Since 2018, I’ve painted more with ink, finding ink-painting
challenging and full of happy mistakes.
I’ve acquired many bottles of ink…  I began dropping a lot of ink
in one corner then drawing it down with water after it dried.
I’m fascinated by how they move and had a life of their own —
even more than watercolors, which you can have some “control” over.

Soon to populate; under construction!
Sorry I had to put this one page up early in order to link
the other pages to it…. so it is very unfinished!!

This lead me to find another way to test my inks… specifically for artists…
that is what I am going to be doing over the next few months, sharing my experiments with each ink I own, exploring how it will work for ink painting.
I didn’t do these for you all — I’ve done these kinds of tests for watercolors too —
I just love the inks and want to get to know what I own.
But I thought to do them, and share them with you.

NOTE: The journals I am using to swab are
NOT the very fine Hahnemühle journals!
Be very clear, as I am a fan of
Hahnemuhle Journals and paper —
but I am not using them for swabbing,
NOT my best journals!
I have several fairly awful
Fabriano watercolor journals that
pill, fall apart, and are unsuitable for watercolors,
and I decided to use these for my
watercolor and ink swatch books.
Unfortunately, they have even bled through
in my ink swatches a couple of times.


For my large ink test I lay down roughly a half-square of ink, above.
I let it dry, then load the bottom half of the imaginary square with water,
and just touch the edge of the dry ink… except for the far right corner,
where I scrub the ink a bit with my brush to see how it moves.

Occasionally you will see two images for the same color.
This is because it is a color that changes by lighting so very much!


Ink for painting has different requirements than writing.
One is not better than another, but like any medium, is is good to know what you are playing with!  Is it waterPROOF, water RESISTANT, or Water SOLUBLE?

WATERPROOF!  You have to know if your ink is waterproof (good for linework and brushing watercolors over, above) or for grisaille (second image, above).
“Grisaille (/ɡrˈz/ or /ɡrˈzl/; French: gris [ɡʁizaj] ‘grey’) is a term for a painting executed entirely in shades of grey or of another neutral greyish colour… A grisaille may be executed for its own sake, [or] as underpainting … working in grisaille was often chosen as being quicker and cheaper, although the effect was sometimes deliberately chosen for aesthetic reasons. Grisaille paintings resemble the drawings, normally in monochrome, that artists from the Renaissance on were trained to produce.”   WIKIPEDIA
There is also brunaille (brown tones) and verdaille (green tones).
For an older posting on waterproof inks, go here.
SO many inks that writers say are waterproof are water resistant
As an artist that means you will get movement in your ink when it is least wanted.

WATER RESISTANCE:  If an ink has some water resistance,
I can use that to build up layers…  (more)

WATER SOLUBLE: Inks that move when hit with water…
Most of the inks I am writing about here are water soluble.
Lovely for ink painting!


These pages are showing the inks I’ve reviewed in depth, and the samples.
I will link you and allow you to compare inks by color, but also lets you see the inks of a certain company so you can see their review.

Well behaved, meaning neither dry nor wet,
and has enough body and dries quickly enough to not feather on a Post-it!
Doesn’t stay wet for a long long time… dries fairly quickly!
You don’t your ink to smear!
Doesn’t stain a pen nor will it harm a pen if left for days unused.
Because of the last reason, I’d say most waterproof inks and most glitter inks
(not sheening but glittery) are not well behaved.
I make it a point to use my waterproof inked pens every couple of days,
because if the waterproof ink dries in the nib/feed, it is hell getting them clean.
Glitter inks can clog even the best fat nibbed pens…

Mostly I think ghosting has more to do with paper,
but some think it has a lot to do with the ink, and they may be right.

I may sometimes compare ink colors to water color I own,
and refer to the Munsell System.
To understand more about this system and others,
go to these two amazing wonderful references pages:


INKS BY MAKER under construction…

INKS BY COLOR under contruction…


Inks reviewed so far, in order of their review date:


Inks in Depth: Robert Oster Jade, Inks in Depth: Birmingham Allegheny Observatory Celestial Blue, Inks in Depth: Krishna Ghat Green, Inks in Depth: Robert Oster Thunderstorm, Inks in Depth: Robert Oster Melon Tea, Inks in Depth: Robert Oster Fire Engine Red, Inks in Depth: Diamine Ancient Copper, Inks in Depth: Robert Oster Aussie Brown,