Whether you are new to calligraphy or a seasoned professional at the craft, you want the best calligraphy ink for your dip pens and brushes. Inferior inks can bleed on the page, take forever to dry, and smear easily.
We’ve scoured the web to find the best inks based on pigment, dye base, and cost to give you a list of the best inks for your dip pen calligraphy.
We also direct you to which factors to consider when shopping for quality calligraphy ink. By the end of this article, you will have all the information necessary to find the best ink for your craft.
Best Calligraphy Inks:
1. Speedball 2-Ounce India Ink, Super Black
Speedball produces one of the best inks for dip pen calligraphy. This waterproof, quick-drying ink is made from high-quality carbon black pigment. The pigment absorbs easily into many paper types without feathering.
People who use this ink appreciate the fast drying time as well as the smooth black pigment. They say that this is a great ink for people starting out with brush calligraphy.
With this darkly pigmented ink and a dip pen or brush, you are sure to get quality coverage when practicing your calligraphy.
- Dark carbon black pigment glides easily onto the page and dries quickly.
- Ink is waterproof so you don’t have to worry about your documents becoming water damaged.
- Because the ink is waterproof it may dry quickly which would create less of an even flow from brush to paper.
2. Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink Bottle, 30ml, BlackView at Amazon
This affordable 30ml bottle of ink is one of the best for calligraphy using dip pens or brushes.
This ink comes in a variety of colors and is not waterproof to allow constant flow without clogging or leaving drips on the page.
Some users of this ink say that it is the best calligraphy ink they’ve found while others appreciate the wide color variety.
With a smooth-flowing ink and a seemingly endless variety of colors to choose from, our Winsor and Newton calligraphy ink review highly recommends this ink for your craft.
- This ink flows smoothly to allow the most comfortable writing without blobs of ink on the page.
- Because this ink is not waterproof you run a risk of your documents becoming water damaged.
3. Speedball Super Black India Ink, 1 Pint
Like the two-ounce bottle, this Speedball India ink is quick-drying and waterproof to give you smooth even strokes every time.
This pint-sized bottle gives you more of the quality Speedball ink that you love. The permanent and waterproof dye ensures that your documents will not fade or become water-damaged over time.
People love the dark pigment of this ink and the fact that it dries fast. They say that the pint-sized bottle is a great deal for people who practice their brush calligraphy often.
The larger size of this bottle is perfect for people who want to practice their dip pen and brush calligraphy daily, or even for artists who intend to use this ink to draw.
- The quality ink that you expect from Speedball in larger size will keep you practicing your craft for a long time.
- Because this bottle is larger, the ink may dry out or coagulate if you don’t use it frequently.
4. MZ001 Hmayart Black Sumi Liquid Ink for Japanese Brush Calligraphy
This Japanese calligraphy ink is perfect for practicing brush calligraphy.
Sumi ink is waterproof and made from pine soot which gives it a pleasant scent. The squeeze bottle is convenient for pouring the right amount of ink for your craft without spilling.
Those who regularly use this ink say that they appreciate the thick consistency. They say that this ink is perfect for brush calligraphy.
If you are looking for quality Sumi ink, Hmayart offers some of the best.
- The convenient bottle allows you to pour out exactly the amount you need for your project.
- This is a thicker ink that can be harder to manipulate for beginners.
5. Speedball Art Products 10 Color Pigmented Acrylic Set Calligraphy InkView at Amazon
A great ink when practicing calligraphy for beginners is Speedball. This smooth writing ink kit comes with a variety of colors to practice with.
This set comes with ten unique colors and a plastic palette to pour your inks into and practice mixing colors.
People who use this ink set say that it is perfect for scrapbooking as well as bullet journaling. They love the variety of colors at a reasonable price.
If you are looking for a variety of colors to practice with, this set is just right for you!
- This kit comes with a palette to pour your various color inks into and mix colors.
- The waterproof ink will keep your documents crisp and free from damage for years to come.
- Because this ink is an acrylic based it can dry up quite fast if not stored properly or used frequently.
6. Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India InkView at Amazon
This colored calligraphy ink comes in a kit with twelve different colors and is great for dip pen calligraphy.
