Let’s get to inks. If you’re drawing you might want to try out some India inks. I’ve already taken a look at Higgins India inks, but today I’ll be looking at Speedball Super Black. The ink comes in a plastic half-cone container, that is fine for dipping as it is very wide. It is very full though and can be easily spilled at first, so be careful. The cap has a foil lining that isn’t very good and ink gets on the rim and underneath it constantly, so be careful when opening and closing as there may be ink where it isn’t supposed to be.
Now on to the ink itself. It is black, and when I say black I mean black. It has virtually no greying even when applied in the finest or broadest of nibs or brushes. It goes on black, and it dries black. Though it is a warm black with a hint of yellow brown when applied very thin. It does dry fairly quickly, though not the fastest, and it doesn’t feather on any paper I’ve used, even in large amounts. It doesn’t bleed through the page, but it does have some show through and page buckling in larger dollops, so it should only be applied in one coat. It is quite water-proof as in it doesn’t even move when water is applied to it, though that is because it contains shellac which can clog up pens and brushes if not washed out properly. They recommend ammonia for that but soapy water applied right after use should do the trick if nothing else. It can also be diluted for washes etc, but because it is heavily pigmented this is not the optimal ink for the purpose as it could go bad quickly.
Overall if you want a BLACK drawing ink and can handle the problems pigmented ink presents this is a fairly cheap ink that may just be exactly what you’re looking for.
So a while back I reviewed Higgins black non-waterproof India ink for fountain pens. That’s a fine ink for fountain pens, but if one wants to do, say, an ink wash it doesn’t fare too well. There is a Higgins solution for this; Higgins black India drawing ink.
The ink comes in a tiny well with a small dropper. There is not nearly the same volume of ink, but the bottle takes up about the same amount of space.
The ink itself is very black. Very, very black. It is waterproof and a little thin. It can be used to create a very dark line right out of the bottle, or diluted with water to make various shades of grey. Unlike the fountain pen ink, which turns a greenish color when diluted, the ink remains black or grey. It colors the water completely black no matter the solution, so measuring the amount of the mixture before hand is recommended.
Overall the ink is superb for what it is made for, which is brush inking and ink-washing. It is very dark and handles very well. It dilutes nicely to create shades, and covers well when it does. It does take a little practice to get good at using it but when you get the hang of it it works wonderfully.
Higgins non-waterproof fountain pen India ink. I don’t really have more of an introduction than that. This’ll be pretty short because there isn’t much to say about ink. But there is still enough that it is warranted.
First off this ink is black, I mean really black, even when it is diluted by water it is still a solid grey, it doesn’t turn into a deep green or blue. It is not true India ink because it does wash off with water, but you’ll have to do some scrubbing. It is fairly thin because it is used for fountain pens, making it less suitable for most other uses. Applied over a large area it causes the paper to wrinkle, but not too severely. But because of this it is very smooth, and any line problems will stem from the pen. It shows through most papers and stains a lot of items. So one must be careful while using it.
Over all the ink is nice, it works well for fountain pens and is okay for other tasks. It is water soluble so it can be cleaned up (if not easily) which is a huge bonus. But most importantly it is a true black.