Not everyone loves ink spatters, but I think they’re fabulous for adding in a casual feel to a piece of calligraphy. Spatters offer a quick, easy, and artistic way to fill up negative space! Today, I’ll share my super easy ink spatters technique with you through text/photo instructions and a short video.
1. Make the Soon-to-be-Spattered Calligraphy
You can create your spatters on any piece of calligraphy! Today, I chose to make a quick thank you card by writing out the definition of “gratitude” on a blank watercolor card. I used iron gall ink and a Brause EF66 nib (+ an oblique pen) to do that:
(The calligraphy + guidelines actually took me 13 minutes to write; the video above is a time lapse.)
2. Gather Your Ink Spatters Materials
You’ll only need a couple of supplies to create ink spatters. They include:
- The piece of calligraphy/paper you wish to spatter
- The ink you wish to use to spatter (thin inks work best)
- A straight pen, preferably fitted with a Brause Rose nib
- A piece of cardstock, a business card, or an old credit card
3. Start Spattering!
Now, dip your nib in ink, then position your nib and your card stock about 1.5″ (~4 cm) above the paper you want to make the spatters on. Then, flick the nib against the edge of the card stock. The result will be an organic spray of ink that adds a special something to your work!
Here’s a video that shows you exactly how to do it:
Tips and Tricks
You can use any pointed pen nib to make ink spatters, but I find that flexible nibs (and the Brause Rose in particular) work best. That’s because the nib’s tines are nice and pliable, so they quickly spring to action when flicked against the card stock. If you have a nib that’s past its prime, use it! Nibs that are no longer suitable for calligraphy work great for this technique.
Note, too, that the more watery your ink is, the more success you’ll have in making spatters. If you’re working with a particularly thick ink (like Bleed Proof White), you may need to water it down before you use it to make ink spatters. Finally, remember that when it comes to spatters, less is more. A few well-placed spatters here and there are much more visually effective than a piece that’s covered in ink droplets. If you put too many spatters on your piece, the spatters will detract from the lettering!
Pairing Big Ink Spatters with Small Ink Spatters
For some pieces, you might want large ink spatters mixed in with a few smaller spatters. If that’s the case, I recommend using a paintbrush to create a few sparse groups of imperfect circles around your calligraphy. Then, while those circles dry, use the nib flick method outlined in this tutorial to make little spatters near the vicinity of the circles.
I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial, and that it equips you with the knowledge to create chic and intentional spatters on many projects to come! If you’re of the philosophy that no ink spatter is a good ink spatter, never fear: the 5 Ways to Correct Art & Calligraphy Mistakes article has you covered. Thanks so much for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!