Inks for Calligraphic Use
Complied and written by ©Claes G Lindblad on December 29, 1996.

Generally speaking, there are three basic types of ink:
1) A pigment plus a binder (like a gouache).
2) A dyestuff (like an ordinary fountain pen ink).
3) A chemical precipitation (like ferrogallic or iron gall inks).

Which ink to select mostly depends on if you need a fast or slow ink. Would you like some ink recipes?

Chinese and Japanese Ink Sticks belong to the first group, where soot is used as pigment. Although having very similar properties, there are differences. For Western calligraphy on Western types of paper, these differences do not show up as much as on Eastern (absorbant) papers. In my biased opinion, Ink Sticks produce the very best ink for all purposes.

Most of my research on Ink Sticks to this day is published by The Caber Press in Oregon, USA, in the book "Manuscript Inks". The first half of the book is written by Jack C Thompson and discusses mediaeval inks and how they were made. The second half is written by me, and deals with Oriental Ink Sticks from a Western calligrapher's point-of-view. Here is an Excerpt. To obtain more information about this book, published in 1996, contact Jack C Thompson directly.

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