The colours in the Pebeo Colorex Atelier set include Primary Yellow, Sanquin, Cyan, Cobalt Blue, Sepia, Magenta, white and Violet. These come in 45ml plastic bottles with eye-dropper caps that are easily opened and put back on again without much hassle. The eye-dropper makes it handy to get ink from the bottle without the need for pouring from the neck opening. If you are using dip pens, the wide opening makes it easy to dip your pen into the Indian-ink-gum-maskbottle, however it is difficult to see the ink level and you might over dip and mess up your pen holder. Alternatively I would suggest transferring some ink over to a smaller bottle so dipping can be made easy.
The set also comes with a bottle of Black Indian Ink and a bottle of Drawing Gum or Masking Fluid.
Pebeo’s Colorex watercolour inks are bright, luminous, transparent and produce a velvety finish when the inks are dried on the paper ground. These highly concentrated inks can be used like water-colour, either straight from the bottle or diluted with water.
On the 45ml bottles that I received, the specification is written as follow: Transparent ink. Made from dyes. Bright, rich colours. Limited light-fastness. Diluted with water. For air-brush, brush and pen. Therefore, unlike most artist grade paints, Colorex inks have limited light-fastness that may not be desirable for any artists who want to make their work archival or to last long. It would be unadvisable to use these inks if you have the intention to sell your artwork to the collectors.
Here are the ink swatches I made with the ink direct from the bottle without diluting with water.
Sanguin is bright enough to be used as a red substitute. Personally I find it a tat too bright for comfort and I would suggest that is is mixed with either blue or sepia to tone it down a notch or two before painting.
Conversely sepia is a good dark brown that is very suitable for adding a monotone wash on any ink or pencil sketches. When used without diluting with water, it is dark enough for shadow areas, and it can be easily diluted to produce a wide range of tones. Sanguin can be used together with Sepia to make a warmish brown with a good range of tones. Both Sanguin and Sepia can be mixed with Cobalt Blue to make a good dark brown or grey, which I find it a little too cool. There is a slight tint of green in the final mix.
Here’s a pen & ink sketch painted with sanguin mixed with sepia.
Here a sketch painted with just sepia alone.
Another sketch, painted with Colorex Sanguin mixed with a tint of cobalt blue.
Encre de Chine – Indian Ink (Black)
I love the quality of the black from Pebeo’s black “graphic” india ink/encre de chine. Very black, sits nicely on top of the paper and is shiny. No bleeding into the paper, and no feathering. This drawing was purposely done on some old cartridge papers from a sketch pad and with a new dip pen. Normally I would avoid using indian inks on such condition because it will encourage bleeding and feathering. But with Pebeo’s indian ink, there is none. And furthermore, I like the satin finish the ink produced when it is dried.
With the same paper I tried drawing with the same dip pen but with a different ink – a carbon ink from Japan. The result is shown below:
You could clearly see the bleeding through for the drawing that was done with the carbon ink, whereas there is none from Pebeo’s indian ink, which also works very well with a brush. Most importantly ink flow is good on dip pens and brush. No observable clogging or drying, no blotting or dripping from the nib thus showing good adhering property too.
Just a word of caution. The Colorex bottles are made with plastic which is light weight. Good for transporting while the seal of the caps is good so there is no leak no matter how you carried these bottles, but make sure you screw them tight first. However due to the light weight property of the bottles, it is tremendously easy to topple them if you are not careful with handling them. Just to prove it, I have accidentally tipped them over twice on the same night (but I managed to salvage all the ink that was spilled on my work desk).