Tools: Waterproof Inks Review

If you are a watercolor artist your definition of
“waterproof” must meets the highest standards.
A lovely drawing in ink has to hold while washes of watercolor
pour over it; the linework must stay put.
When people say, “It is waterproof MOST of the time”
I think about birth control!

Also, inks need to stay put on all kinds of paper.

There are only a handful that meet that qualification…
these have worked on all kinds of paper in journals and on watercolor blocks.

I test inks two ways.  One way is in my swatching.
I let the inks dry and then drop a big drop of water in the middle, and let it sit a minute, then begin to lift… waterproof will not lift.
See the Super5 “Atlantic” (swatch 1): no drop ghosting, so waterproof.  Rohrer & Klingner “Salix” surprised me in that it is slightly waterproof: leaves quite a lot of color on the page with vigorous scrubbing, showing some water resistance.
Robert Oster “School” shows a clean drop shape — not waterproof!
My swatches are done in an A4 journal whose paper I hate,
where I can take notes and find them, update impressions.

The second is to test an ink that seems waterproof in swatching by trying them
in the back page of a new journal (above) and/or on new papers.
This is where you find out if they inks are fully waterproof…
I always do this in new journals, with new papers, even with my favorite waterproof inks!


Platinum Carbon Pens (and Goulet sell them in fine and medium) and the
Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges. WATERPROOF!
Amazing little cheap pens, ever-ready bunny workhorses…
I have one for purse, studio, and bed!
The ink has a slight sheen to it from the carbon, but it is a deep black.

ALL DeAtramentis Document Inks are waterproof.
I use the Black and Brown (such inventive names) all the time in three pens.
They have a line of crayola colors, some of which I’ve shown.
Their black is pitch black and a dream, never clogs my pens with regular cleaning.
Not the Archival line, the Document line.
PS: Their Fog Grey is really quite blue, above!

Note: now you can get Super5 inks in the states from Blue Rooster:
Support them so we always have it, as Amazon comes and goes!

Amazon: Super5 Frankfurt ink,  Super5 Darmstadt ink,   Super5 Australia ink,
Super5 Atlantic ink, Super5 Delhi ink, Super5 Dublin ink.
Amazing inks also, and lightfast (Yay!) Their inks colors are not like crayola colors,
but wonderful just-off colors. I love them, and use them all.
I use Frankfurt (a dark brown-grey) for both grisaille and linework.

I recently tried samples of several of the Rohrer & Klinger SketchINKs.
I was unimpressed — the colors were not as intense as they appeared in the images online.
I did end up purchasing “Marlene” and while it is not as blue
as I’d like it is a clear blue, in the ultramarine family, and so I added it to my lineup.
It will give me a chance to see how it performs on various papers.


NO Noodler’s ink has ever worked as consistently waterproof
— I’ve had sad disasters.
Kinda like your birth control not working on some days…
Noodler’s inks left my studio, with the exception of Lexington Grey.  This
includes Noodler’s Polar Brown, Heart of Darkness, and Bad Gator Green (or whatever it is called!)

I also find they clog my pens.  I still use Lex Grey for grisaille, with a brush, but I TEST IT EVERY TIME IN EVERY NEW JOURNAL!  Fool me once…

Anyone have any others that are
tried and true for all kinds of paper?

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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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13 Responses to Tools: Waterproof Inks Review

  1. Heide says:

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this wonderful and informative post! I too have suffered the disappointment of ink that is not *truly* waterproof … so you’ve done us all a great service here. Also got a big kick out of your comment about the Goulet Platinums: “Amazing little cheap pens, ever-ready bunny workhorses…I have one for purse, studio, and bed!” Doesn’t *everyone* bring pens to bed?! 😉


  2. Thanks for the recommendations. I use Noodler’s Bulletproof and Lexington Grey and have had no issues but I appreciate using your knowledge for future purchases.


  3. Your blog always brightens my day, with the delicious way you play with colours and inks…


  4. Pingback: Tools: Ink Journal | D.Katie Powell Art

  5. Pingback: Got the Blues! | D.Katie Powell Art

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