Monday, March 15, 2010

Work In Progress

With layout and design decisions made, another consideration is writing fluid. There are many options. Any number of bottled inks, gouache (opaque watercolor and a favorite of lettering artists), bottled sumi ink, and stick ink. Each has pros and cons to use as well as personal preference.

For convenience, I mostly use bottled sumi ink when doing fine work. That and the fact that people generally want a poem or quote written out "yesterday." Since I have time, and this piece is for me, I'm opting to use stick ink which I will grind on a slate stone adding a drop or two of water as needed. When enough fluid has collected in the well, I'll use a pipette to transfer the ink to a small cap which fits neatly in knothole from an end cut from the log siding in the sunroom. The act of grinding ink has a meditative effect. The rhythm of grinding, the pleasant earthy smell of the ink help me to focus.

What things do you do to help you get "in the zone" before you begin working?


  1. I've never heard of grinding ink! How fascinating! Usually I can get into a mediatative frame of mind when I put on my headphones and sip a hot beverage.

  2. Grinding ink sounds really interesting. Your blog makes me want to try new things! As for setting the mood for my own stuff, it usually involves food or drink.

  3. Stick ink? Grinding? Who knew?

  4. Me! I knew about grinding ink and even splurged on a $45 ink stick after hearing stories about ink sticks in a Ewan Clayton class! but for good stuff mostly I use gouache. Did you know that in the final days of lettering the St. John's bible that they were having to ration ink (they were running out of the ink sticks Donald had been saving for years) and allowed the scribes just 8 drops of water a day?! You can actually write a lot with 8 drops of water + ink - yes, I had to try it. To get in the zone, music does it for me usually and a tiny clear space on my desk big enough for my paper or journal.