Dr. Ph. Martin’s ink kit comes with white, black, brown, violet, blue, teal, yellow, bright red, red, magenta, grass green, and green.
Customers who use this ink say that it is of fantastic quality with great pigmentation. They are great for beginners just starting out with dip pen and brush calligraphy.
If you are looking for pigmented India ink in a variety of colors, this kit will deliver it.
- Each bottle has a dropper to deliver the perfect amount of pigment on the included palette. Perfect for mixing colors.
- This kit is on the more expensive side for a set of twelve half-ounce bottles.
7. Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink
Similar to the previous Dr. Ph. Martin ink kit, this India ink set offers everything you expect from this brand with a circular palette to make combining colors and working with other colors a breeze.
People who use this set love the circular palette and say that the waterproof ink writes smoothly and dries quickly.
This quality kit and included palette make it easy to write colorful calligraphy projects with ease.
- The circular palette that is included makes it easy to work with multiple colors and mix colors as you desire.
- The palette is made of thin plastic which may tear or bend easily.
8. YOLAKI Calligraphy Pen Ink
YOLAKI makes some of the best dip pen ink on the market. This twelve-color set is perfect for beginners and professionals alike.
This kit comes with twelve vibrant colors with gold powder included in the ink to give a shimmer to each color. They come neatly stored in a beautiful box which makes them a perfect gift for any calligraphy lover.
People love the glitter of this ink and say that it is perfect for bold brush calligraphy. The colors are bright and bold.
This ink offers vibrant colors with a touch of glitter and is great for scrapbooking or regular brush calligraphy.
- This non-carbon ink is far less likely to clog or cause blobs on the page.
- Each color only comes with 0.2 ounces of ink.
9. Dr. Ph. Martin’s 400032-XXX Bleed proof WhiteView at Amazon
Another Dr. Ph. Martin’s ink on our list is this bright white calligraphy ink. If you are looking to write on dark surfaces or paper, this ink is just what you need.
This one-ounce bottle of bleed-proof white ink is perfect for writing out mistakes in your calligraphy as well as writing on dark paper or surfaces.
Customers who have bought this ink say that this ink works great for writing on nearly every surface and can even be diluted with water and still stay bright on the page.
Whether you are looking for a bright white to paint out mistakes or you want to write on dark paper, this ink works for both.
- One-ounce bottle means you will have this ink to use as a whiteout or for dark surfaces for a long time.
- Because this ink can be used to white out mistakes, it may need to be watered down to use with a brush or dip pen.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Calligraphy Inks
There are some things you want to take into consideration when looking for the best inks for your brush calligraphy. There is a difference in color vibrancy, quantity, cost, and consistency among other things. Here are a few factors to consider before purchasing your ink:
Calligraphy ink versus India ink:
Both calligraphy and India ink are not meant to be used in fountain pens. Generally, they dry to be waterproof and can lead to clogging in a fountain pen. If you are using dip pens or brushes though, this will not be a problem.
Calligraphy ink versus fountain pen ink:
Fountain pen ink is generally more free-flowing and less likely to clog a fountain pen than calligraphy ink. Because of this fountain pen ink may be better suited to use with a dip pen as it would make cleanup easier.
Size and amount of bottle:
You want to be sure to compare the size of the bottle of ink to the cost. Be sure to know what you are paying per fluid ounce so you know which inks are a better deal overall.
While some inks are more expensive due to quality, being mindful of your budget when buying ink for your craft is something you always want to take into consideration.
Waterproof versus non-waterproof:
Waterproof ink may seem like a great idea, but the consistency of such inks can cause clogs on your dip pens and may be harder to clean out of your brushes. However, if you practice regularly with waterproof inks, you will soon learn the tricks necessary to get even lines and art that cannot be water damaged.
Making The Decision
I have two top picks from this list based on whether you are looking for simple black ink or a variety of colors to work with.
For simple black ink, the Sumi liquid ink by Hmayart is elegant and affordable. The squeeze bottle is clean and lets you decant the exact amount you will need for each project.
For a variety of colors, Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink set gives you twelve unique colors to choose from at a reasonable price.
Of course, both picks are among the best calligraphy inks, as are the other inks available on this list. Be sure to take the aforementioned factors into consideration before making your decision and be sure to have fun with your craft!