I love trying out new calligraphy materials, whether it’s nibs, inks or paper.
There’s always something new to explore and new favourites to discover. It’s also a great excuse to get the pens out for a bit of a practice session.
I have The Pen Company to thank for my latest test subject – Diamine Drawing and Calligraphy Ink.
The Hertfordshire-based company was kind enough to send me four bottles to try out in gold, teal, sepia and white.
Writing with Diamine Calligraphy Ink
I immediately fell in love with the teal, loading up my dip pen (fitted with a broad-edged nib) to demonstrate the uncial alphabet at one of my workshops.
The colour was as stunning on paper as it looked in the bottle, very vivid and with a slight sheen to it once dried.
I found that the ink worked better with larger nibs – it tended to be a bit blobby with the smaller sizes.
Of course, this just means that extra care is needed to deal with excess ink before putting pen to paper – usually just an extra shake or two after dipping.
I chose a pointed pen to give the sepia a try, which is just a perfect colour for the autumn!
I wasn’t sure about the colour variation at first, which occurs as the ink starts to run out as it flows from the nib to the paper.
However, the ombre effect of the finished piece was actually quite pleasing and attracted a few comments on Instagram!
My go-to white ink, as with many calligraphers, is Dr PH Martin’s Bleedproof White, but the Diamine white is the best alternative I’ve found so far.
I find I have to water the Bleedproof White down a little to get the best writing consistency, but the Diamine white is ready to go straight from the bottle.
Unfortunately, the same thing can’t be said for the gold!
Due to the pigments, there is a lot of separation in the ink, so it requires a good shake before use. There are even a couple of ball bearings in the bottle to help agitate it!
This leads to bubbles forming at the top, so you have to dip your pen into froth before you get to the ink, which is messy and obviously not ideal.
The pigments also start to settle at the bottom again fairly quickly, which means you have to shake the bottle at regular intervals, which can get quite annoying if you’re writing at length.
The work involved in getting to the ink is worth it though, as the gold is as lovely on paper as my favourite Finetec pans.
The company has changed hands many times over the years, but the Diamine trademark and production methods survived, symbolising the finest quality on fountain pen, calligraphy and drawing inks and stamp pads.
Their range of drawing and calligraphy inks are acrylic inks, which is essentially the most fluid that an acrylic paint can be. They are made with the finest possible pigments, suspended in the most fluid acrylic resin binders.
Acrylic ink dries quickly, is permanent, water resistant and non-clogging.
The fact that acrylic ink is waterproof is great for addressing envelopes, but not so good when it comes to cleaning nibs that have been dipped in it. However, dried acrylic ink can be removed with rubbing alcohol.
About The Pen Company
The Pen Company is a family-run business that specialises in selling quality pens and pencils through its website, which is described as an ever-evolving stationery shop.
It stocks a wide selection of pens and pencils, from a child’s first fountain pen to limited edition collector’s pens, with brands including Lamy, Faber Castell, Caran d’Ache, Fisher Space Pen, Visconti, and Diplomat.
The Diamine Drawing and Calligraphy inks are available in 23 colours and a 30ml bottle costs £1.84.
They can also be used with brushes, but not with fountain pens, although The Pen Company stocks a wide range of Diamine Fountain Pen Ink.
*In next week’s blog, I’ll be reviewing the Sheaffer Classic Calligraphy Set from The Pen Company.