Five favourite inks for dip calligraphy

Five favourite inks for dip calligraphy

Calligraphers have many different favourite types of ink. One thing for sure, is it’s often difficult to find the best brands for staple ink colours like black, white and metallic.

I have asked a few friends in the industry, (and of course included some of my faves)—et voilá!—here is your one-stop list for all your inking needs!

Sumi Ink

Hands down, by far, my favorite black ink is sumi ink. This ink is not opaque—great for scanning and digitizing where you can get high contrast between your paper and ink. Of the sumi range, I love Moon Palace, it’s rich in color, dries with a glossy finish and is easy to work with, which means you can focus on perfecting your letter form during practice. Sumi ink ink flows well with almost every nib and even if it lumps when writing, it will still dry smooth. 

I normally buy it here or here.

Finetec Metallic Palette

For all your shiny needs! Technically, these are paints rather than inks but work just the same once loaded on to your nib. Paints can be a little tricky at first, especially when trying to mix the right consistency, but this palette is worth it, with a shine like no other. They’re long lasting, a little paint goes a long way and come in a variety of beautiful shimmery colors.

To find out how to work best with Finetec Metallics, read this earlier post.

Check it out here.

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White

White ink is a staple in every calligrapher’s toolbox as it works perfectly on dark colored papers. Bleed Proof White is great for those super fine hairlines that sometimes white gouache or other inks can’t achieve. Dr. Ph, Martin’s is very white and dries opaque with a mild gloss, leaving minimal show-through on your page. It’s also great as a correction fluid, allowing you to go back and cover mistakes on white paper. One of my favorite things about Bleed Proof White ink is it’s durability. This ink does not smudge when erased, which is perfect if you like to pencil in lines first.

Purchase here or here.

Walnut Ink

Walnut ink is a sepia colored ink, adding a beautiful, vintage-feel to any project and pairs well with off-white paper! Daniel Smith Walnut Ink dries matte and slightly translucent with a lovely texture, giving depth to letters with lighter and darker spots in the ink. Although this ink feels a little on the watery side, it isn’t tricky to work with and flows nicely through the nib.

Find it here.

McCaffery’s Penman’s Ink

This ink is perfect for achieving ultra fine hairlines, lots of calligraphers use McCaffery’s for spencerian or roundhand script. Indigo is my personal fave, but this ink comes in lots of different colors. It oddly appears lighter in color when wet and dries slightly darker. McCaffery’s does not have as much contrast as sumi ink, meaning it’s not ideal for reproduction purposes, but it is very easy to practice with as it is thin and light.

Purchase here or get your hands on a sampler pack here.


Which inks do you love? Comment below and let us know your favorites!

Preparing your nibs for dip calligraphy

Preparing your nibs for dip calligraphy

February Wallpaper

February Wallpaper