I’ve heard about the Deleter inks for a long time, but had never tried any of them. This is partly because I got into pen-and-ink before the boom in interest in manga in the U.S. So I already had nibs and inks that I liked. I’ve also found that the Japanese nibs and inks are not that different than other brands and are often more expensive since they are imported. But I’ve always been curious, and over the years supplies have gotten cheaper and certain U.S. manufacturers, such as Hunt, have gotten worse. So, partly based on a comment on my Tachikawa Jet Black post, I finally got myself a little bottle of Deleter 4. I’ll compare it here to my two other favorite inks, Speedball Super Black and Tachikawa Jet Black.
Deleter 4 is supposed to be the highest quality ink of the Deleter line. It is waterproof and dries very black. Looking at it on the page with the other inks, it is hard to see a difference. Jet Black is a little glossier than the other two, but all inks dry very opaque and dark. So Deleter 4 ranks up there with the blackest inks I have found.
Like the other inks, Deleter 4 is also waterproof. I went over the lines below with an ink wash and no ink bled or smeared.
So this leaves the feel of the ink, something that can’t be captured in an image. Deleter 4 is a very wet ink and it flows really nicely. Super Black probably flows a tad better, but I would say that Deleter 4 is a tad darker. Also, Super Black sometimes feathers on certain papers, and Deleter 4 doesn’t seem to as much. Ironically, the Deleter 4 does feather slightly on Deleter comic book paper. Actually, the only ink I’ve found that doesn’t bleed on that paper is Tachikawa Jet Black. Overall, Deleter 4 feels a lot like Super Black, especially in comparison to Jet Black. Jet Black is thicker and doesn’t have as smooth a flow. That said, Jet Black doesn’t seem to ever feather and it allows for the finest lines. Jet Black takes a long time to dry, however, so you have to be careful. Deleter 4 dries well, though I think Super Black dries slightly faster.
Here’s a list of the advantages of each ink in green with its drawbacks in red.
• best flowing
• fastest drying
• most likely to feather
• darkest, but glossy versus matte
• allows for thinnest lines
• doesn’t feather
• very slow drying
• thickest, so slower flow and more cleaning needed
• flows well
• very dark and opaque
• dries quickly
• worst bottle
• least cost effective
In the end, Deleter 4 is a really nice ink. If you haven’t yet found a solid drawing ink, then Deleter 4 might be for you. For me, it isn’t different enough from Speedball Super Black to switch. I have a huge 16oz bottle of Super Black that I bought years ago and am still working through. And that bottle was only a few bucks more than a tiny little bottle of Deleter 4. So cost-wise, Deleter 4 makes no sense for me. I will probably keep getting Jet Black though, because it is such a precise ink.