Holbein Special Black

Holbein Special Black

For years, Speedball Super Black has been my favorite ink. I’ve just loved the way it flows, yet it has a tendency to bleed on certain papers. So every once in awhile I try another ink, like Yasutomo Ultra Black. But nothing flows as well as Super Black. Or so I thought.

I just moved recently and so have been trying out the local art stores. At one little store (Imagine Art Supplies) they had Holbein Special Black. So I decided to buy it and give it a try. I was immediately impressed. The ink has a similar flow to Super Black, but it allows a finer line. It’s less watery, which I think makes for the finer line but also allows it to remain crisp on more types of paper. But it’s not viscous like the Yasutomo inks tend to be. And Special Black is, unsurprisingly, very black. It is now my new favorite ink. (Of course I have a whole pint of Speedball Super Black to still get through…)

Holbein Special Black container

Another cool thing about the ink is its container. It comes encased in a plastic egg which twists apart. The top can be used as an inkwell or a reservoir for water. The bottom has a raised square section that fits into the bottom of the ink bottle and so makes it so that the bottle doesn’t move when you dip your pen into it. I love great design and this one is nice. Still, I prefer to use my own ink well. One, because I like it. And two, the opening to the Special Black bottle is quite narrow and so I end up getting ink on my nib holder of I dip directly into the bottle.

Holbein Special Black is not as easy to find as other inks, but there is this thing called “the internet” and maybe you can find someone who has a bottle for you. Again, I highly recommend this ink.

And here’s another recommendation by someone who creates comics, but a brush user. (though I disagree with him about Ph. Martin’s Black Star- too watery for me).

Comments

  1. Sean

    Japanese inks are always special. I don’t think there’s a blacker, thinner ink than Kuretake Manga ink, but has so much shellac in it that I feel my G-nibs disintegrating as I use it. So I mostly go between Liquitex Acrylic black, Royal Talens Indian Ink, and Winsor & Newton Indian ink.

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