Create A Simple Landscape Using Fountain Pen Ink And Water

By employing water based techniques, one can achieve a convincing watercolour style painting by simply letting the inks do what they do. The demonstration below, has been created using one ink, Diamine Earl Grey. At first glance, one might assume that 3 or 4 colours have been employed.

The wonderful thing is that this simple wet in wet technique is actually easier and quicker than watercolour painting! Without even touching upon the word ‘serendipity’ I think this may appeal to all amateur artists for this one reason alone. The sky and foregrounds have created themselves!

What is also of interest is that all ink ranges are made differently. Each ink maker has their own recipes and processes. So, one range of inks may suit a particular subject matter better than another. Robert Oster Signature inks are ideal for bright conditions. KWZ inks are more suited to soft focus. Diamine are great for more graphic use. Noodler’s are more experimental and abstract but also check out: Vinta Inks, Troublemaker Inks and Sailor Ink Studio for more intense chromatic behaviours.

For enthusiasts of art journaling, diary keeping and sketching, this simple and natural process enables a simple and seamless visual continuity and a medium continuity between image and the written word. Why not give it a go?

Paper: Bockingford Watercolour Paper 200lb Rough

Equipment: 2 x jars of water, Bottle of Diamine Earl Grey, Watercolour brush size 24, Watercolour brush size 5, Noodlers Nib Creeper pen.


Take swatch card measuring 70mm x 95mm and place in landscape position and wet 3/5 of surface with large brush

With small brush add Diamine Earl Grey

Turn card upside down and wet surface 2-3mm below the wetted area above

Dip pen into ink and draw a line through the newly wetted area

Dip pen into ink and repeat

With the pen, add a couple of ink marks to the top area as this is now semi-wet, the spread will be less and the ink more intense

Allow the chromatography to happen and enjoy watching the greys, purples, reds and turquoises slowly come out of the ink

The finished, and dry, landscape created with serendipity. Totally non contrived and utterly beautiful. Works with most inks that display chromatic behaviours.

HEY! If you’re interested to know more about how to use fountain pen inks in more creative ways – whether it’s simply to observe their chromatic behaviours, or, to recreate one of my swatch cards, or, to learn how to use them in watercolour painting, illustration and calligraphy, why not check out my online course or, even better, sign up for a workshop?

The next workshop is at INTRA Arts in Rochester on Saturday 15th February 2020. The workshop costs £40.00 per person and runs from 1100hrs – 1400hrs all tools and materials provided. Please book direct with me. Email or call 07956 365155. Click on the venue for location details. Rochester is 33 mins from St Pancras London by train.

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