View Full Version : Lightfast, Water-Soluble Ink?

02-15-2019, 01:40 PM
Hi Everyone. I was wondering if you guys knew of or have recommendations for a lightfast, non-fugitive ink that I could sketch with and then gently wash with water. I am not looking for the whole thing to dissolve, just to get some tones. It could in a disposable technical pen or bottled ink that I could put into my fountain pen. I run into trouble, since it seems like most fountain pen inks are dye-based and fugitive and the pigmented ones (I do love De Atramentis Document and Platinum Carbon Black) are waterproof. I have some W&N watercolour markers that work o.k., for this application, but they are too markery for what I am looking for. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

:) Noelle

02-16-2019, 10:36 AM
You're in luck. Lamy black by reports is quite lightfast and also water soluble. Someone did a two month sunny window test here - scroll down a few posts to see the image of the test.


pedlars pen
02-16-2019, 01:48 PM
Hi Noelle, the best ink I know for this technique is "Pelican Fount india" , don't be put off by the india part of the name ! It isn't shellac based & is safe in fountain pens.Well not as safe as the normal dyes -don't let it dry out in a pen :eek: but I have used it for decades for this technique without problems.
It has the same carbon nano particles that you are familiar with in the platinum carbon & similar inks.
It is best to take your wash off the lines the same day you draw them but you don't have to.
Otherwise it behaves perfectly for this technique.
Another equally good ink for this technique is "Higgings Eternal ink" again it can be used through a fountain pen however after a couple of days the feed starts to slow down a bit ! :eek: - So I reserve this one for a cheaper disposable fountain pen & keep it washed out.
I do have a couple of very expensive fountain pens that I personally just can't bring myself to fill with either of these inks - Just in case ;) despite the reassurances of both of these manufacturers that they are fine in fountain pens.
It is though the nature of ALL pigment inks that they are a bit dodgy BUT they do wash to a nice even grey wash without the purples & greens that you so commonly found in dye inks.
The best light resistance of any dye ink by far (which still doesn't come close to ANY carbon ink's light resistance) is "Pelikan 4001 "Black only That ink washes well , lasts very well for a dye ink, & can safely be put into any pen without any fears.
I know all this as a result of my own light fading tests done over 10 months in a south facing window in a very sunny year ! & repeated twice over the years.
Cheers Mike

02-16-2019, 09:52 PM
Thanks so much to both of you! I think I have a bottle of Fount India that I have never opened. This was the nudge I needed. Of course, a bottle of Lamy Black also sounds good and I don't mind having a reason to put in a Goulet order. :) I could probably use one or two other things, while I am at it. I really appreciate these recommendations.

:) Noelle

02-17-2019, 06:04 PM
Higgins Fountain Pen India is another cheapie you might research. It also claims to contain some tiny carbon pigments. I've never done a test for light-fastness with it but it dries waterproof and I haven't had issues with clogging in my refilled Varsity "disposables" or my Platinum Preppy (very inexpensive pens and very inexpensive ink). Higgins FPI cost slightly less than 5.00 USD last time I bought a bottle. Might be worth looking at some reviews.

02-18-2019, 07:32 PM
Thanks for the info, Lamar!

:) Noelle

02-20-2019, 12:54 AM
Thanks for the info, Lamar!

No problem, but I looked at my bottle and did a little research and saw that it doesn't claim to be waterproof, as I incorrectly stated :( It does dry to a strong water-resistance, though. Higgins lists it as pigment *and* dye-based. And I've never seen such mixed reviews! It works great in my cheapo fountain pens, but it might not be what you're looking for since it does contain dye and is pretty permanent if you allow it to thoroughly dry.

Online prices are high in many cases. I wouldn't pay more than 6 dollars for it.

02-20-2019, 11:44 AM
Many carbon black pigmented inks are quite water resistant, because the pigment particles stick so strongly with paper fibers. One would need a paper with heavy surface sizing to be able to wash away such pigments.