Jackson’s Indian Ink is formulated with a base of high-quality shellac medium and purified water and is suitable for use with a brush, ink pen or airbrush. Painter, printmaker and poet, Mark Stopforth, tested Jackson’s Indian Ink for its tonal potential and the depth of its blackness in his landscape paintings.
Mark Stopforth Tests Jackson’s Indian Ink
Jackson’s kindly asked me to review Jackson’s Indian Ink which, as a medium I use a lot of in my paintings of storm laden skies. The quality I’m looking for is a deep dark black that doesn’t fade over time and an ink that maintains dark tones throughout.
A lot of inks that I’ve used in the past have a blue or sepia quality to them when watered down or indeed as they dry out. The bottles come in two sizes 50 ml (with drop pipettes) and the larger 300 ml. My first reaction is how slick in style the packaging is in both font choice and layout. It was slightly remiss of me not to read the instructions on top of the 50 ml bottles requiring you to push down and twist to break the seal. I’ll put that down to user error.
I used a small selection of cartridge and art papers to try the ink out on as the quality of the paper determines how good an effect I can achieve. As it turned out, two types worked best for me: a smooth bleached “etching” paper and a thin white card gsm 225, which again has a smooth finish to it.
Once prepped, I tend to do a wash with clean water and then introduce the ink to the paper, which flows naturally across the paper surface. This I then partially remove through ragging and or the use of sponges to create the effect of cloud forms.
From the first pour of ink into the palette bowl, it was clear that this is a quality ink, with a deep and rich consistency. As the ink hit the water and spread out, it did so evenly and again without any colour reduction or bleeding into blues and yellows which can sometimes happen with lower quality products.
Once applied, the ink was easy to pick off with tissue and sponges. I didn’t get much joy from using bleach to get back to white paper but I think this is more to do with the rich consistency of the ink. After I’d established a composition for the storm cloud, I then applied the ink in varying layers to get as dark a background as possible. Sometimes this means the ink can pool and, when dry, look shiny. I don’t feel this happened at any stage. The ink did dry greyer where thinly applied and is to be expected.
On the whole, I was very impressed with the product which provides excellent value for money; I would certainly make it my go to ink when looking to work in this way again.
About Mark Stopforth
My work over the past twenty years has been devoted to those landscapes that are associated with the untamed and wild landscapes that can be found in the Moors, Fens, Fells and Estuaries of Britain. I have carried those impressions of the sublime in the landscape that were left on me as a child growing up in the Fens of East Anglia, impressions that are still relevant to my work today. Recently it has been the vast immersive spaces of moorland and river estuary that have consumed my imagination and which I wish to evoke through charcoal, pencil and oil.
My influences are many and varied and include the calligraphic paintings of Cy Twombly, the tonal ink paintings of Hosagawa Tohaku and the landscapes of Constable, Claude, Cottman and Turner.