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Painting With Watercolors Over A Fountain Pen Drawing...ink Ideas?

waterproof watercolor painting

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36 replies to this topic

#1 lunareclipse


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Posted 19 June 2013 - 21:34

By way of explanation, I have a young (age 4) son with a developmental delay in his fine motor skills. He has a difficult time holding a pen and controlling his hand/wrist movements finely enough to create letters or pictures.


His cognitive skills are normal, so it's frustrating for him when he tries to write a word or draw a picture and his images just don't turn out like his preschool classmates' pictures do. As a result, he's been avoiding using a pen, brush or marker at all.


He'll sit next to me and dictate what he wants me to write or draw - which is an enjoyable thing to do together, but while it's certainly helping his spelling skills, it's not helping him develop his fine motor skills. I really want to encourage him to practice using a pen (or marker, brush etc.) while keeping it fun and rewarding.


One thing I tried recently, with some success, was making a sketch with watercolor pencils, then giving him a water brush so he could trace my lines (or just paint the entire thing, if he chose!) and end up with an image he was proud of.


Enough background...here's what I'm looking for!


I'd like to try sketching with a permanent fountain pen ink, then adding some watercolor pencil so when my son paints with his water brush, some of the image will remain unchanged. For example, I might write some words for him in permanent ink with my fp, then add some watercolor pencil so when he's finished the words are clearly legible, but also surrounded by a colorful watercolor-painted design.


My top priority is to find a black ink that will be unaffected when it's later painted over with water, but I'd certainly be interested in other colors, as well.


Thanks so much for any help you can provide!!



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#2 JefferyS


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Posted 19 June 2013 - 21:46

India Ink is certainly the ink of choice when watercoloring over pen drawings, but then there's the clog factor. I would try one of Noodler's bulletproof blacks. I think even plain Noodler's black will give you a pretty permanent line without having to deal with the problems associated with carbon particle pigmented inks.


One company DOES market an India ink for fountain pens, but I don't remember the company.  Help here folks?

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#3 NedC


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Posted 19 June 2013 - 22:17

I'd say your best bets in a fountain pen ink would be Platinum Carbon pigmented black and Noodler's Bulletproof Black.

Edited by NedC, 19 June 2013 - 22:18.

#4 MisterBoll



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Posted 19 June 2013 - 23:01

The easiest way would be to use india ink with a glass pen. Let it dry really well and then add the pencils and water.

#5 lunareclipse


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Posted 19 June 2013 - 23:20

Terrific - thank you so much. I'll give both a go - the glass dip pen w/ India ink, and the Noodler's Bulletproof & Platinum Carbon inks.


I'm hoping a permanent black will work alright in one of my fp's (I'll try it with a cheap pen!) because a glass dip pin + preschooler could equal disaster. Even if I try to keep them in separate rooms at all times.


Of course, permanent ink + a prechooler can also lead to disaster, though not of the sort that lands one in the E.R.


Thanks everyone  :)

#6 weltyj



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Posted 19 June 2013 - 23:33

While researching the carbon black ink, I discovered it is 100% waterproof after it dries, but it apparently is a suspension of particles so you need to exercise caution when using it in a regular fountain pen.  I use it in a Carbon Desk pen which has an extra large feed channel design so it won't clog easily.


If you are not all that concerned about a tiny bit of black bleeding with the watercolor, it might be a safer bet to go with the Noodler's Bulletproof Black.


Whatever you choose I hope you and your son find it an enjoyable experience!

#7 wallylynn



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Posted 19 June 2013 - 23:51

It shouldn't be a problem, but the aforementioned Noodlers Regular Bulletproof black will smear a little when wet due to unbonded ink.


Biffybeans used to be a regular here on FPN.  Her website has lots of info on pens, inks, and watercolor.  The reviews are also scattered here on FPN, so it's easier to just go to her site.

#8 Chemyst



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Posted 20 June 2013 - 00:02

Terrific - thank you so much. I'll give both a go - the glass dip pen w/ India ink, and the Noodler's Bulletproof & Platinum Carbon inks.


India ink with dip pen or Platinum carbon with a fountain pen are good choices.  


All of the Noodler's waterproof blacks are going to give you a muddy picture when they mix with your watercolors, due to incomplete binding of the ink with the paper.  

Chemyst is not and never was a representative of Noodler's Ink. As misrepresentations like this are not allowed on FPN, Chemyst's right to participate on our board was therefore withdrawn, as from March 2016.
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#9 inkstainedruth


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Posted 20 June 2013 - 04:32

I recently ran across a Chinese ink brand called "Pen & Ink" which makes a no-shellac formula India ink (therefore supposedly safe for FPs).  It's not overly dark (more of a brownish charcoal grey), but so far it seems to be behaving fairly well in an Rotring Art Pen with an EF nib.  I have not really tried using it for drawing (so I'm not certain how water resistant/waterproof it actually is) -- but it was pretty cheap (at the Pitt Bookstore it was, IIRC, $6.95 US + sales tax (which here in Allegheny County, PA, is 7%).  Seem to recall that Higgins makes a non-shellac India ink as well, but I have not tried it, so I can't say for certain....\

Another possibility is to look at iron gall inks.  Don't know whether any of them are black (as opposed to blue-black -- and the amount of blue remaining on the paper after oxidation is brand dependent), but they tend to be pretty water resistant as I understand it.

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#10 krz


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Posted 20 June 2013 - 04:57

+1 for Noodler's Bulletproof black it holds up fairly well to a wash. A bit will lift or smear but it does pretty well while being easy on your pen.

How can you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

#11 K. Cakes

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:49

I definitely don't recommend Noodler's Black. Its only waterproof when its bonded to paper, and everything that hasn't bonded will wash off quite easily and muddy up your colors. It also smears something terrible when dry.  I believe Pelikan's Fount India is the FP safe India ink that was mentioned above, but sadly it isn't waterproof.  For true waterproofness particle inks are the way to go.  Here is an example from the great website Elva Field Notes, which I wholeheartedly recommend browsing if you're into drawing with inks (or just want to look at some great nature drawings).



"Here is my array of black ink samples: Pelikan Fount India, Platinum Carbon Black, Noodler’s Bulletproof Black, and Private Reserve Invincible black. First I tested to see if I could erase fairly quickly without disturbing the line; and then I added a slosh of water to see if the ink bled. Pelican Fount India dries quickly, and gives the wash. Platinum Carbon Black dries quickly and become impervious to water. The Noodler’s took forever to dry and still bled the next day. The Private Reserve still bled the next day."

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#12 Sandy1



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Posted 20 June 2013 - 16:06



+1 for the glass pen & India ink combo.


As I don't use Black FP inks, I cannot make suggestions based on experience. However, a few of the Noodler's Blue-Black inks have proven to be resistant to overworking: Benevolent Badger Blue and 54th Massachusetts. Both are very high maintenance inks, requiring one to be vigilant during use and bring their 'A' game to the clean-up party.


To keep things interesting, you may also consider inks that leave a remnant line that is of a different colour after reworking with wet media. (Often Brown inks, but also some other 'impure' colours such as the dusky Purples.) e.g. The recently discontinued Caran d'Ache 'Grand Canyon' Brown leaves an Aqua remnant.





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#13 GabrielleDuVent


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Posted 20 June 2013 - 20:12



Someone else asked a similar question elsewhere, about two years ago. I'm not sure if you've seen it already (and if you have, then I apologise), but here is the link.


A thread on Inky Thoughts also discussed waterproof inks, and quite a few people liked Sailor. As I don't use carbon inks I'm not sure how well they'd behave in FPs over a long time, but here it is.

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Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 


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#14 amberleadavis


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Posted 23 June 2013 - 09:05

I used a wet brush to paint over these blacks.



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#15 biffybeans



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Posted 14 January 2014 - 19:46

FWIW, I find that even with "permanent" inks, smearing is still sometimes possible. It has something to do with the way the ink dries- the top ink molecules drying faster than the bottom ones. Might be related to humidity, or the lack thereof as well.

#16 requiescat


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Posted 14 January 2014 - 21:11

I've had the same smearing problems with Noodler's Black and Sailor Kiwa-Guro Pigmented Black that some have mentioned; best results with Platinum Carbon, but even then I have to be careful about dry times.


India ink with dip pen is probably easiest; if you can find it (I order from the website in Japan), I have found Deleter Black inks extremely good at holding up to washes, but they are dip-pen only.

#17 Tas


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Posted 14 January 2014 - 22:45

 Hi lunareclipse.


I wash over all my inks when sketching and can concur with K Cakes' findings that Noodlers Bulletproof Black, well at least part of it, will wash away with water unless given a loooong time to dry.


I can also agree with the fantastic  :notworthy1:Sandy1 (we are not worthy, we are not worthy) and recommend Noodler's 54th Massachusetts. Once that fella dries, which doesn't take long, water won't alter a thing.


My top recommendation, for what it's worth is Akkerman's Iron Gal ink No 10. A beautifully behaved ink that goes down dark blue but will dry (eventually) to a black or near black colour. However you won't have to wait long before it dries on paper, 5 mins or so and then that's it; no shifting any lines it has made with a mere water wash.

I love it and it's my permanent ink of choice.


Best of luck.

PM me if you'd like a small sample. I'd be happy to post a vial over for you to try.

#18 penhand


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Posted 15 January 2014 - 03:17

Another option (that I often use) is instead of waiting for the ink to dry, I just use a sheet of blotter paper (can be blank printer/office paper), lay it over the page and run my hand over it once. This tends to pickup most of the ink that has not yet dried / bonded to the paper. Another possibility to try would be to thin out the black with some water to see if that gives you a faster drying time with the particular pen and nib combo you are using (may eliminate the need to blot). I've used both Noodlers HOD and bulletproof black with good results.

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#19 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 21:28

I was lucky, back in the sticks in the early '50s  four year old kids didn't have to waste time in nursery or kindergarten.

What stress....some father is gets up set his four year old son is not keeping up with the Jones.....ridiculous.


True I forgot Tiger Woods was swinging a golf club when he was 4 and I guess the Manning boys were getting over ten yards with toy footballs at age 4.


Crayon and no one expected 4 year olds to stay inside the lines, back when common sense ruled.


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,


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#20 Inkling13


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Posted 16 January 2014 - 01:48

How about this? I know that some manga artists draw in ink, but actually color in their drawings after photocopying them. Laser toner is neigh impervious to water, and you have the benefit of making duplicates... 

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