De Atramentis Document Inks

December 4, 2014 | 16 Comments

A few days ago an exciting parcel arrived for me – a box of the new range of the De Atramentis Document ink.  I have been talking to DeA for a number of months explaining how important permanent ink for fountain pens was for many of us in the sketching world… and now look at our options! Last night, when my Week 4 SketchingNow foundations lesson was ready to go live I got them all out and tested them – oh what fun!

This was drawn with a dip pen (something I never use and don’t quite have the knack of… I seem to forget that I need to refill it!) and then waterolour was added over the top. Oops Fuchsia is misspelt and I also have the bottles in the wrong order.

I  ran my brush loaded with clean water over the labels at the bottom of the page to check they were permanent and also rubbed out a few pencil guidelines with an eraser to test if any ink came off that way. Nothing moved!

The BIG exciting idea behind this range is the CMYK kit with Diluting Agent so that you can mix any colour kit you want! Wow! what a concept.

They have also expanded the range to these more standard fountain pen inks – and you all know that I have been playing with the brown ink in the past month.

I haven’t had time to do any mixing with the full CMYK kit yet but last week (or was it the week before… I am losing track of time at the moment!) I mixed up a grey from the document blue and brown. I am not sure of the best way to mix ink (suggestions welcome!) but what I did at the time was top up my half-used brown convertor with blue, and then with my thumb on top, shook it. Messy hands were one of the results…

But the main result was a beautiful grey that I have been using non-stop since. It is so much richer than Noodlers Lexington Grey and because of my inaccurate mix method, it changed from a warm grey(as per above) to cool grey in the first day or so!

Last week’s sketch of the case study house book was done with it.

Notice the grey in the writing and I had fun drawing into wet paint for the stonework detailing in the fireplace.

Anyway – I will share more details soon when I start mixing.
But in the meantime you might what to pop over and see Jane Blundell’s colour tests of the ink here and here (she has been part of the conversations with DeA too). I understand that a burnt sienna and a grey is planned.

Of course, my biggest dilemma is what to do with these inks and loading up pens to use them. 
How many pens do I need?

Finding out how many pens I actually own would be a starter and then what colour inks do I want to load these pens up with?  A quick roundup of my pens is a little embarrassing, although not all pens are equal and sadly my green sailor has not reappeared on the scene. Maybe now with lots of colours available, this collection might become more useful!

Too many options?


  • Pat says:

    Wow! I am still waiting for Goulet Pen to get the Brown Document Ink back in stock. This has been several months. I did ask them for suggestions for an alternative since this may be an ongoing problem in the US given the popularity due to your blog ,Jane's blog and SBS. I will see what they say and check what Jane had to say about their alternative if listed.

  • skywilling says:

    I'm very very excited that these are so colorful and waterproof, this is something I desperately need. I have high expectations for the green and fuchsia. Looking forward to see more of your experiments.

  • Great package to receive, Liz!! Be still my heart over those kinks!

  • Liz, they look so beautiful and I'm excited about the possibilities of mixing my own colour as I would love to sketch with very dark blue.

  • CharlieAmra says:

    I am having the same problem as Pat. Ever since I saw the Document Brown her and on Jane Blundell's blog (where she has been doing a great series on mixing DeA inks), I have wanted to get my hand on these inks. Liz, if you have any pull with Goulet Pens or DeA, tell them lots of folks in the States are eager to purchase their inks.

  • Hi Liz I talked to Dr J on ink names

    The fuchsia will be named magenta and the turquoise cyan….

    Less confusing… CMYK 🙂

    Now let's wait for the white

    Regards from Austria


  • larry says:

    Liz, my favorite way of mixing inks is in a separate, small bottle because I can use a pen syringe to meter the volume and the mix is then repeatable or can be modified to suit. Favorite bottles for this are Goulet Pen sample vials and the small Nalgene bottles. Both have air-tight seals.

    Cheers — Larry

  • Well, after spilling three-quarters of a bottle of black on my brand new living room carpet I now find that the only way to buy another bottle right now is to go directly to DeA, who will charge me $25 for the bottle, and $35 shipping. Believe it or not, I'm more upset about not being able to get the ink than I am about the carpet. We need a solution here!

  • Roz Stendahl says:

    Liz, very fun post and exciting news about these inks. The colored inks I use are all acrylic so I don't put them in a fountain pen, I use them just with a dip pen or with a brush. So I don't have the issue of getting ink into something. But when I mix them up and am looking to make up a lot of a certain color I use an eye dropper or syringe and either count drops (for a smaller mix) or note levels on the syringe so that I can get the same mix again with repeatable results.

    I use little thimble sized plastic cups that have caps to decant into and then they can be dipped into with the dip pen or brush. "Art Alternatives Sealed Artist Cups." They also have a palette with wells that hold the cups securely so I don't knock them over at the drawing board. I only use them in the studio—but these inks you're talking about are very exciting because they can go into fountain pens and go out into the world easily. Happy experimentation!

  • Barkleigh2 says:

    I just found and ordered de Atramentis document dark blue ink at It's pricey, $24.95 plus $3.?? For shipping so the total was almost $29.

  • Clarisa Barua says:

    Hi Liz,
    Love you posts!
    Just wondering if there is a way to “erase” black ink (d’Atramentis document ink) from Arches 300gsm watercolour paper.

    PS Save summer travels and have fun in Porto!

  • Pixie U says:

    I’m ridiculously late to this party, but how are they holding up?

  • Hello Liz,
    I have a question: I am about to purchase De Atramentis document ink archive/ black, and also the regular D. A. document black. I want to use it in an Extra Fine nib fountain pen. But some comments I have seen is that it may be “too dry” for an EF nib….Do you have experience on this?
    Also, do these inks have acrylic content in the binder? I want to use the regular watercolors (arabic gum binder) or tempera (egg tempera) on top of them…so if the inks have acrylic, it won´t mach the painting on top (either watercolor or tempera).
    Thankyou for your response in advance!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Jose 1. I’ve used in EF nib (a Sailor deskpen) and its worked fine for me. 2. I don’t know – best to contact them directly.

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