Today’s blog post will benefit you if you’re looking for a no-fuss sparkling calligraphy ink (Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent) or a widely available, stunning “ink” (Pearl Ex powdered pigments)! You’ll become more acquainted with both inks — pros and cons — in this post. If you missed Part I of this series, you can read it here in order to develop a clear idea of which metallic ink is right for you!
Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent Calligraphy Ink
Dr. Ph. Martin’s is a well-known, widely-distributed brand of art supplies. They mostly specialize in watercolors and inks, and I have to say that I have enjoyed all of the Dr. Ph. Martin’s inks that I have tried. Their line of Iridescent inks is especially impressive; the colors are beautiful and … well … sparkly, as one would imagine.
I think my favorite thing about the Iridescent inks is they are fuss-free. Out of the four types of metallic inks outlined between Parts I and II of this sparkling inks series of posts, I would say that Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent is the most convenient to use! All you need to do before use is give the ink a vigorous shake to mix everything together, dip your pen in (no need to brush the color on!), and you’ll be rewarded with a splendid, luxe color as shown in the Amy Style envelope below.
While I favor Finetec for most of my metallic/sparkling calligraphy, Iridescent calligraphy inks are undeniably convenient. I especially love the “Black Sparkle” tone; it dries matte, and yet there’s an undeniable glitter to it! It elevates the roses and swirls envelope art pictured below to a new level of elegance.
Again, the really nice thing about Iridescent inks is the fact that you can simply dip your nib in, and you’re good to go — which is rare in a metallic ink. There’s (usually) no need to dilute, and the color flows brilliantly. However, I do find that the Copperplate Gold is a little bit dull when compared to Finetec. Also, the inks do tend to separate over time, which leaves you with a glue-like mess at the bottom of the bottle and translucent ink at the top. It’s pretty difficult to re-mix the ink to what it was when you first got it.
You can find Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent inks at Paper and Ink Arts in the US. For other countries, see the Where to Purchase Calligraphy Supplies page.
PearlEx Powdered Pigments
Like Lumiere (detailed in Part I), PearlEx powdered pigments are made by the Jacquard company; they were developed as a way to add sparkle to anything they’re mixed in to. The Jacquard website suggests them for everyone from watercolor painters to auto detailers, and lately they’ve been getting a lot of buzz among calligraphers. I believe this is due in large part to Joi Hunt of Bien Fait Calligraphy, who uses PearlEx pigments often and well! She has a great article/video over how to mix PearlEx pigments into a calligraphy-friendly ink, which I definitely recommend that you check out. The recipe basically requires taking some pigment (Joi recommends one teaspoon)…
And adding one part gum arabic (1/4 teaspoon) and some water (1 teaspoon).
Use a stir stick to mix it all together, and the result will be a positively luminous ink!
You can add a little more water if the mixture is too viscous for your taste; I almost always add a few drops more! It’s all about what works for you and your preferences. Once you make your calligraphy ink, you can use it on dark papers and light papers alike! It’s delightfully sparkly and opaque.
My favorite thing about PearlEx is, like its Lumiere sibling, it changes colors depending on the angle you’re viewing it at. It also comes in several gorgeous tones, and it’s widely available.
Though I appreciate the color of the PearlEx pigments, I have to admit that I often have difficulty getting the upstrokes/hairlines to show up. That’s probably because I add a little too much water to my mixture, but it’s still worth noting. I also find myself lazy to measure out all the ratios of powder:gum arabic:water; the need to mix/concoct often deters me from using my Pearl Ex pigments. That said, once you do mix everything up, as long as you keep it in an airtight container, the ink should last you for a while!
PearlEx pigments are available in several countries! You can purchase them in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and several other places (check here for local availability). Just make sure you also purchase some gum arabic to mix in!
Thanks very much for reading this series of ink-centric posts; in the next TPK blog post, we’ll take a break from the ink discussion to make a fun creative project! In the next few weeks, though, I’ll return to the topic of ink to share some fantastic black inks, colored inks, and white inks.
Have a great weekend!