Ink is among the very critical aspects when it comes to calligraphy. When the right calligraphy ink is paired with the right pen and paper, you can create a work of art. However, it is important to note that getting the ideal one for your needs is very critical.
Good news! Choosing the best calligraphy ink is entirely up to you. There are so many colors to choose from and differentiating specs that are easy to understand to help you make an informed choice.
No one can tell you the right calligraphy ink for you. But I will help you narrow down your search for the one that makes the most sense for you. In addition to showing you the different types of calligraphy inks, I will review three calligraphy inks in the market right now. This in-depth analysis is to help you search for the perfect one for you.
Types of Calligraphy Inks
There are three types of inks that are suited for calligraphy. These are namely fountain pen ink, dip pen drawing or calligraphy ink, and Chinese/ Japanese stick ink.
Fountain pen calligraphy ink
Fountain pens use a specific type of ink and are more restrictive compared to dip pens. Calligraphy ink for fountain pens is contained in a plastic cartridge and refills are available when the cartridge runs out. Manufacturers of fountain pens typically give recommendations as to the type of ink that should be used with the pens. Premium brands include a converter or have the option of installing one which allows you to use bottled ink as opposed to cartridges. Converters let you try other different types of ink making your pen more receptive to them.
Using ink that is not recommended for fountain pens clogs their mechanisms and reservoirs which damages it. This is a key thing to remember since fountain pens are very expensive and it would be a shame to lose a good pen. You could always try a different type of ink in an older pen to minimize the loss just in case.
However, inks for fountain pens fade eventually since they are dye-based. They are recommended for small projects and are not ideal for projects that will be exposed to weather elements for long periods.
Dip pens calligraphy ink
Dip pens are more flexible on the type of inks that they can use. Furthermore, they can be used with other media like gouache. This type of calligraphy ink is of dense black color that is very thick but flows evenly. It paints crisp without overlapping pen strokes and does not puddle. The best part is that this type of ink does not change color or fade over time. It also has mild ingredients that do not affect the pen nib or the material on which it is used to draw. What’s more, you can add any color you want!
Chinese/ Japanese Stick Ink
This is a traditional Chinese/ Japanese ground stick ink that is used for drawing and lettering. Chinese and Japanese have been doing the art of calligraphy for a long time and their traditional tools have been used to further develop this art.
When making this ink, you will require ink stones and ink sticks. Ink sticks are readily available and cheaply while ink stones are sold according to quality. You will also require an unglazed Gaken dish to grind the ink sticks on. Calligraphy ink sticks come in an array of colors that you can choose from. The ink sticks are ground and mixed with distilled water to produce ink. This can be extremely hard for beginners who might not know what it requires.
When grinding the ink, you need to do it just right. Too hard and bits of ink will chip off and crack the stick. When done, a brush is used to load it into a pen reservoir and voila! It is ready to use. When done to the right quality and thickness, it can produce a wide range of tones for a great work of art.
What to Consider When Buying Calligraphy Ink
There is a wide range of varieties and brands of calligraphy inks out there. They are differentiated in a number of ways that makes them unique for every use. Before purchasing calligraphy ink, please put the following considerations in mind.
Type of pen
As discussed before, the type of drawing pen that you use will determine the type of ink that you need to buy. Fountain pens are more restrictive and require a specific type of ink. You can get a brand that has a converter that can allow you to use different types of ink in it. A converter allows a fountain pen to use an ink bottle instead of a cartridge. Dip pens are receptive to most types of inks without having to worry about having a converter or not.
Black shade preferences
If you are looking for a more toned black, dip pen calligraphy ink is the ideal choice. This is because it is made dense and darker to be able to last long even in light. Fountain pen black ink is cooler, tends to lean on bluish, and fades away easily.
Permanent or temporary
Depending on your needs, you might need to do a project that needs to last for a long time without fading. A strong ink should be able to last and as such, drawing dip pen ink and Chinese/ Japanese stick ink are amazing choices. Fountain pen inks draw and look crisp for a while before they start fading especially when exposed to light for long periods of time.
Getting an ink that is waterproof for a project primarily depends on where you intend to have your project displayed or stored. If it is to be placed in an open space where it is prone to coming into contact with moisture or being rained on, it is good to use waterproof ink. Waterproof ink does not run which keeps your work fresh for longer.
Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink Bottle, 30ml, Dark Blue
Winsor and Newton have been in the ink business since the 1890s creating high-quality inks that have dominated the market and this ink is no different. With a wide color collection, this inexpensive ink is bound to help you focus your artistic juices on paper for a classy piece of writing.
Comes in an array of colors: this is probably the coolest feature about the Winsor and Newton calligraphy line of inks. With 18 colors to choose from, you can be sure of colorful looking work at the end of your project.
