Clumping of non-granulating watercolours – A clue from indian ink!

Apparently I just can’t let this subject go.  I am becoming the crazy water hardness and watercolour clumping  lady.    Recently I was reminded of this problem/puzzle while planning for participating in Inktober.

A few months ago, I saw a really cool demonstration by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law on Youtube.

Artwork by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law demonstrating textural ink techniques

In this video she demonstrates how she creates dramatic, organic-looking textural effects using Winsor & Newton Indian Ink diluted in water.  When mixed with tap water the ink clumps up, and deposits in a granulating texture on the paper.

Being a water-resistant ink, this can then be worked over with transparent watercolour without destroying the granulation pattern.  I thought this might be useful for some spotting effects I commonly see on dry grasses and

39025
Drawing Ink by Winsor & Newton (Image property of Winsor & Newton)

seed pods in winter, and stashed the tip away for possible future use.

I’ve been thinking about what to do for Inktober. I would like to try in

king with liquid ink and a brush for some of my pieces.  While thinking about what to do with liquid ink,  I saw some other recommendations to thin it out for grey washes.  I was reminded of the Stephanie Law video, and decided to look up Winsor & Newton ink specifically.

On the Jackson’s art listing for Winsor & Newton’s waterproof ink, I found something very interesting:

 

Jackson's India Ink Screenshop
Jackson’s Art Page for Winsor Newton’s India Ink

See that yellow highlighted paragraph.  Here’s what it says:

The colours can be easily diluted with water to reduce the strength of the colour or to increase it’s transparency. Distilled water must be used as tap water causes the dye to separate from the binder.

Yep, that’s right.  Winsor & Newton drawing inks are watersoluble, but only in distilled water.  Even small amounts of dissolved minerals in tap water cause the ink particles to clump and curdle out of solution, causing the textural effects that Stephanie Pui-Mun Law uses to such great effect in her pieces.  This behaviour is similar to what I experienced in M. Graham watercolor paints.

I wonder whether there is a similarity between the binder(s) used in the Winsor & Newton inks and the M. Graham paints.  Very intriguing.

 

 

 

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