Comparison of different black inks

Here are comparisons of different black inks I've used so far. I'll keep adding to the list.

Top half of the square represents one layer of ink, and the bottom two layers.

Here's the quick rundown of pros and cons of each ink. If you want the detailed review, just click and visit the individual reviews.

There's no one best ink because each ink has different characteristics and may be suited for different use. And if it's pigmented, it's not recommended for use in fountain pens.

Ink Daler Rowney Calli Black Ink Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay Black India Ink Pilot Iroshizuku Take-Sumi ink (Bamboo Charcoal, Black) Pelikan Fount India Ink Noodler's Black Bulletproof Ink Rotring Drawing Black Ink Speedball Super Black India Ink Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Black Ink 60 Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Sumi Ink 60 Platinum Carbon Ink Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black Ink (セーラーナノインク極黒)
Pigmented Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Archival Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Black intensity A A A A A- A A A A A A
Waterproof No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Surface Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte
Concentrated areas Sheen Matte Matte Sheen Matte Sheen Sheen Colour breaks up Matte Sheen Sheen
Drying time A- A- A- A- B A+ A A- A- A A
Bottle opening Medium Small Big Cone Big Cone Medium Big Big Medium Big
Dropper No Yes No No No No No No No No No
Permanence, resistance to erasing B+ A- A A+ A+ A+ A+ A+ A+ A+ A+
Fountain pen use No No Yes No Yes No No No No Yes, with care Yes, with care

Below's the summary for each ink. Visit the individual reviews for a more detailed analysis and drawing examples.

Daler Rowney Calli Black Ink
+ Pigment ink, archival
+ Intensely black
+ Waterproof to a great extent (9 out of 10)
+ Opening has good size for dip pens and brushes
+ Dries fast to a neutral tone
- Dries to a slight sheen at concentrated areas
- It can rub off if too much ink is used

Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay Black India Ink
+ Pigment ink, archival
+ Intensely black
+ Waterproof
+ Dries fast to a neutral tone
+ Slight ink comes off with heavy erasing
+ Does not feather even on lousy paper
+ Bottle has a dropper
- Opening is a bit small for dip pens and brushes

Pilot Iroshizuku Take-Sumi ink (Bamboo Charcoal, Black)
+ Intensely black
+ Dark areas blend smoothly to less concentrated areas
+ Beautiful blown glass bottle
+ Holds up well to erasing
+ Drying time is average to fast
- It's a dye ink, not archival
- Not waterproof
- Dries to a cool tone bias
- More expensive than other black inks

Pelikan Fount India Ink
+ Pigment ink, archival
+ Black but not as intense as the blackest inks
+ Bottle has a dropper
+ Plastic bottle means it won't get affected on board planes
+ Dries to a neutral tone
+ Quick drying time
+ After dried, it does not smudge even when rubbed
- Dries to a slight sheen at concentrated areas
- Not waterproof

Noodler's Black Bulletproof Ink
+ 97% water-based formula, archival
+ Bonds only with cellulose
+ Waterproof to a great extent (9 out of 10)
+ Sold in very economical 90ml bottles
+ Holds up well to erasing
+ Suitable for fountain pen use
- Less than dark black
- Dries to a warm tone bias
- Looks blotchy when used to fill areas
- Dries slowly

Rotring Drawing Black Ink
+ Intensely black
+ Dries to a neutral tone
+ Pigment ink, archival
+ Waterproof
+ Fast drying time
+ After it's dry, it does not smudge even when rubbed
- Dries to a slight sheen at concentrated areas
- Bottle is designed for refilling technical pens and not for dip pens or brushes

Speedball Super Black India Ink
+ Intensely black
+ Dries to a neutral tone
+ Pigment ink, archival
+ Waterproof
+ Fast drying time
+ After it's dry, it does not smudge even when rubbed
+ Holds up well to erasing
+ Large base for bottle makes it stable
+ Bottle has large opening for dip pens, brush
- Dries to a slight sheen at concentrated areas

Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Black Ink 60
+ Pigment ink, archival
+ Intensely black
+ Large base for bottle makes it stable
+ Bottle has large opening for dip pens, brush
+ Dries to a neutral tone
+ Waterproof
+ Average to fast drying time
+ After dried, it does not smudge even when rubbed
- Concentrated spots will have colour breaking up

Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Sumi Ink 60
+ Pigment ink, archival
+ Intensely black
+ Large base for bottle makes it stable
+ Bottle has large opening for dip pens, brush
+ Dries to a neutral tone
+ Average to fast drying time
+ After dried, it does not smudge even when rubbed
- Not waterproof

Platinum Carbon Ink
+ Pigment ink, archival
+ Intensely black
+ Large base for bottle makes it stable
+ Bottle has large opening for dip pens, brush
+ Dries to a neutral tone
+ Fast drying time
+ After dried, it does not smudge even when rubbed
+ Waterproof
+ Supposedly suitable for fountain pen use
- Dries to a slight sheen at concentrated areas
- Expensive

Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black Ink (セーラーナノインク極黒)
+ Pigment ink, archival
+ Intensely black
+ Large base for bottle makes it stable
+ Bottle has large opening for dip pens, brush
+ Dries to a neutral tone
+ Fast drying time
+ After dried, it does not smudge even when rubbed
+ Supposedly suitable for fountain pen use
- Not totally waterproof despite being pigmented ink
- Dries to a slight sheen at concentrated areas
- Expensive

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4 Comments

Hi! LOVE your videos, thanks

Hi! LOVE your videos, thanks! I'm not seeing the DeAtramis Black that you've got in your group on the other video where you evaluate waterproofness of the black inks... Do you have a review of it? I have a bottle and haven't used it much, so wondering what you think about it.

Hello :3

Hello :3
Why is the rotring ink not suitable for fountain pens? Aren't tecnical pens as easy to clog as fountain pens?
Thank you!

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