Permanent: this calligraphy ink is permanent and can withstand harsh elements without fading. It has a permanence rating of AA but is not waterproof.
Multiple application methods: the Winsor and Newton ink can be applied using an airbrush or a dip pen.
Non-clogging and not waterproof: this ink has a good flow that is non-clogging. The non-waterproof formulation also helps it not to stick or clog into links by giving it a good flow.
- Comes in 18 colors
- Easy flowing for less clogging
- The color is dark
- Does not work well with fountain pens
Windsor & Newton are known for their stellar quality artist materials so you can be sure that theirink will not disappoint you. I would highly recommend this to someone looking for a high-quality inexpensive calligraphy ink.
- 30ml bottle of Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink
- Can be applied using dip pen and airbrush
- Non-waterproof ensuring good flow characteristics to lessen clogging
Dryden Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges
Dryden designs, makers of high-quality fountain pens, have developed the Dryden fountain pen ink for their fountain pen line. Fountain pen inks are presented in cartridges and the manufacturer here is extremely generous with a 24 cartridge value pack that is bound to get you interested. It comes in three colors to choose from depending on your needs.
Value pack: if you are a value champion, this is definitely worth your consideration. The package contains 24 fountain pen ink cartridges that can work on almost all fountain pens. This saves you a lot of money that you would have spent buying one pack at a go in different brands.
Nontoxic and neutral pH: this ink is made using natural dyes and is free from toxic additives. The natural composition gives it a neutral pH.
Smooth flowing: the ink flows seamlessly and uninterrupted through the pen for a perfect writing experience.
Quick drying: this ink takes seconds to dry giving you very neat work without any smears or smudges.
Available in 3 colors: there are 3 colors to choose from namely black ink, 6 assorted colors pack, and black and blue ink.
- Value pack set of 24
- Smooth flow
- Dries quickly
- Long cartridge life
- Some users have complained that the ink has a ‘dry’ look
This is undoubtedly one of the best quality fountain pen inks in the market. Smooth flow and quick dry formula are the two greatest features of any fountain pen ink. Plus, it is not every day you get a deal that offers you 24 cartridges of ink at an offer so irresistible.
- BIG VALUE PACK: The value pack features 24 black international standard size ink...
- SMOOTH & UNINTERRUPTED INK FLOW: With no break in ink flow, enjoy a smooth and...
- NEUTRAL PH & NON-TOXIC: The ink has been carefully manufactured using only natural...
- LONG LIFE SPAN: Each ink cartridge comes in a plastic reclosable case and will last...
- QUICK TO DRY: Dryden Designs ink takes only a few seconds to dry ensuring your...
Glass Dipped Pen Ink Set-Crystal Pen
Featuring a remarkable design, this set is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful calligraphy pieces there is. It is ornately structured to give it a beautiful appearance aside from being highly functional. What’s more, it comes not with one but 12 different types of water and fade-proof inks.
Classy handcraft: the calligraphy ink set is beautifully designed using borosilicate glass that features a beautiful spiral pattern and decorative sequins. The beautiful design makes it great for a gift option for your friends.
12 bottles of ink: set comes with 12 bottles of ink for various uses like signatures, decoration, and calligraphy. The inks are resistant to water and fading meaning that your writings will last for a very long time.
Leak free and safe: the bottle features a leak-proof gasket that prevents the ink from leaking out. More so, the gold powder and imported ink are derived from safe ingredients so you do not have to worry when it comes into contact with your skin when drawing or writing.
Beautiful and easy to use: the ink comes in different colors to make fantastic creations. It is quickly soluble and as such, cleaning it out to work with another color is extremely easy and fun.
- 12 colorful inks
- Great gift option
- Highly artistic and beautiful
- Very expensive
- Ink is said to leak from the pen
If you are all about heartfelt emotions and feelings, this set is beautifully designed to express this side. The beautifully decorated glass pens look exquisite and feel great on your hands. The set can make a great gift for an artistic friend.
- EXQUISITE HANDCRAFT, UNIQUE TO YOU: Made of high borosilicate glass. Exquisite spiral...
- FILL IN YOUR ROMANTIC FEELINGS: The glass pen set with 12 bottles of ink provides you...
- ARTISTIC & AWESOME: Various colors of ink contain gold powder enable your creation...
- SAFE TO USE, NO LEAK: Imported ink and gold powder are extracted from harmless...
- GREAT DECORATION, SWEET GIFT: This value pack can meet your different needs and...
There is no right or wrong calligraphy ink to use. Whatever works for your specific purpose and style is your best option. If you are having trouble finding the best one, you can always try out free samples at a local supply store.