Friday, November 11, 2011

Ink and Paper Test

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About a year ago, Strathmore visited SCAD for the Materials Trade Show.  While they were here, they talked to us about their papers and gave us some samples, which I've kept squirrelled away in my paper drawer.  I'm used to using Strathmore products- I really like their 500 series Bristols, and their 400 series watercolor pad, but I try to remain unbiased.  I'm under no sponsorship from them, so if a better paper came along from a different company, and it wasn't unreasonably priced, I'd switch in a heartbeat.  I'm willing to take paper recommendations, but please keep in mind two things:

1.  I am a comic artist, and probably won't buy papers that can't be used to make comics.
2. I have a limited budget.

Since I was testing paper, I decided to break out the collection of inks I've amassed, killing two birds with one stone.

Inks Tested:

Speedball Calligraphy Ink

Winsor Newton India Ink

Speedball Super Black

Sumi (not sure what brand)

Higgins Black Magic

Koh-i-noor (typically used in Rapidograph tech pens)

FW Acrylic Ink
Bombay India Ink

Papers tested with all inks:
500 Series Bristol (Vellum Surface, 2 ply)
500 Series Bristol (Plate Surface, 2 ply)
400 Series Drawing, Medium Surface, 80 lb

Papers tested with 2 best inks (these were trading card size, so I couldn't fit everything)
300 Semi Smooth Bristol
300 Smooth
300 Vellum
200 Smooth
500 Illustration Board

Waterfastness test- 500 Series Vellum

I tested a variety of conditions, including-
Copic fastness
Ability to cover blue lead (both the pencil and lead kind)
Erasibility (plastic, sand, and electric)
and ability to cover graphite

I tested with both a nib (spoon nib) and a brush

E.E= Electric Eraser (Sakura brand), E.S= Sand Eraser, E.P= Plastic Eraser BL Uni= Blue Lead, Unicolor (Mechanical Lead), GR=Graphite

My recommendations: None of these inks are really Copic-proof (The Koh-i-nor comes the closest), so if you do a lot of marker illustrations, you should probably use Multiliners since those ARE Copic safe.  None of the inks had major problems with erasing (a bit of a shame with the sand eraser, since those are meant to pick up ink), and a surprising number of inks are not water safe.  My favorite ink of this bunch is the Bombay India Ink, and my favorite inking paper is still Strathmore 500 series Plate.  I think the illustration board is really nice and heavy, and can probably stand up to watercolor.

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