Monday, December 3, 2012

Ink + Zig @ Zoka

12/3/12 Diamine Twilight ink, Zig marker
Like anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes at the Goulet Pen Company, I’ve gotten hooked on this extraordinary fountain pen and ink purveyor’s website, especially the ink samples. For $1.25, you can buy a small sample of any of their hundreds of inks to try out before investing in a whole bottle (or two or, in my case, probably six). If one were so inclined, one could go hog-wild shopping for ink samples (beads used to be my art medium of choice; believe me, I know all about collecting art supplies).
However, I actually have a method to my ink-sampling madness (Sure, Tina, whatever you say. Denial is the first sign). Over time, I’ve come to find that using a fountain pen with water-soluble ink washed lightly for shading is one of my favorite low-maintenance sketching methods. It’s a popular method, and for good reason – you can cover a lot of sketching mileage with nothing more than a pen and a waterbrush.
My other favorite method, when I have more time or inclination, is using a waterproof ink with watercolors. Platinum Carbon black ink is already a neutral favorite, but sometimes I want a warmer alternative. I recently came across Platinum Pigmented Sepia without even looking for it, and it’s become my waterproof brown of choice. Then I started thinking a crisp blue might be a nice cool option.
12/3/12 Diamine Twilight ink, Zig marker, Hand Book sketchbook
So I am sticking to those three colors – black, brown and blue – and my plan is to settle on one of each color being waterproof and one of each being water-soluble. A total of six inks – a manageable collection. (Well, OK, I already have that bottle of Diamine Grey, so seven. I’m not counting that bottle of Montblanc black I’ve had for 30+ years.)
I’ve purchased several samples of each of the six types over the past couple months, and I’ve been trying them out a penful at a time to decide on my favorites. I’ve made my choices in blacks and browns, and now I’m working on blues. (I’ve alluded to the top contenders in past posts, but I’ll blog about my final selection as soon as I finish the blues. Stay tuned. Edited 12/13/12: See my post on my ink selections.)
An interesting angle on this is something I stumbled on when I was using Diamine Grey, a beautiful ink with a subtle wash. On a particular sketch, I needed a shading color with a bit more assertiveness than the ink’s wash alone, which wasn’t giving me enough values, so I pulled out a Zig Clean Color marker in light gray, which enhanced the ink nicely. Zig markers are wet enough that they blend well with water-soluble inks. So I’ve been having fun coordinating Zig markers with whatever water-soluble ink is in my pen to give myself more shading values. I did some sketches at Drawing Jam the other day with this ink-plus-Zig combo, as well as one sketch of the classical ensemble last week.
Testing the blues today at Zoka Coffee, I paired Diamine Twilight with a blue-gray Zig marker that has a slightly cooler hue than the ink.


  1. Nice sketches and good post on your process. Yay for Goulet!

    1. Thanks, Kate. It's hard to decide which is more fun -- experimenting with inks, or hanging out on and thinking about inks!

  2. I love reading your reviews of the inks. Do you have each ink in a separate pen? I haven't ordered anything from Goulet yet...I'm afraid I'll get hooked. lol Great sketches of the people, the knight, and even the Santas. You've been busy!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Joan. Yes, I do have a separate pen for each ink, which necessitates a collection of pens, too! ;-) But if I stick to 6, it'll be manageable. You could take a tiny peek at Goulet... BWAA-HAA-HAAA!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...