It's Easy Being Green

An eye-popping opaque green ink that is easy to mix and virtually jumps off of black paper.

Here is an opaque green ink that will practically glow against black paper.

1.jpgI started with a roughly onequarter inch bead of WinsorNewton Permanent Green Light gouache in a dish and added Spectrum Yellow, about five percent. Yellow was my choice. Green is a color that by adding yellow in a desired quantity pushes the overall shade toward lime green. For a really yellow green, add green to the yellow. Adding a lot of white to green (or green to white) edges the color toward the seafoam green so popular in the 1950s. I didn’t want that!

To give the ink that fluorescent “glow” on black paper, we need to add the kicker: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White. Bleed Proof White has a fluorescent quality that works very well here. Before adding Bleed Proof White, mix your green/ yellow combination to a writing consistency adding as much water as needed. I prefer rainwater. It is naturally distilled and usually has a measure of acid that adds to the binding quality of the ink. By writing consistency I mean that the hairlines are to your satisfaction.

When judging an ink/paper combination, hairlines are ev erything. Fine hairlines add immeasurably to the quality of handwriting. Gum arabic should not be required as gouache already uses it as a binder. If you feel it is needed, add only a tiny drop at a time. I use the end of a toothpick. Too much gum and the ink won’t flow.

Once your ink is of a writing consistency and you are satisfied with the color, slowly add Bleed Proof White a drop at a time and test the ink on some scrap black paper. Add the white until the hairlines on the absorptive qualities of the paper.

When mixing the color I like to use cheap paint brushes I get by the dozen at the Dollar Store. I will also apply ink to the nib with the same brush. Your green, as with the red and gold (featured in the Summer, 2006, issue), are pigmented and somewhat thicker than commercial bottled inks. Using the brush to put ink on the pen provides an opportunity to continuously clean the nib as ink particles tend to clump at the tip. If you are mixing the ink. in large quantities to be used on a variety of papers, you may want to consider mixing only the green and yellow, adding Bleed Proof White in a separate dish as you use your ink. Bleed Proof White is “heavy” meaning that it separates and settles quickly to the bottom of the ink bottle. It is best mixed by shaking the bottle, a pain when trying to write. Even in the dish, you will have to stir the ink each time before re-inking the pen as the different colors will separate quickly.