Platinum Khaki Black As A Sketching Medium

Platinum has just released six new inks and you’ll probably be hearing about them over the next few months.  They will catch the eye of sketchers because they are iron gall inks that are fountain pen-friendly.  Iron gall inks have the virtue of being “waterproof” and those of us who like to slather our drawings with watercolor always pay attention when that word is thrown about.

I’ve found it odd that one could produce colored (besides brown or gray) iron gall inks because creation of iron gall inks is an old way of making ink, combines tannins with iron to create them.  Nevertheless, lots of inks are coming on the market and labeled “iron gall”, whether they’re red, blue, or purple.  Better living through chemistry, I guess.

In the case of these Platinum inks, however, the naming convention caught my attention as every one of them is named Platinum (some color)-Black.  I didn’t know what that meant but was excited enough to buy a bottle from Wonder Pens, who got it to me quickly.  This is a very pricey ink (roughly $30/bottle) so Wonder Pens’ low shipping costs was appreciated.

I’m not here to review this ink.  Lots of people who collect or write with fountain pens will do that so a search should yield reviews.  I find the ink great to sketch with, though, and have it in a couple pens right now.  But I want to talk about the waterproof attribute, or lack there of.  As it turns out, the “black” portion of these inks seems quite waterproof but the tint that generates their unique color does not appear to be…at all.

Notice the small sketches in the graphic below.  The one on the right reflects the color of the ink after it has dried for a while (it darkens as it dries).  On the left is what happens if you wipe a waterbrush over it.  As you can see, the brown tint disperses, leaving behind a dark gray outline.  This particular sketch was done on inexpensive paper.  On good watercolor paper the results are even worse.  So be warned, waterproof in the pen world doesn’t mean waterproof in the pen and wash world.

10 thoughts on “Platinum Khaki Black As A Sketching Medium

  1. Oh wow….I got all excited!!! Then I read this article that you wrote. I am still searching for the quintessential waterproof ” sepia” ink! Thought maybe you found it!

    • Platinum has a permanent sepia, just like its’ Carbon Black. I find it too pink for my tastes but it is a possibility. I really think THE solution is DeAtramentis Document Brown, which is a nice, reddish brown that can be cooled by the addition of Document Blue. I’ve found these inks to be completely waterproof and I’ve mixed a cool, walnut brown recently. — Larry

  2. Thanks for this report! I have been very curious about this line of inks, and I was hoping someone other than a basic fountain pen user would review it — so that would be you! As you just proved, sketchers have different needs that might not be met by inks that are “waterproof” enough for writers. Hmm. This is disappointing, especially at $30 a bottle. A really nice color, though.

    – Tina

  3. I’m glad you told us about this, as Tina said we sketchers live in a different world when it comes to ink!


    • Alan, what those of us in Canada need YOU to do is to get into Wonder Pens and sell them on stocking DeAtramentis Document inks. I just ordered a new bottle of Brown from the US and had to pay almost as much to ship it as to buy it 🙁

  4. Thanks for saving me from making at least one $30 mistake, Larry! I love the look of the tint when the ink was hit with water, but if I wanted that, I’d sketch with a cheap gel pen.

    • Yes, the cool sepia tint is really nice. I’ve gotten close to it with DeAtramentis Document Brown with a bit of Blue added to it. It doesn’t take much blue to move Document Brown in the right direction.

    • Sorry to get your hopes up, Kate. The longer I do this sketching thing the more I’ve come to believe that beyond the fun of it, buying different inks is a fool’s errand now that we have DeAtramentis Document inks. A bottle of black, brown, maybe blue, and a bottle of “dilution” is all you need. Dilute black 5:1 (dilution:black) and you get Lex Gray but absolutely waterproof. Use either black or brown straight from the bottle and you get waterproof with none of the dry-nib problems you get from Noodler’s browns. Add a few drops of blue to the brown and you get a wonderful cool brown. Keep adding it and you can get to the grays that way. I like buying inks cuz it’s fun, not because it makes sense 🙂

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