Three Ways to Prevent Ink Blobs

Ink blobs can make Copperplate practice a frustrating and messy experience.  I find that the best way to deal with them is to prevent them.

WHAT IS AN INK BLOB?

An ink blob is a small pool or bead of ink that collects within or on top of  shaded strokes.

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Red arrows indicate ink blobs. It’s hard to see the globule on the right ‘a’, but trust me, it’s a tiny blob of ink.

WHAT CAUSES INK TO BLOB?

To prevent these globules form occurring, let’s identify what causes them.

From my experience, ink blobs happen when:

  1. The nib has not been properly prepared.
  2. There isn’t enough ink on the nib.
  3. There’s too much ink on the nib.

 

HOW TO PREVENT INK BLOBS

Preventing ink blobs is easy.  If you keep these things in mind, you’ll minimize your ink blob experience.

1. PREPARE YOUR NIB

Unprepared nibs tend to cause ink to form globules.

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See the ink collecting on the tines of the nib?  When the ink unevenly adheres to the nib like this, they sometimes transfer on to the paper in globs.

Preparing your nib before you use it is very important.  During manufacturing, nibs are coated with a clear protective varnish that keeps them from rusting while in storage.  Removing this coating will help the ink adhere to the nib evenly.

Protective coating may be removed with dish washing detergent or toothpaste

Removing the varnish using toothpaste.

To learn how to prepare your nibs, click here.

2. LOAD ENOUGH INK ONTO YOUR NIB

Dip your pen in your ink well just past the vent hole.

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Dip your nib in your ink well past the vent hole.

If your nib doesn’t have enough ink, the ink may pool at the very top of your stroke due to the cohesion properties of liquid.

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Left: Nib not dipped deep enough. Right: Nib dipped past the vent hole.

3. REMOVE EXCESS INK FROM YOUR NIB
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Overloaded nibs will look like this. The ink will swell on the top and underside of the nib.

If your nib is overloaded with ink, the excess ink may drip, gush out of the nib upon contact with the paper or when you open your tines, causing a mess and possibly ruining your project.

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Remove excess ink from your nib.

To get rid of excess ink, carefully run the side of your nib (shoulder to tip) along the inner rim of your ink well once or twice.  The excess ink from your nib will run down the side of the jar.

This is especially helpful when using thin inks like Higgins Eternal black ink, Yasutomo sumi ink, and Daiso sumi ink.

 

Easy fixes, right?

Ink blobs don’t need to be a part of your practice sheets or final projects.  These 3 simple tips should help keep your Copperplate experience to a minimum.

Happy Writing!

Your Copperplate Companion,

Nina

 

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