top of page
  • Helen Grimbleby

Top three reasons to use ink for painting away from home.

Following on from last week’s update, let’s look at the advantages of using ink for painting outdoors or for landscape painting generally.

#1 Versatility & cost

Ink is incredibly versatile. You can get an awful lot from a small set of supplies. As you don’t need over much it is easy to carry* (see caveat below) and costs relatively little.

In a way ink is mixed media in one bottle as you can both paint and draw with it. Use a stick or a pen for intricate, bold and interesting linework or traditional sketching techniques such as hatching.

Alternatively use a brush for washes or detailed painted application.

Painting with ink you can cover large areas and eliminate the challenge of a blank white page.

You can prepare pages of loose washes of colour and add interesting marks before you even consider your subject which makes art life much more interesting.

#2 Variety

With painting techniques you can achieve such different and interesting results from using ink both wet on dry and wet on wet.

Indian, acrylic and some sketching inks are waterproof allowing layers to be laid down that do not lift or disturb previous drawing or painting. This can add depth to your work.

Similarly, you can draw onto wet paint or wet paper or use drawing onto dry for a wide variety of lines, tones and techniques.

#3 Simplicity and transportation

1. I can fit this option in a handbag and consists of a few loose pieces of watercolour paper of approximately A6 size plus:

  • fude (55 by sailor) or bent nib fountain pen filled with waterproof “Lotte” black sketch ink from Rohrer & Klinger

  • regular fountain pen filled with waterproof “Lilly” green/brown sketch ink

  • 2 brush fountain pens for ink filled with black and brown acrylic ink

  • Water brush

  • Small plastic spray bottle filled with water

  • Kitchen towel

Sometimes I expand the kit a little with:

  • watercolours in a small refillable watercolour travel box with build in palette

  • small pot of water or a water filled water brush

  • some pencils, eraser and sharpener.

2.  This usually goes in a backpack, a sketchbook or larger pieces of watercolour paper (A5 & A4 sizes) plus:

  • Three bottles of acrylic ink, one black, one brown/sepia, one white in a plastic click lock box

  • Equipment for ink :

    • Three pipettes (one for each colour of ink – some bottles come with them but mine didn’t)

    • Bamboo dip pen

    • Watercolour round brush around size 10/12 with a good point

    • Old credit card for painting or scoring

    • Mint tin size small metal tin that opens flat as a palette upon which to dropper and dilute the inks

    • Other drawing equipment:

    • Water soluble graphite pencil

    • pencil sharpener

    • charcoal

    • regular pencil

    • erasers (putty & hard)

    • kitchen towel


*caveat – carrying bottles of ink comes with a risk of leakage! After learning the hard way - I manage this by keeping mine in a plastic box that stay upright in my bag  so if I do have leaks they will be contained!

Please ask if you have any questions about what I use or why.

Thank you for reading!

Helen x


bottom of page