Resources for Ink Art

When looking into ink art, the one thing I noticed: This needs much more research than I expected. Luckily I found some great resources that I’ll share here – right in time for Inktober.

Introductions to Ink

Let’s start with an inspirational video by Jake Weidmann.

Apart of “wow that’s cool” it also brings across the complexity that blindsided me. I thought I can just grab a pend and go – especially since I have lots of experience in drawing. But depending on what you want to do, there is a wide array even just of ink itself. Do you want to work over it with other colors? Maybe with markers? Do you want them to get soft watery edges? And do you care if it’s durable for a long time?

A really great primer on inking with brushes are the videos by Yuko Shimizu (if you sign up on skillshare with this link we both get a month to watch for free). She shares her vast experience, and starts out with details about the materials she uses. This one really saved me a lot of time of experimenting.

Ink Materials

If you’re rather into calligraphy than the brush painting, then the artist from the video on the top also has a list of materials he used. Notable is the leather mat he puts under the drawing – which gives a bit more softness to the pen.

If you’re interested in pens, then the Jetpens articles will cover a lot of area. Usually they sell Japanese writing equipment – but started an excellent series on general materials.

They add another one of these about every week, so there’s much more to find.

Using different Pen Nibs has a detailed description of how to handle flex-nibs. That one talks about fountain pens – which are not super easy to get, but there are vintage pens out there and I’ve read the Noodler’s Creaper or Noodler’s Ahab are excellent modern pens. The Konrad as well as the FPR Dilli… I just haven’t figured out yet where to order these.

Flexible dip-pen nibs are easy to get in any well sorted art store. And if you want to want to create calligraphy with these, then you should definitely look into getting an oblique pen, as pictured below in the center. It helps right-handed people to achieve a nice letter-slant more easily (not sure how it works for lefties).

Dip Pens and Oblique Flex Nib Pen

On the bottom you see the oblique pen, with the flexible nib I used for the drawing. Some other nibs are spread around there, with the golden one being a very broad nib for Gothic scripts – or covering big areas.

Dip pens are not super easy to handle. Here is a handy trick though, so that you don’t actually have to dip into the ink-bottle, but rather keep your rhythm by loading the ink with a brush.


And I’ll write in detail about inks later, since that is a surprisingly huge field, and important to get right. But the Parkablog has an excellent resource with a comparison of various black inks – which covers a lot of ground.

Drawing Tutorials

Independent of material, it’s also good to know just some techniques of how to use the black-and-white limitation for nice effects. Skillshare has also a great short primer for calligraphy.
And here is a tutorial about realistic textures for the shading.

About a whole process – from client brief, over sketches, up to the last details of the artwork.

Good Luck! And if you found this useful, and want to read more of my experiences, please consider supporting my patreon art project