|1/27/14 Diamine Chocolate Brown, Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-Same and gel inks, Sailor pen, Canson Montval 140 lb. paper|
One of my addictions is ink samples from GouletPens.com. At a very affordable price (well, affordable as long as you don’t collect as many as I do!), you can try small quantities of a variety of inks without the risk of investing in full bottles. I’ve discovered several inks from samples that I liked enough to purchase full bottles of later. But more often than not, I’m glad I spent only $1.25 to $2.50 on a sample that I either didn’t care for or that I liked for writing but not for sketching.
A few weeks ago I alluded to my fetish for the Pilot Iroshizuku line of overpriced Japanese inks. Not only do they have poetic, nature-based color names like Shin-kai (Deep Sea) and Syo-ro (Dew on Pine Tree), they come in elegant, stylish bottles that look like they should contain perfume. (Of course, the samples come in small plastic vials, not glass bottles, but I like to imagine a line of the bottles shining on my studio windowsill.) Over the past year, I’ve collected nearly all of the sample colors in this line of rich, wet inks that flow beautifully and dry relatively quickly – ideal qualities for both writing and sketching. For Christmas I received a bottle of Momiji (Autumn Leaves), a brilliant, deep magenta that I love writing in my journal with.
But time and time again, I fill a sketching fountain pen with an Iroshizuku ink, take it out in the field – and end up disappointed. Despite the depth of the colors straight from the pen in the drawn line, they wash with a wimpiness that leaves me wanting. When washed, they can’t seem to hold a candle to most Diamine inks (especially my favorites, Chocolate Brown and Eclipse).
I had just filled a pen with a sample of Kiri-Same (Autumn Shower) and was eager to give it a try at Zoka Coffee. I started a contour line of the woman on the right and her baby, and I was delighted with the medium gray hue that I thought would be perfect for sketching people. But when I washed the lines for shading, they faded to nothing. I ended up going back over some of the lines with my ever-faithful Diamine Chocolate Brown to deepen the shadows. As lovely as the Iroshizuku inks are, both in hue and behavior, I’ll probably use most of the samples for writing in my journal instead of sketching.
As for the man by the window sketched in bright blue gel ink, that’s another story. I’ve been experimenting with using bright gel ink colors at various points in the composition “story”– a central character (below) or a minor role (top).