Ink Review: DeAtramentis Artist Green, Brown, Black

Review by Tina Koyama

It may seem like fountain pen inks come in a bazillion colors, and they do – but the vast majority are water-soluble. Finding a range of ink colors that are also solidly waterproof isn’t as easy. Some may say they are waterproof and may be sufficiently water-resistant for addressing an envelope, but if watercolors or other wet media were applied over them, they could smear. Of the ones I’ve tried, DeAtramentis offers the widest range of hues that are also sufficiently waterproof for use as an art medium.

I suppose that’s why the German ink maker’s latest line of waterproof inks is called DeAtramentis Artist. I’m not sure how different its formula is from the DeAtramentis Document line, which is also waterproof, but at least on Vanness Pen Shop’s website, the Artist inks are described as being lightfast as well as waterproof. Available in eight colors, “All inks of this group are mixable with each other. The inks can be painted and written with fountain pen, brush and quill pen.” (Awhile back, I reviewed DeAtramentis Document inks in Fog Grey, Dark Red and White.)

1 - pens and swatches

For this review, I tried the Artist inks in Green, Brown and Black. Green is on the slightly cool side tending toward emerald. Brown is a rich chocolate that is neither orangey nor grayish. Black is neutral, although in the brush swatch, it’s a bit on the warm side. (I had a chance to sample the inks on some Col-o-Ring Dippers!)

2 - Dippers and samples

These inks do not show fancy features like sheening or shading, but they would be excellent for addressing envelopes or writing in a journal when you might be apt to spill a beverage on it. They are also ideal for sketching with wet media, which is my primary interest with these inks.

After making my usual swatches on Col-o-Ring cards with various fountain pens and a brush, I gave them a good hour or two of drying time. Then I swiped them with a waterbrush. Even the thick brush swatches barely show traces of bleeding (right side of cards).

3 - DeAtramentis Artist inks -cards

My long-time favorite black waterproof ink for sketching is Platinum Carbon Black, which I have used for years because it dries very quickly and then becomes as waterproof as I need it to be with wet media. I decided to put it head-to-head with Black DeAtramentis Artist. Since I had sampled the DeAtramentis with my juicy Franklin-Christoph fude nib, I used an equally juicy Sailor Naginata fude nib for the Platinum ink.

4 - DeAtramentis and Platinum Carbon test

I typically draw with ink and then apply wet media immediately afterwards, and I don’t like to be kept waiting. For this test, I waited only one minute before putting my waterbrush through the lines (right side of scribbles). As you can see, whether I wait a minute or an hour (on the left), the very minor solubility is negligible. DeAtramentis Artist is just as waterproof as Platinum Carbon and dries just as quickly. The bonus is that DeAtramentis is available in a much wider range of colors.

Convinced that the ink wouldn’t bleed all over my sketch, I stood on our upstairs deck to sketch the fully blossomed cherry tree across the street. As soon as I made the ink lines, I colored the blossoms with water-soluble Caran d’Ache Supracolor pencils. Then I spritzed it generously with water to activate the color. I see no trace of bleeding from the ink.

I know that waterproof DeAtramentis inks are popular with many sketchers, and I can see why. The collection offers fast-drying, fully waterproof inks in more colors than I’ve seen elsewhere.


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Vanness Pen Shop for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thanks for the review! I’ve started sketching a bit with my pens and am happy to know about these inks. How safe are they for different kinds of pens and how easy are they to clean out?


  2. Ruth I’m interested in the same question. I’m going to write deAtramentis directly to find out. I’ve heard some users say just be sure to clean your pens regularly and use them often, as these are nano-particles of pigment and have more clogging tendency.

    You can also use the dilution (thinner) offered by deAtramentis. They offer it for document inks and the artist inks line. I really don’t know the difference between the document inks and the artist inks in terms of “ingredients” or the thinners. The thinners extend the ink and you can work out how much lighter you want it. Good for shades of the colour, as in shades of sepia, black can become grey etc.

  3. Carmel,

    Did you ever hear from deAtrementis? I've been using the document inks a bit and the ease of flow seems to vary from colour to colour (or maybe it's bottle to bottle). I'd be interested to know if you found out anything.


    1. I checked the DeAtramentis web site to see if there was a way to contact them directly with no real success. I will ask around to some of the ink makers I know but from what I understand, the pigment can change the viscosity of the ink even when every other property stays the same. With that knowledge, I think it is possible that the document inks will vary in terms of flow from color to color just like non-document inks tend to do. Sigh… if only it was easier!

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