J and T's Art & Calligraphy eShop for Zest-it, Dip pen nibs, transparent and permanent inks, pelikan drawing ink and drawing accessories.
Login | Log Out | Order status  
Search our store
Home | Products | Search | Checkout | About us | Contact   
Quick links
- What's New
- Hints and Guides
- F.A.Q.
- Gift certificates
- Best Sellers
- Facebook Visit our Zest-it facebook page

News / Updates

Cold Wax range now available
A great new range of Cold Wax Products
Now available

Starter Sets now available
Caligpraphy, Starter Sets and all Dip Pen nibs
Now only available at our sister site DipPenNibs.co.uk

Fountain Pen CLeaner now available
Fountain Pen Cleaner
Now available

Roling Ruler reduced
12" Roling Ruler
Now reduced in Price
Last one remaining!

See Zest-it Brush Cleaner in action
with our a new video.

About Us

J and T Blackman Ltd is a Company Registered in the UK
Tel: 0116 2341001
International Tel:
+ 44 116 2341001
Contact us

We accept Paypal and are Paypal Verified
Shopping cart  Shopping cart
0 Product(s) in cart
Total £ 0.00
» Checkout
Login Status  Login Status

Not logged in

» Login

Visa Credit payments Visa Debit payments Visa Electron paymentsy Mastercard payments Maestro payments JCB payments


Ink and it's use.

Ink comes to us in various types, with different qualities from numerous manufacturers. When you are faced with them all in an art shop or pictures at an online shop, choosing the right one can be very daunting, especially for those taking their first steps into pen work or calligraphy. Most inks will work in either situation, but the type of ink can make the difference between, a happy result and one that ends up in the bin!

 Ink has properties; these properties often affect the resultant finish to the work. If we look at these properties and know what they mean to us and our work, it will help in choosing the ink.

Waterproof and non-waterproof.

Whether an ink is waterproof or not makes a difference to the type of pen you can use; how you clean your pen and if the surface of your work is to be wetted.
Most pens and nibs will work successfully with non-waterproof ink, it's easy to clean the pen and mostly used for letter writing, calligraphy and some finished drawing work that will be protected by glass. Pelikan 4001 and Classical Transparent would fall into this category.

ink blotWaterproof ink on the other hand it not recommended for fountain pens and most technical pens, but dip pens, quill, brush and ruling pens are ideal. The ink is waterproof when dry therefore perfect for 'pen and wash' or where the surface is to we wetted, cleaning is not always as simple as washing the nib under the tap, as ink allowed to dry on the nib can be quite difficult to remove. Drawing Ink A, Indian Ink and Permanent Pigmented Ink would fall into this category.

 Lightfast-ness also referred to as Permanence (durability).

The pigment or dye that the ink is made from, usually has a tested lightfast quality, this indicates if it will fade or not when in daylight conditions. Lightfast-ness tends to be expressed as excellent; very good; good etc. Permanence is usually expressed as permanent; semi-permanent etc. Ink with a poor lightfast/permanence quality will fade/loose its colour quickly over time. It's also best not to keep ink work in sunlight or very bright daylight conditions. Dye based inks, mainly for fountain pens, are not usually as lightfast as pigment inks. Pigmented inks are usually lightfast and not for use with fountain pens.

Permanence can also be used in a different context - as in 'permanent marker (immovability)' in this instance it refers to the fact that the ink is permanent when dry and will not rub off when applied, this is not it's lightfast-ness, because this ink may fade quickly over time. You will need to read the write up on the ink to establish the makers meaning of permanence.

 pH (acidity/alkalinity)

For your ink work to have archival qualities, you need - as near as possible, pH neutral ink. The range classed as pH neutral for ink is, up to 8.0 - 8.5 and down to 6.0 -5.5 where Ph neutral is 7.00. Most inks today are made within this range, but some inks made from historical formulas are very acidic and can 'over time' eat/burn through the paper and leave holes where the writing once was!

 Flow.tree drawn and painted with ink

Ink needs to flow from the nib or instrument. There are no hard and fast rules about the flow of the ink, but as a general guide - transparent ink flows faster from the nib then opaque ink. Many inks need stirring because over time the pigment settles to the bottom of the bottle, these are often slower flowing inks. Stirring is the preferred method, as shaking the bottle can produce copious bubbles which makes the ink difficult to work with. Dried ink on the nib or reservoir of dip pen nibs will slow the flow; you may also need to wipe the nib often when using faster drying inks.

Having decided what you are using the ink for - pen and wash, drawing, writing or calligraphy. You then need to decide if it is to be waterproof or non-waterproof, if non-waterproof then most pens will work with the ink. If it is to be waterproof then pens other than a fountain pen would be the choice, although some technical pens cannot be used for waterproof ink. It's best to check the makers instructions.

When loading dip pens, a more accurate way than dipping in the bottle, is to load the ink via a dropper or paint brush into the reservoir. If it doesn't have a reservoir then you may feel the need to dip the pen and wipe off the excess, but you can still load it with a paint brush.

Having loaded the reservoir, test that the ink is flowing from the nib on a spare piece of paper, the same as the type you are using, the ink needs to flow giving clean, crisp lines.
pan nib and ink writing

If you have trouble getting the ink to flow try some of the following; some people wiggle the nib from side to side; you can put a drop of ink onto paper and draw the nib through it; my preferred method is to have a damp piece of paper or kitchen towel and draw the nib gently across it, this works nine times out of ten and doesn't strain the nib tines.

Ink has many applications and is well worth the time invested in appreciating it's properties and potential. I hope this small introduction gives those new to ink a start in the right direction.

Copyright 2006 Jacqui Blackman

 Fountain pen ink     Sepia ink      Drawing ink    Drawing ink A    Waterproof ink    Ink Selection

Copyright Jacqui Blackman 2005    Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


Customer services

Contact us

Returns policy

Customer comments

Links of Interest

Help & FAQ


Shipping FAQ

Payment FAQ

Terms and Conditions

Site Map

Articles and Guides

How to use Zest-it? - Watch our video
How to fit a reservoir to a dip pen nib
How to choose a dip pen nib for drawing
Make your own Damar Varnish
Make your own Painting Medium
Ink and it's use
How to use Pounce Pouches
How to fit Dip Pen Nibs to holders
Pelikan Inks Guide
Pelikan Graphos Nibs Information
Pelikan & Graphos Information
Filling your Graphos Pen

Our Other Sites


J and T Blackman Ltd.
© Copyright 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2016,2019