Skip to content

Rethink Ink!

July 5, 2010

india inkIf the only things ink brings to your mind are ball point pens and note-taking, think again!

Ink is yet another versatile tool in the artist’s tool box. Dark and rich with the ability to be watered down, ink can be used in many different ways with many different tools. Have a read through these techniques and see which one you’d like to try!



1. India Ink

ink and brushesIndia Ink is an opaque black ink that resists water when dry. It is as black as anything and makes for some beautiful line work. You can use it straight out of the bottle for a dark, striking black, or dilute it with water to create washes in a range of values. With india ink, a little goes a very long way!

A) Brush it On

Ink can be applied using a variety of different brushes. Bamboo brushes are made especially for ink: they have thick bristles to hold a lot of liquid and taper to a fine point. You can also use acrylic or watercolour brushes. Different brushes will obviously give you different brushstrokes, but they are good for creating loose, expressive lines. An art-school friend of mine even experimented with using brooms and mops to create large, expressive works!

B) Use a Stick?

Surprisingly, sticks are another tool you can use to apply india ink. Fat sticks, skinny sticks, it’s up to you to experiment! It’s also fun to try drawing while standing up, using a very long stick to draw on a large paper on the floor.

C) Random Objects

You can find unconventional tools all around your house and the outdoors. Pretty much anything can be used as a stamp to produce a repeating pattern.


2. Pen and Ink

ink and penIt goes without saying that pen and ink go hand in hand, but it’s worth mentioning a few different types of pens and how they can be used.

A) Calligraphy Pen

These flat, wide-tipped pens are best known for writing fancy scripts, but they can also be used to create beautiful drawings. The traditional calligraphy pen requires refills of ink cartridges, which can be found in several different colours. The best thing about these pens is that you have a built-in strategy for producing variance in lines.

B) Bamboo Pen

A bamboo pen is much like a calligraphy pen, only it is made out of wood and has a blunt, flat tip. It is used by dipping it into a jar of ink and is similar to using a stick, except for that its round shape lets it hold more ink so that your line flows more steadily.

C) Fine Tip Pens

These drawing pens are perfect forcreating  finely detailed drawings. They come in a range of widths to allow you a greater control over value and are great for hatching and pointillism.

D) Ball Point Pens

As ordinary as they are, ball point pens are nothing to sneer at as an art tool. These pens can also be used for hatching and pointillism, and with enough finesse they can even create an illusion of smooth shading. Check out this ball point pen art for an example of what can be achieved.


3. Coloured Ink

coloured inkInk is also available in a huge range of vibrant colours. Called artist acrylic inks, they can also be diluted with water, and are water resistant when dry. Because inks are water-based, they can be used with acrylics. Oil-based media can be used on top of inks, but not vice versa.


Paint it, draw it, splatter it, drip it, dilute it…. whatever you do, try it! Ink is fun!


From → Drawing

  1. use quick drying permanent inks e.g. ‘Magic color’ with a simple steel nibbed dip-pen to add detail to your artworks. sort of highlights & lowlights…see my buildings perhaps?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: