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India Ink Replacement--Platinum Carbon Or Noodler's Black?

india ink black ink black koh-i-noor platinum carbon black noodlers black rapidograph technical pens

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5 replies to this topic

#1 nonwal


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Posted 24 March 2016 - 15:56

I use Rapidographs a lot in my art, and the old bottle of Koh-i-noor ink that I've been using with them is close to running out. It's not the greatest ink for my purposes--the shellac that makes it waterproof also makes everything shiny, which shows up on scanned images. It's also not as water-resistant as I'd like, mostly due to a layer of ink sitting on top of the surface of the paper and running all over the place if I try to use some watercolors over it. The solution to that, and to a certain extent to the sheen as well, has been to erase over everything really well to rub off any extra ink.


I could just buy a new bottle, keep erasing over everything, and deal with the residual shinyness. However, I've also recently bought some very thin-tipped technical pens that I don't want to get clogged (which almost always spells death for the hair-masquerading-as-a-wire inside finer rapidographs,) so I've been thinking about buying a fountain pen ink anyhow.


Platinum Carbon Black seems to be the recommended ink for anyone doing watercolor washes over drawings, but I'm also intrigued by the almost-perfect performance of Noodler's Black, which seems to have the same issue as the ink I'm currently using (ink left on the surface of the paper runs with water.) Noodler's is also cheaper, so I have a couple unanswered questions before I go off buying anything.


  1.  How does Platinum Carbon Black/Noodler's Black perform on watercolor paper? Most of the reviews I can find about water resistance are on printer or notebook paper, which don't have as much sizing as a sheet of hot press watercolor paper. I suspect Noodler's will do worse than normal because it binds to cellulose, but I'm particularly interested in what, if anything, changes with the Platinum Carbon.
  2. If you erase over Noodler's, does the residual surface ink just smear around, or does any of it come off with erasing?
  3. If you erase over Noodler's, is there any difference in water resistance? 
  4. Does either ink perform poorly in technical pens?
  5. Is there any water-resistant ink I'm completely looking over? Preferably black, but if there's some incredibly waterproof red I'm missing I might as well add it to the list.


These are pretty specific to my situation and I might just have to get some samples to test things myself, but I figured I might as well ask around here first.

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#2 dcwaites



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Posted 25 March 2016 - 00:46

Ink left over on the top of the paper is not a property of the ink, it is a property of the paper, not allowing much ink to absorb into it, so the rest just stays on top and can be wiped/smeared/rinsed off.

It doesn't matter if it is a carbon ink like Platinum or a cellulose-reactive ink like Noodler's Black.


You might get better results with Sailor Kiwaguro Nano-carbon black, because the carbon particles are much finer, and should penetrate further into the paper.


One solution is to dilute the ink or use a drier pen or both so that only the right amount of ink goes onto the paper, and there is none left on top.




“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.

And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”

Granny Aching

#3 carlos.q



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Posted 25 March 2016 - 02:30

For waterproof ink, besides the ones mentioned, I would recommend MB Permanent Black.
You could also look into Pelikan Fount India which is India ink without shellac:

Edited by carlos.q, 25 March 2016 - 02:31.

#4 Sandy1



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Posted 25 March 2016 - 10:32





In addition to the excellent replies so far:


Off the cuff, if you prefer to use a Radiograph, then use inks designed to match.

> Kindly consider K-I-N Rapidraw, which has a "high concentration of carbon particles." http://www.kohinooru...idraw/index.php  

> Use of acrylic-base draughting inks should also be considered.


As for water resistance across different papers, I found that paper alone has little influence, though that might be enough for 'borderline' pen+ink combos.


Unfortunately the flow-rate of the wire-in-a-tube stylographic nib cannot be adjusted in the manner used to tune an FP nib+feed, so one can only tinker with the ink to optimise the amount of dye/pigment delivered to the paper. As mentioned by Member dcwaites, dilution is a likely way forward; and even misting the paper prior to drawing could be considered. 

Dilution - A Rough Guide @ Post № 23 : http://www.fountainp...pens/?p=2315439


My Review of Noodler's FPN Galileo Manuscript Brown includes samples on Arches 185gsm cold press. It seemed to me that by sponging away the wee bit of ink that comes adrift after drying, subsequent over-working with wet media did not release additional ink. I imagine that technique could be successful with NBk. Any degradation of line edge sharpness would likely be concealed by that paper's texture. Also, if you've stretched the paper, and leave it attached to a water resistant board/marine plexiglas, then soaking the sheet after drawing would remove any ink/pigment that would subsequently come adrift.




EDIT to add __ As a sort of midway between the stylographic nib and an FP, the dip pen nibs merit consideration. I often use a Brause Ornament nib when I have a wee bit of writing to do. Those nibs have dual over-under reservoirs, so one can write/draw at length, and the ball point mono-line Waverley shape nib gives a smooth ride over textured papers. The flow-rate of those nibs can be altered by tinkering with the nib slit and the set-up of the reservoirs.  I encourage you to avail yourself of the trove of insight, experience and expertise of Members who frequent the Pointed Pen Calligraphy Forum, who know far more than I about working with dip pens.

> Brause Ornament nibs : http://www.scribbler...ament_Nibs.html

> Waverley nibs: http://www.richardsp...m/?ttp=waverley


Oh - anyone for full bore iron-gall inks from a dip pen?




Edited by Sandy1, 26 March 2016 - 06:27.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

#5 Algester



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Posted 26 March 2016 - 09:12

since this is radiograph I'm not sure how good my recommendation will be nor do I know about it's exact properties but I would go for the second recommendation over Kiwa-guro, next would be Kuretake's Sumi ink
another one would be Pilot's drafting ink you can either get it in 30ml or 350ml

#6 Arctic_Wolf



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Posted 28 March 2016 - 03:13

I'm gonna second the Sailor Kiwa-guro nano black

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: india ink, black ink, black, koh-i-noor, platinum carbon black, noodlers black, rapidograph, technical pens

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