Let’s get inking with acrylic, drawing & calligraphy inks

by Art Materials on Aug 28, 2021

Acrylic, drawing and calligraphy inks

Inks are an age-old art medium used by tattoo artists, calligraphy artists, illustrators and fine artists who appreciate the versatility of these highly pigmented liquids and dyes. For our purposes, we will leave tattoo artists to their specialised craft and hone in on the ‘art geek’ basics of acrylic, drawing and calligraphy inks. These little bottles of magic should definitely feature in your art stash. 

Traditionally, inks were used for calligraphy with ancient artists also using them to paint detailed stories on manuscripts and scrolls. Today, artist inks have undergone a revival and most art studios will showcase these little ink bottles. When browsing art supplies or online - the colourful and tempting bottles of coloured ink are separated into acrylic inks, drawing inks and calligraphy inks. 

Acrylic inks

Acrylic inks are made using the finest possible pigments suspended in an acrylic resin binder and are the best of both worlds; you get the intensely pigmented colours of acrylic paints as well as the fluidity of inks. They are water-based and have the highest lightfastness rating of all artist inks. 

The Liquitex professional acrylic inks are not dyes and will therefore not fade over time. Once dry, they are permanent, archival, pH neutral (acid-free), and water-resistant. They are also quick-drying and have the longest lifespan of all artist inks. No wonder artists love using and experimenting with them. 

Acrylic inks

The versatility of acrylic inks is unmatched and there are 2 ways you can use them - straight from the dropper for an intense opaque colour finish or diluted in water (or mixed with a pouring medium) for washes and subtle tones. All you need to start playing with acrylic ink colours are paper (a thicker artist paper with a heavier weight works best), canvases or art boards, artist brushes, dip pens with metal nibs, airbrushes, brayers or stamps. There are 55 brilliant colours in the Liquitex range, including 4 iridescent colours. 

Watch this introductory video to Liquitex acrylic inks and then just start your own experimenting.

Drawing inks

Drawing inks differ from acrylic inks in that they are soluble dyes mixed with a shellac binder. Designers, artists, calligraphers, doodlers and illustrators love the Winsor & Newton range of drawing inks that come in 26 colours. Drawing inks are more transparent than acrylic inks, and can be mixed with water and other colours for versatility and overlaying of tones. 

Drawing inks

This video introduces you to some of the artistic effects you can create with drawing inks.

Because they are dyes, drawing inks are less lightfast (except for the white, black indian and gold which are lightfast) and will fade when exposed to light over a long period of time. However, their vibrant results and soft merging colours are ideally suited for portfolio works, sketchbook drawings, art journaling and digital imaging. 

Except for the Black Indian ink, all the dye-based inks are water-resistant and suitable for applying on paper and art boards. You will want to add a range of these adorable little glass ink bottles to your art supplies. Then simply get your dip pens and various artist brushes and you are ready to get started. 

Indian ink (aka Chinese ink) dates back to the ancient Geeks and Egyptians and has its origins in one of the oldest and most durable pigments of all time: carbon black. Made from ash, it is mixed with a binder such as water, liquid or glue and adds a cool, dense tint when mixed with other colours. This is a staple ink for use across all art disciplines. 

Calligraphy inks

For centuries the art of calligraphy has had a place in many cultures across the world. The smooth curves, strokes and flourishes allow for expressions of beauty and creativity that celebrate lettering and words as a unique art form. 

Calligraphy inks

Most calligraphy inks are made of a pigment and an acrylic binder, and therefore, like acrylic inks, they are lightfast and permanent. The Winsor & Newton range of colourfast calligraphy inks comes in 18 gorgeous colours. For application, all you need are a dip pen, fountain pen, airbrush or technical pen. (If using in an airbrush, the ink should be thinned with distilled water). 

But calligraphy ink is not only limited to the art of lettering; you can also paint with it if you are wanting a brilliant and opaque effect or want to combine lettering and images. 

Inks at the Art Materials Company

If you can't wait to get inking, then the Art Materials Company is your one-stop online art supplies store for quality and professional inks as well as all the arts and crafts materials your heart could desire. 

Try all our ink mediums and let the versatility of inking techniques take you on a new art adventure.