Another important thing to know about gouache paint is that it must be mixed with water.

Finally you can use Finetec Gold/Pearlescent paints to add color and fun like gouache paint. You only need to add a few drops of water to a pot of Finetec Gold and you are ready to write. This is a great alternative – and much neater – alternative to using gold inks.

Finetec has a magnificent shine and can create amazing effects with your calligraphy!

The Differences in Calligraphy Ink

So far we have looked at the types of calligraphy ink, now let’s discuss how the inks differ.

In olden times ink was permanent but corrosive and damaged the paper it as written on. Craftsmen created the ink by combining graphite or soot with water and thickened with gum arabic. They also used gali nuts and iron salts.

There are also inks based on water. These calligraphy inks contain color by way of a chemically dissolved dye. Because these calligraphy inks are water-based they are thinner and not water proof. However they are available in a wide range of colors.

Pigment based ink -which is also called China ink, India ink or drawing ink – contains color pigments and a binding agent like acrylic. This is a thicker and denser ink that dries opaque. These inks will not fade or change color and is waterproof.

If you are writing calligraphy that you want to stand the test of time, you use a pigment based ink.

Pigment inks cannot be used in fountain pens but only in dip nib pens.Use pigment inkfor documents, drawings or anything that will be archived.

Pigment based calligraphy ink is available in less colors than water based ink.

How Do I Choose Which Calligraphy Ink To Use?

When you are learning calligraphy and practicing, feel free to use any kind of calligraphy ink.

If you are making thinner lines you may wish to use a dye based ink as it is thinner.

You would also want to use a dye based ink when you are not concerned with the ink fading or being waterproof.

If you are creating archival documents or certificates or pieces that you would want to display- use a pigment based calligraphy ink. Make sure that you pay attention to the qualities of the pigment based ink as not all are colorfast or water proof.

Remember to use pigment based inks only with dip nib pens as it can destroy a fountain pen.

Calligraphy Inks – A Key Component

Calligraphy ink is an important component for writing beautiful calligraphy.

You should select your ink based on your project and needs.

Water based inks are thinner and not water proof. However they have a wider range of colors than pigment based inks. Gouache paint can also be used in lieu of ink to give more creativity to your calligraphy projects.

If you need calligraphy ink we carry a wide selection in our store which you can visit by clicking here.

By | 2017-04-20T10:32:07+00:00 April 17th, 2017|Calligraphy Pen Sets|0 Comments

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