• My Five Favorite Calligraphy Inks

    If I created a post of all the calligraphy inks that I love, you’d be here all day. So: I’ve limited it to five! These are the five inks that I use and appreciate the most, and I hope you’ll give at least one of them a shot. If I missed any must-try inks, please…

    My Five Favorite Calligraphy Inks | The Postman's Knock

    Before I start this post, a disclaimer: there are so many calligraphy inks available, and I’ve used a tiny percentage of them! Still, I encourage you to try the calligraphy inks on this list, plus any other inks that appeal to you. The only way you can find favorites is through experimentation in growing your collection — and you can never have too much ink!

    1. Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White Ink

    Dr. Ph. Martin's Bleed Proof White Ink | The Postman's Knock
    Bleed Proof White comes in a convenient, dip pen-ready bottle!

    White calligraphy has a way of catching the eye. It presents a striking contrast and has a “how-do-you-do-that?” factor! In order to create gorgeous white calligraphy, you have to use a nice, high-quality white calligraphy ink.

    My Five Favorite Calligraphy Inks | The Postman's Knock
    Creating this Flourish Formal white calligraphy made paying an invoice a lot more fun!

    My favorite white calligraphy ink is Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White. Bleed Proof White works so well because it’s not really ink … it’s more like correction fluid. Unlike a lot of white inks (e.g. Winsor & Newton), Bleed Proof White won’t smudge when you run an eraser over it. Just make sure it’s completely dry before you erase! (You can find this plus six other tips in the Seven Tips for Writing White Calligraphy post.)

    Erasing White Guidelines | The Postman's Knock
    Make sure you give white ink plenty of time to dry. White smudges are very difficult to correct!

    Internationally, you can find Bleed Proof White at:

    2. Daniel Smith Walnut Ink

    Walnut Ink | The Postman's Knock
    You will need to transfer Daniel Smith walnut ink into a separate container to use it with your dip pen. (I use an old jam jar.)

    If you use walnut ink, you’ll be rewarded with calligraphy that features a myriad of different brown hues ranging from very light to deep and rich! You can use it to create calligraphy pieces with a vintage vibe.

    Walnut Ink Place Card | The Postman's Knock
    Walnut ink lends a delightful antique feel to this Janet Style place card!

    You can mix your own walnut ink from crystals (or make it from walnuts), or you can buy it premixed — which is what I prefer! Daniel Smith makes a fantastic walnut ink that dries to a vibrant brown hue.

    Lacy Walnut Ink Envelope | The Postman's Knock
    The lace for this mail art was created using the How to Draw Lace tutorial.

    Internationally, you can find Daniel Smith Walnut Ink at:

    3. Iron Gall Ink

    Iron Gall Ink | The Postman's Knock

    My favorite iron gall ink is Scribbler’s Walker’s Copperplate Ink. However, that ink has to be ordered from the UK. If you’d prefer to order stateside, McCaffery’s is great, and so is Paper and Ink Arts’ Old World Ink.

    Iron Gall Envelopes | The Postman's Knock
    The thin upstrokes on these Janet Style envelopes contrast well with the sumptuous downstrokes. Iron gall ink can help you to make amazing upstrokes!

    Iron gall ink has a watery viscosity that makes it a joy to work with when you are trying to create thin hairlines. Depending on the ink brand, the calligraphy will either all dry deep black, or some parts will have a nice fade!

    My Five Favorite Calligraphy Inks | The Postman's Knock
    The ink shown here is Walker’s Copperplate from Scribblers. It will surprise you with a bit of a fade!

    Iron gall ink has been used for centuries by masters from Rembrandt to da Vinci. Again, I don’t recommend a specific brand. Whatever is available to you will work great! If you absolutely cannot find iron gall ink, you can try making your own (though it looks a bit complicated).

    4. Finetec Gold Watercolors

    Finetec Gold Watercolors | The Postman's Knock

    You can use the Finetec Golds palette to make sparkling, opaque gold calligraphy. I tend to use Finetec the most around holidays, though it’s great for any elegant occasion!

    Holiday Calligraphy Printable Exemplar + Worksheet | The Postman's Knock
    Are you feeling Christmas in July? You can learn how to make this flourished tree in the TPK Holiday Calligraphy Worksheet: 2016 Edition.

    While Finetec can render gorgeous results, there is a bit of a trick to using it! Last week’s Creating Gold Calligraphy: How to Use the Finetec Palette post will show you how.

    Creating Gold Calligraphy: How to Use the Finetec Palette | The Postman's Knock
    This envelope combines geometric George Style lettering with elegant Janet Style calligraphy.

    Internationally, you can find Finetec Gold watercolors at:

    5. Any Watercolor Palette

    Yarka Watercolor Set | The Postman's Knock
    I often use Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors for calligraphy because they’re very lightfast (and also great for watercolor painting)!

    When half of your family lives in Peru (as mine does), you learn very quickly that it’s no fun traveling with calligraphy inks in bottles. Travel with a dry watercolor palette instead! All you need to do is brush a watercolor hue on the back of your nib, and you can write with it just like any other ink.

    10 Artistic Corner Designs (Includes Free Printable) | The Postman's Knock
    Go for it — you’ll be a watercolor calligraphy pro in no time!

    If you’re curious about how to use watercolors to write calligraphy, you can learn in this blog post. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll never pack calligraphy ink to go on a trip again!

    Watercolors + Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock
    This sketchbook page was created during a recent visit to Peru. Everything you see on it — even the writing — was made with watercolors! You can learn more about sketchbooking in this blog post.

    As far as the best watercolors for calligraphy go, anything works! I’ve used everything from children’s palettes to artist-grade paints … they all write beautifully. Feel free to grab what you have at hand!

    I hope that you enjoyed this post! If you’ve got any favorite calligraphy inks that I missed, please contribute them in the comments. I’d love to learn about more inks, and so would others! For now, though, I’d like to say thanks so much for reading TPK, and enjoy the rest of your day. 🙂


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock