Inky Persninky

Tools of the Trade

Dr. Ph. Martin Black Star MatteI’ve long been a Very Fussy Inker. Back when I was still figuring out which supplies I liked, I used Winsor & Newton india ink. At the time, I was coloring my drawings with watered-down gouache, which has a denser coverage than watercolor. But I still wanted my line to be visible.

Not all black inks give you a really good, opaque black, and some of them bleed, too. India ink seemed like a good choice, because it contains shellac, which makes it waterproof; Winsor & Newton was thick and resisted coverage, even by my, er, gouache wash. When I tried to scan these drawings, though, the shellac also tended to reflect the scanner light, which produced ugly highlights.

Then I learned about my favorite ink, Dr. Ph. Martin Black Star Matte India Ink, from Yuko Shimizu’s blog, I think. It’s been love ever since: it is a dense black, waterproof, and totally non-reflective. Black Star Matte is a little bit harder to find, but worth the fuss. I get it at New York Central Art Supply.

Then there are paper and brush choices. And that’s another story.