And the real magic begins

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Having committed myself to this project in June, I have tested circa 100 different fountain pens inks, and it’s six months down the line that the investigation is now really starting to pay off.

All fountain ink brands contain chemicals within their fluids to: increase paper penetration, minimise spreading and increase drying time. Other than that, each individual product can vary considerably and as shown in previous blogs, the the variations between products are wide ranging.

Diamine produce an in-depth range of fountain pen inks made from dyes that when subjected to my water and bleach tests react in a visual way that is both dramatic and intriguing. Very often, the different dyes that make up the ink colour range reveal themselves in the gorgeous water wash blends and the bleach reacts with them in intensity from white or yellow gold to a stunning neon.

Noodlers, on the other hand’ are known for creating ‘bulletproof inks’ to minimise fading and to prevent document tampering and forgery. These inks are agent (including bleach) resistant and often demonstrate a degree of resistance to water, which is equally exciting as the inks break down leaving a sediment effect, rather like a watercolour paint, often on top of a feint translucent base colour.

What I have done here is lay down a background of Diamine Sunset onto a heavy Bockingford watercolour paper, which washes out a gorgeous range of dark and mid tone reddy browns with pinky reds and yellows. Then, using a Daedalus pen with a Zebra G flex nib I have rendered the illustration and type with the agent resistant Noodlers Lexington Gray. Once dried thoroughly I applied mid strength bleach washes over the illustration which only reacted with the background underneath. The final effect is visually pleasing in many ways as not only has the outcome been achieved using only two inks, adhering to my ethos of ‘less is more’, BUT because of the limited colour palette, the complex final image looks fresh and not overworked. The mottled gold areas where the bleach hasn’t obliterated the background colour add those magical serendipity effects unique to fountain pen inks.

The subject matter may not be to everyone’s taste, but the technique is what counts, as I believe it to be unique to fountain pen inks. It’s simple, time efficient and visually dramatic! I am becoming increasingly convinced that fountain pen ink art could and maybe should become a proper genre of its’ own?

Diamine Sunset courtesy of Pure Pens
Noodlers Lexington Gray courtesy of Mass Drop