Once you have mastered the basics of pointed pen calligraphy it can be fun to experiment with some different coloured inks. I absolutely adore using white ink! I just love how the white ink ‘pops’ when used on coloured card-stock. Dr Ph Martin’s bleed proof white is my absolute favourite white ink. Here I will share with you some valuable tips on how to use Dr Ph Martin’s bleed proof white ink.
I have tried lots of different white inks in the past but this remains my favourite. It produces super fine hairlines and makes a lovely opaque white. It has become my ‘go-to’ white ink and the one I always recommend to my students
I do however receive a few queries from time to time saying, “Help! how do I use it?” Whilst it is easy to use, there are a few things you may find helpful to know before using it for the first time.
Unlike the black ink that you probably learnt calligraphy with, you cannot dip a pointed pen nib straight into a jar of bleed proof white and be able to write with it. When you open a jar of bleed proof white for the first time you will notice it is like a thick paint. You could actually turn the jar upside down and it wouldn’t run out! It is therefore not a suitable consistency to use straight from the jar. It needs diluting with some water to get it to the correct consistency. You can choose from one of two options.
Add a few drops of water with a pipette or dropper directly to the jar. Use a paintbrush or a stirrer to mix the drops of water with the top 2 cm of the ink. Once you have a consistency similar to double cream you should be in business! You can then dip your nib into the jar or use a paintbrush to load the underside of your nib with the white ink.
I tend to use option one if I just have a small amount of calligraphy to do. It is nice and convenient although as you get further down the jar it can be difficult to dip your nib.
Decant some of the bleed proof white ink into a small mixing jar or paint palette. Next add a few drops of water and mix together until you have the consistency of double cream.You can then dip your nib into the jar or use a paintbrush to load the underside of your nib with the white ink.
If I am working on a larger project I will generally use option two. I also favour loading the ink onto the nib with a paintbrush. Although this may seem a bit tedious at first, with some practice you soon become super quick at doing it.
Try both options and see what works best for you.
Sometimes a little trial and error is needed to achieve the correct consistency. You will generally know if you have that correct consistency by how easy it is to write with and how it looks.
If your ink is too watery the ink will be translucent and you will not achieve a nice opaque white.
If your ink is too thick you will find it difficult to get the ink to flow freely and you won’t achieve smooth strokes and hairlines.
You will know when it is just right as the ink will flow freely, you can achieve hairlines easily and you have a lovely opaque white colour.
Whether you are dipping your nib straight into a bottle or mini jar or using a paintbrush to load the ink onto the nib sometimes you just need to get the ink to flow. I find the best way to do this is just to dip the very tip of your nib into a jar of water before you put pen to paper and start to write.
It is easier to add more water and make the ink thinner than to add more ink to a mixture that is too runny. It is therefore a wise move to just add your water a few drops at a time! You will soon be able to gauge which is the right consistency for you.
If your bleed proof white ink dries out in the jar, try adding some water and stirring with a paintbrush to bring it back to the right consistency.
Ensure you clean your nib regularly as you write.
Dr Martin’s bleed proof white ink is perfect for lots of different calligraphy projects.
I use it to address coloured envelopes.
I use it on place cards for weddings and events.
It can also be used on some unusual surfaces like agate slices.
The white calligraphy gift set makes a perfect gift. It contains a jar of bleed proof white, two mixing jars, two nikko g nibs, a pipette and a penholder and comes presented in lovely white gift box.
You can also purchase packs of A4 black practice paper from my on-line shop.
I hope you have found this helpful and that you enjoy using Dr Ph Martin’s bleed proof white ink as much as I do!
Images by Lucy from Fresh Leaf Creative
I joined Judy's group workshop at the Langham hotel and loved every moment of it. The set up was beautifully done with our own personalised place setting laid out with all the tools required for the session. Judy helped us all individually, giving time and assistance when needed as well as showing us things as a group. The whole class was fantastics.