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My Favourite Tool: White Ink

My Favourite Tool

A fly-by look at one tool in the hobby-space – what it’s for and why it’s good.

Liquitex White Acrylic Ink in 30ml bottle
White Ink

This time: White Ink

I like most inks for painting, but I love white ink. If I look at the level of all my ink-bottles, only black and white have any noticeable decrease, and the white is down by a whole lot more than the black is.

What makes white ink different from white paint? It is very opaque compared to how thin the ink is, and it comes out the pot the perfect viscosity for painting with. It is also very white, I think only my titanium white is closer to true white. All these things make it excellent for getting into places, like lens recesses, or into plasma coils. 

The easy flow of white ink and its opacity makes it very good for doing reflections on gems or other shiny surfaces that just want that small point highlight. It’s also very good for when you want to desaturate a paint (reduce the colourfulness) without significantly reducing the opacity (making the paint too translucent), white ink is also very good for maintaining or increasing the value (the brightness) of the paint whilst doing this.

I find inks in general great for freehand work, the white less so as it’s so bright but, mixed with some paint, it is very nice for lettering.

Finally, for anyone who uses an airbrush, white inks have all the above advantages and one really strong additional one too. When working on preshading you can easily lay down your shadows then add a few drops of ink into your airbrush cup and just let the highlights build up.

Even without an airbrush, it’s grand. What brand should you go for? I’ve used Daler Rowney and Liquitex, both of which have been very effective.

By Drew

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