Christmas Gift - Bombay India Inks

I've had the Dr. P. H. Martin's Bombay India Inks on my Amazon wish list for a while and, this year, I got them as a Christmas gift from my sin-laws. So, were they what I was hoping they would be?

So, for those not familiar with the idea of India Inks, a quick primer... India Inks were originally created in China and made their way into India where, eventually, the British got a hold of them and proceeded to mislabel. However, the name stuck. In any case, the essential concept is a fine carbon substance (such as lamp soot) suspended in water and that's it, no special binders unless it is to be dried into an ink stick. The result, however, is usually a very black liquid that dries to a waterproof finish.

Bombay inks are conceptually the same, but are pigmented in a range of 24 colours. You can buy them in two sets, I received set 1 for Christmas. I'm not sure that set 2 is really worth the effort, but I haven't decided yet. In any case, these inks are staining and dry to a waterproof finish. They can be used with a brush and watered to change opacity and they can also be used with dip pens and, they claim, other pens as they're non-clogging. I find the last claim to be suspect, these are pigmented inks and, with the earth tones, they have a tendency to separate and that leads me to believe that they will actually clog. So, for me anyways, I think I'll stick to brushes and dip pens with these.

So, the first thing I did was a colour mixing chart:



Some learnings from this:
  1. Black is overpowering! It took a while to get a ratio that was working, but it really boils down to a lot of colour to an extremely tiny amount of black. When done right, though, some really interesting looks come of it.
  2. White mixes creates an opaque version. In fact, mixing white with other colours really gave me a gouache like feel for appearance, it dried much more matte and had that creamy look to it. I really like the possibilities there.
  3. You can get some really interesting colour mixes, but best to mix off the paper and then apply because it dries quickly and stains strongly.
Finally, a little bit of fun inking Chip from Beauty and the Beast:


I should retry that at some point with watercolour. In any case, I didn't do a lot of mixing and the edges were done with a dip pen, but it was fun to do and I did it pretty quickly. I probably do not have a future as a Disney animator. 😆


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