What are you inking with?

edited February 2012 in The Toolbox
I've got to go buy some new ink - I've been using up my old Speedball calligraphy ink, but I'm not crazy about the consistency - what do you use, if you're an inker?  I'm inking with a W&N Series 7 #3.


  • Dude, right now I am inking with SO many different types of pens, brushes, nibs, inks and shit.  I'm experimenting to find the best fit.

    Through it all I keep falling back to using a brush (with Cali Ink)
    I use the Calli with technical pens and fountain pens.  But trust me, it does clog a bit.
    But believe it or not the ink I'm using now came from a Diaso store (it's like a Japanese .99 cent store). It's called Sumi Drawing Ink.  Cost me a whoppin' $1.50 and the bottle is huge (180 ml).  Amazon.com is selling it for almost $6 bucks.  I swear, I can't tell the difference between the high-end ink and this stuff.  And I like the side-nozzle that you squeeze to control dispensing it into another container.


    On the tool side I am using (playing with) 4 different Japanese brush pens.
    Two of them use a cartridge system.  I tried refilling the cartridge once and it didn't work so well.

    The Kuretake brush pen uses a cartridge as well, but plenty of people have written that it is easier to refill.


    The manga fountain pen (Tachikama's School-G series) is a love / hate thing.  When it works I love it because I kill for minute, thin, clean , solid black lines.  Granted it is for *very* fine work and it's easy to get lost on the details, but I like it since my style is so linear.

    Nonetheless, I continue to search because I am not satisfied with consistency, ease of use and/or quality.
  • Just bought a fresh windsor newton series 7, but i haven't been drawing anough recently to put it to use.
  • I'm lucky that I'm near Toronto, now and have much greater access to supplies. (beyond Micheals and the like, there is a regional chain of art stores called Curry's as well as any number of college stores and or independent stores. Really am spoiled for choice.) I'll be able to take a look for those brands and compare prices.

    I haven't always been this lucky, which is why I ended up with the ink I had to begin with.  I think tomorrow I'm going to run out and grab some new ink...
  • www.jetpens.com has taken lots of my cash for inking supplies.

  • edited February 2012
    @marioboon -- that is exactly where my money has been going, as well.  I should buy stock in Jetpens.
    The other thing I like is that I am driving distance away from their offices (less than an hour by car).  So when I order stuff from them it gets to me in a little as 2 business days.
  • I've been using Higgins non-waterproof ink for awhile. I dilute it. I have found I have a hard time with fast-drying ink. It drys in the base of the brush and effects the 'snap'. Working with diluted, non-waterproof ink has prevented that problem, since the ink constantly dissolves when it's re-dipped in the ink solution. It's not a flat black, but I don't want that, since I work in a wash. flat blacks tend to kill the depth of ink wash. It's been a long time since I've worked with regular black waterproof ink.
  • When I'm not inking using Manga Studio (about 50% of the time) I use either...

    Copic Multiliner Brush Pens (and the .2 and .3 size for linework)



    Windsor Newton Series 7 sable brushes
    with Pelikan "A" ink


    The Pelikan ink is getting harder to find (because they have discontinued sale of the 'large' size bottles, which were being used by 'amateur tattoo artists') but the stuff is BLACK, and has an enamel finish so flat and durable, it's almost like a layer of ceramic or plastic on the page.
  • edited February 2012
    I used to use pens 100% of the time, going all Stan Sakai on a page. The past few years I've been experimenting more with brushpens though, initially with a Pentel Pocket Brush.

    Recently though I've found that I get better lines with disposable Zebra and Faber-Castell PITT brushpens, using the Pentel solid fill-ins. Then I do inking touch-ups with a variety of pens, everything from PITTs to Sharpie fine-tips to Pilot Precise to black-ink ballpoints.

    EDIT - I'm gonna endorse JetPens.com too, I spend way too much money on that website.
  • Seeing all these posts almost makes me inspired to give another shot to "traditional" (i.e., non-digital) inking. I think I just need to spend more time practicing with pens and brushes, as opposed to diving right in to finishing pages. All of your recommendations here are very helpful.
  • PJ - I'll say this, understanding... and having expertise on how the "real" tools work, makes the digital process work easier/better.
  • @Rantz Oh, I know. Kind of like how knowing all the "rules" of art inside and out allows you to break them with more confidence. On the other hand, not all those tools are for everybody. My whole life, I've been naturally adept with pencils, pens, charcoal and other "hard" media, but put anything resembling a paint brush in my hand, and I suddenly draw like a blind man with Parkinson's. Hence why being turned on to things like brush pens, copic markers, etc. helps make inking less scary. :)
  • Aaaaand despite everyone's contribution, I found some Higgin's I'd like to try....  I was too lazy to go to the "nice" art store, and ended up at a Micheal's...  BUT next time I'm IN a real art store, I will be checking out some different inks.  I'll let you know how this one works out though.  It's not the Black Magic, but a calligraphy ink, I believe.
  • I've just recently started using Pentel's Color Brush (gray color)


    It really works well with ink wash and gradations. With my work, I'm more interested in atmospheric effects, so solid blacks and crisp lines throughout, are not really desired for me. I like that i can draw a detailed background and by  washing over it with a slight amount of water will blur the lines. very effective, and has a great brush tip for detail.
  • I'm pretty simple.  I only use Pigma Micron pens.  No brushes or dip pens.  No digital inking.  I also use Bic white out and white gel pens for errors or white lines. 
  • @jimmie_robinson Believe it or not, I just found a bottle of that sumi ink in a drawer. I always assumed it was green, as the bottle has a green label and ring on the top of the lid. My mom brought it home for me on a trip to Japan she took a couple years ago. I'm gonna try it on the next couple pages I do, to see how it goes. I have no idea about the lightfastness or any other qualities, since the label is all in japanese!
  • A green label and ring?  Mine was white (as seen exactly in the picture above) But perhaps that's the label used in Japan.  Still, that's great.  Free ink is free ink.  Give it a shot.

    Last night I came from the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco (to celebrate the Image Expo) I checked out ALL the original art on the walls from throughout the years / generations.  There were so many different shades of inks, so many types of production values.

    Some people created complete *dead black* inks whereas others used lighter versions or different paper that changed the tone.  Brandon's WITCH DOCTOR cover (Lukas' work) was brilliant with heavy brush strokes, yet still pitch black.  Farther down the wall a DAREDEVIL page was not so black, but still quite effective.  In another room the LAND OF OZ by Eric Shanower was just fucking brilliant.  The range was all over the place.

    The thing to notice is that the end result still comes out as *black* - once it's scanned and printed on paper. White out correction marks are gone.  Non solid blacks turn solid.  Paste up word balloons and sound effects blend right in.  At a certain point how *black* the original is becomes a preference of the artist not a necessity of production.

    If a person is looking to sell their original art, then I surmise the darker the ink makes for more contrast and a lovely page.  But if that's not a huge concern then there's no need to worry so much.

    Likewise, colorfast / waterproof / archiving can also be a consideration.  At the cartoon art museum they had pieces from generations ago -- from the 40s, 30s.  Strips and pages and production art from cartoons.  Much of it still holding up today  It really makes a person think about what they might be leaving behind... and in what condition.
  • Here's a photo of that bottle:


    It is a sumi ink, according to google, (there is one word in Roman Alphabet, "Bokuteki", which comes up with hits for "sumi" or japanese calligraphy ink).
  • Mike Mignola's blacks are not so black, and his originals sell for bank.
  • I'm sure there are original-art collectors who like not-so-blacks, along with other artifacts of the illustration process, for the feeling of "real world object" they give the page.  Plus, Mignola's pages are... Mignolas.
  • I've had buyers who really like the blue pencil under the inks, the white out, or the hand-written notes to myself (or dentist appointments) on the side margin.  I've had people even buy the preliminary sketches that lead to the finish art.  It's all a toss up depending on the buyer.
  • edited February 2012
    Hmm interesting. I've started seein the blue lines more and more everywhere and I was concerned myself about it but eh... maybe I don't have to be.

    I very rarely use whiteout on anything. I'll just take care of it in PS. This cover I just finished I smeared ink a little due to shaky hands heh. (Before the drinking, if you've read the other thread.) But whatever.. I'll probably just leave it in.
  • I stopped by the RAID (Royal Academy of Illustration and Design) studios today and got a chance to see some live Ramon Perez inks...  beautiful stuff, and he's using a mix of straight line art, washes and organic textures, which kind of made me rethink how I'm approaching my pages...
  • I really need to get my scanner back so I can do more experimenting with practical line-art for later digital implementations.

    What do you use to correct mistakes? I figure there's got to be some better solution than Wite-Out, right? I usually just fix stuff in Photoshop, but I'm really making an attempt to make my original art a little better to start with.
  • i use white gauche. It's not perfect, but I like it since It will dissolve in water- gives me a bit more flexibility in what I do. I've been meaning to try white acrylic.
  • @pjperez

    For corrections (I ink with pens and brushes), I use white-out. I'll dilute it a tiny bit and use it like ink on the tip of a brushpen or a pen (both dried out, I use them just for the tips),to make corrections onto the paper. I'll use a big swath for large corrections on a page, especially if it's a lettering screw-up, which is where I seem to make the most mistakes. I'm getting better at that.

    For non-lettering mistakes I'm learning to fix them digitally (post-scan), even though I'm like, THE most inept person with photomanip software. But hey, I do this all on my own, so I have to learn somehow.

  • I use Pelikan Graphic White, thinned so I can apply with some precision.

  • I use Pentel's *fine point* correction white out pen (it's a wide body dispenser)
    I like white out, myself.

    What do you use to correct mistakes? I figure there's got to be some better solution than Wite-Out, right? I usually just fix stuff in Photoshop, but I'm really making an attempt to make my original art a little better to start with.

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