Starting Calligraphy – Inks

There are many inks available for calligraphy, but not all of them are ideal for lettering.  Many inks do produce a very dense black, which is what most calligraphers want, but some inks are watery whilst others are too sticky.  Other inks are too think and do not flow well in a dip pen.

There are two types of bottled ink; waterproof and non-waterproof ink.

Waterproof Inks contain shellac, which is what makes it waterproof.  Writing with waterproof ink is difficult as the ink can clog up the nib. Therefore it is best for calligraphers to avoid waterproof ink.

Non-Waterproof Inks Fountain pen inks are not generally suitable for calligraphers.  This is because usually they are watery so they can be used in fountain pens without cloggy the mechanism.  However, this does not always produce satisfactory results with dip pens – often you will be able to see where two strokes have overlapped.  Sometimes if you write over a guideline it will show through the pen strokes.  That said, we have developed a range of Scribblers Calligraphy Inks that are equally suitable for fountain pen and dip pen lettering.

Even though calligraphy inks are purposely designed for dip pens they can still be still watery, sticky, thick or do not flow very well.  Sometimes thick or sticky ink can be diluted to help it flow. But you must be very careful and not over do this – only add a few drops at a time so the ink does not become watery.  If you can, ask someone else what their favourite ink is.  Many of our customers use Higgins Eternal Ink for every day use. It gives a dark, dense black and flows well.  Also, for practising, another favourite is the Pelikan 4001 Fountain Pen ink.

Higgins Eternal Ink

1 thought on “Starting Calligraphy – Inks”

  1. Higgins ink is so good. I’ve been trying out various calligraphy inks, and this one has a very good consistency, does not need diluting or canting, and does not bleed through my paper. Additionally, it does not lay too much ink on my dip pen nibs but adheres just enough ink to fill the nib well.

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