Ink Comparison: Daler-Rowney Calli vs Pelikan Fount India

Ink Comparison: Daler-Rowney Calli vs Pelikan Fount India

The two brands of ink here are the Dalery-Rowney Calli and the Pelikan Fount India.

Daler-Rowney Calli ink
Calli is made in England by Daler-Rowney. It is a pigmented waterproof ink that's smooth flowing (when it works - see issue below) and dries fast. Permanence is very high. It comes in a glass bottle.

Pelikan Fount India ink
Fount India is very similar to Calli but it is not waterproof. It's opaque and lightfast. I've seen it being wrongly marketed as waterproof on many websites (except Pelikan's). The plastic bottle comes with a sucker for sucking ink. This ink is made in Germany.

This experiment is set up to test how waterproof they are. I've used a water brush without any colour pigment.

As you can see, the Fount India ink smudges instantly with water. So don't get the wrong ink if you're doing watercolours. Calli is pretty resistant to water but doesn't seem to work well with Copic markers. Fount India works well with Copic.

The bad point about both ink is probably the thickness of the ink. I'm using them on a fountain pen with ink reservoir. The flow of the ink is not as smooth as I was hoping for. The ink can run out while writing/drawing because the ink has stopped flowing even if there's still lots of ink in the reservoir.

The good thing about both is they are very affordable.

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4 Comments

Other important questions: -

Other important questions:
- How thick is the ink? Usually waterproof inks are thicker and do not flow as well with brush and can be sludge to a fountain pen.
- How dark? Typically waterproof inks are darker, but that may not matter to an artist who darkens lineart digitally.
- How fade resistant? You don't normally have to worry about this so long as the ink is a true India, but as with sites falsely saying the Pelikan ink is waterproof, so is there confusion about what is really India ink. I always test new inks and pens on a paper strip and leave it out in the sun to see what the effects are. I once had an ink that turned sepia in less than a month!

Thanks so much for showing

Thanks so much for showing the ink-comparison vid.

Time's moved on a bit since I last drew with pen-and-ink, and these days I find they're putting all sorts of silly 'improvers' into the basic ink you buy from the shops, that make it waterproof / go funny colours when you try to shade it by getting it wet.

So I've been having some trouble finding a drawing india-type ink that can be used in a fountain ('art'-type) pen - and what you've shown is exactly what I wanted to know about the Pelikan Fount India ink - ie. that it'll smudge instantly once you wet it - actually what I want it to do, so that's a huge help.

Many thanks!

Thanks so much for all the

Thanks so much for all the reviews and comparison. Recently got into the addiction of fountain pens and all "thanks" to you :D I now need to source for some ink.

I went to Art Friend and all they got was the Pelikan 4001 series, though after using it with my Hero 501-1 I am quite pleased with the results but I still want to know is there any places in Singapore where I can get ink?

I ran across this review on

I ran across this review on the Amazon website where they sell Daler-Rowney Calli ink. I'm just passing this along to anyone thinking about using this ink in a fountain pen:

"While I think this is a really nice dip pen ink, it shouldn't be used with calligraphy pens such the Lamy Joy, or anything with a reservoir. I contacted the manufacturer who said that while it will work in a fountain pen, Calli ink may cause the reservoir to rot. So it certainly isn't safe to be using in fountain pen. It would of been nice if this information was included on the bottle, or at least a little warning like 'not safe for fountain pens,' since I have been using these calli inks in my pens for over a year now. Samwell (TX)"

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