Coloured Ink - mixing a Raw Sienna with De Atramentis Yellow and Brown

December 10, 2014 | 3 Comments

Last night I decided to have a little play with my new De Atramentis Inks  (If you missed it the full set is here). BTW Wednesday night is now my ‘play night’ … the next week Foundations class goes live so it is time just to catch up with myself or play a little before getting started on the next week’s lesson.

I have been thinking all week about what colour to mix – too many options available – but then I thought about my beloved brown ochre watercolour pencil and that got me thinking. What would it be like to have a raw sienna coloured ink? There is only one way to find out!

So I mixed myself a little quantity from the Document Yellow and Brown ink, filled up an empty cartridge and then tested in on the two subject I know and love best!

First a tea cup… of course! The colour wasn’t quite raw sienna – more a greeny gold, but it was fine for the teacup. It was a completely wierd experience to be working with a light coloured ink; I am used to ink being black and decisive but with this colour my lines had minimal impact – it was so contrary to what I am used to. As much as I love working with watercolour pencil there is something special about the crisp clean lines of ink and the flow of the fluid ink on the paper.

Time for a second test – A Baroque facade! The colour wasn’t right – way too yellow but it was fun to work with. Here is a scan of the first pass with my mixed yellow ink.

I then added paint and a few De Atramentis Document Brown and Document Green over the top. The ink rapidly disperses if you put it over damp paint so you can get some interesting effects and I started playing with that property. I had put the green in a water brush (thanks Mandy for that idea!) so it was quite thick and wet on the page. While wet I had the chance to play with it, but other parts dried quckly and were permanent. I think there are a lot of fun ideas to be explored from this.

And finally, just a text page. I added a little more brown to my mixed yellow and it is close now to the colour I was after. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE the variation in the colour when using ink!


  • I just love seeing all your sketches. The cup is fabulous and I think you've mixed a darned cool gold color.

  • Jan Gardiner says:

    A repeatable and clean way to mix inks is to use a syringe to draw an exact amount from each ink bottle. The syringe has convenient measure markings on the side. Shake the syringe to mix the colours and inject into the pen cartridge. Once you have a favourite mix take note of the measurements used for each ink and give it a name. Regards….Jan, Brisbane, Australia

  • Barbara Gabri says:

    Just discovered this older post in a search for mixing De Atra’s inks. Love that gold color.

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