January 10, 2012

Comic Art Supplies - Ink Reviews

I think if I had to break down my expenditures, most of my money probably goes to restaurants and art supplies.   Wanted to review some great new supplies I got in from Jetpens.com (love them so) and the different inks I use, pretty much everyday.

Frankenstein is an exercise in style experimentation.  I'm not entirely sure where some pages are going, others come out almost exactly as they are in my brain.  It's slightly schizophrenic but I'm hoping the finished product is a success.

(Brush used for foreground, Tachikawa School G pen for details)

I'm actually nervous about these pages, since they will be shown in all their un-edited glory in person at the University of Massachusetts Lowell for their upcoming Graphic Novel Show.  (Along side super amazing artists ~ eek!)

Pro Art is my favorite, although it's extremely thick,
Yasutomo inks are slowest to dry but very fluid


(from left to right)

Pro Art India Ink
 about $3.50 for 2oz  BUY IT HERE
Both amazing and terrible.  Amazing = the darkest, richest black, incredibly waterproof and opaque.  Terrible = it is so thick, it will KILL YOUR BRUSH.  It will choke it to death slowly by clogging up the bristles, no matter how thoroughly you clean it!  * I went through 3 brushes in 40 pages.

PROS : cheap, rich, great dropper included in bottle, opaque and dries pretty quickly.
CONS : NOT free flowing, heavy, will damage brushes with lots of use.

Speedball Super Black
 about $5 for 2oz  BUY IT HERE

PROS : dries FAST, fluid, satin finish, waterproof
CONS : grayest ink - definitely not "Super Black"

YASUTOMO SUMI INK FUEKI green bottleやすとも墨汁不易)+やすとも墨汁SUMI INK 

 about $4 for 2oz  BUY IT HERE
PROS : fluid, great for quills, easy on brushes

CONS : dries SLOW, not super opaque 

(Extra junk:)
The kanji characters on the bottle (墨汁)are actually pronounced bokujuu.  墨 alone means any kind of ink, pronounced sumi and 汁 = tsuyu... (which means soup haha) ... but together they mean black ink/India ink specifically for art.

"不易/fueki" means constant / immutable, so I'm wondering if it means this formula is unchanged from the old days?  Or if it means its water resistant as opposed to waterproof? (waterproof/耐水性/taisuisei)

You may know sumi means ink, so "sumi ink" sounds a bit redundant, right?

These aren't for manga or comics really, but in case you were thinking about 'em, they are pretty good.

Yasutomo is the least waterproof



If you like to ink...

fluidly with a pen or brush ..... try YASUTOMO SUMI

with opaque, extra waterproof ink ..... try PRO ART INDIA INK

with a quill / nib pens ...... try SPEEDBALL SUPER BLACK 

washes like watercolor ..... try YASUTOMO SUMI FUEKI

◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇ DRAFTING ◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇
Boxy Black

 Oh yeah, you read that right.  BUY IT HERE

 about $1.50
  I've completely converted to black polymer erasers.  Auf wiedersehen , Staedler.  Very little smudging, very little amount of eraser bits to sweep up. A++

Kitaboshi Pencil holder + B leads
 $9.50 for holder / $2.50 for 5 lead refills  BUY THEM HERE (lead available in red as well)

 I typically hate mechanical pencils.  But I took a chance on this one and am happy with how it feels in my hand.  Absolutely love the sleek design and wooden handle.
Kitaboshi 北星 I think means "North Star?"

◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇ FOR FINE DETAILS ◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇

Tachikawa School G
 about $5 + $3 refills  BUY IT HERE

UPDATED REVIEW:  So previously I thought this pen was amazing, and I still like it, but I have to downgrade this thing to a B+. 

PROS : dries SUPER FAST, ink quality is good, accepts white-out, cheap refills
CONS : gets temperamental with line consistency, have to clean it often

◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇ FOR PANEL BOARDERS ◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇
Pentel Sign Pen
 about $3  BUY THEM HERE

For making panels, I always use this.  Round felt tip with good consistent line

CONS : It does NOT like white out.  So for the (many) times my panel boarders need a touch up, it takes 4 or 5 dots of white out to cover it.

* You can see where the Speedball ink wasn't black enough, 
so I went over it again with Pro Art.  

* If you look at Victor's hair - you can see the PENTEL BRUSH PEN
wasn't black enough for me, so Pro Art is over it

Pro Art is great for dry brush effects

Thanks for reading guys!  Hope this information helps!



  1. Ahhh! This is such a great post! I usually ink my comics with photoshop because I'm too nervous to do it traditionally. With this, I might try it though, it looks more fun! Also, what brushes do you use for the ink? Is that what you meant when you listed the pens?

  2. What an amazing review! Holy crap, you know your inks! You should put it up on LCS or link it probably everywhere because this is all such great stuff to know!

  3. i appreciate this review!!!! i wish I had the skill to really hone my inks but im lazy and just use prisma and fabercastell pens


  4. aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so amazing! I dont know how you could be so skilled with ink.. I was left with ink once and let's just say my brother was not happy about having to redo his project because someone knocked some ink over..........


    I love the texture on the front of the train!

  5. Thanks guys!

    Oh my goodness, Becca, many projects have been ruined with my inky fingers....

  6. Great post Veronica! Have you ever given Dr. Ph. Martin's Black Star India Ink a spin? http://www.docmartins.com/collections/black-star-matte-india-ink It makes for some pretty dense blacks and is very fluid, at least from my experience.

  7. Hey lady! This is awesome! I'd also love to know your opinions, if you have any, on various brush pens.

  8. Thanks guys!

    Hey Alison, you can see my reviews on other brush pens by clicking the "Review" tab up at the top, or the "Previous Reviews" link at the bottom of the post, and scroll down to the posts about Pentel Brush pens

  9. I think if I had to separate down my expenses, most of my cash probably goes to dining places and art resources.

    scrapbook supplies

  10. very usefull! Thank you. And I love your line!

  11. Great review Veronica. I think I might have to hit up the shop today as my current bottle of Speedball is getting a bit "chunky/goopy" (especially for brush work). Thanks for sharing your findings.

  12. Veronica. I wanted to thank you for the wonderful ink review. I'm an artist that does black and white ink drawings of animals. You can see them on my blog at http://timjeffsart.blogspot.com/p/ink-drawings.html I wanted to ask your permission to re-post you ink photographs on my blog. I would give you credit and have a link directly to your ink review post. So many people ask me about which ink I use, (which is Pro Art) and I would love to share your review with them. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. My email is tjeffs@gmail.com. All the best, Tim

  13. Bought a bottle of Pro Art's ink today. I'm still a tad hesitant for two things. One, it has an odd smell to it. and two, the health label from the state of California stating it has a chemical known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. I suppose if I don't use it most of the time I should be fine.