Alice in walnut ink

It’s been a while since I added a page to my single colour Pentalic Aqua Journal sketchbook, the one where I try out colours that I use infrequently like Carmine and Hooker’s Green.  Today I picked up the book but deviated slightly from the path by sketching with Tom Norton Walnut Drawing Ink instead of paint. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a water-soluble ink that creates gorgeous rich browns. To add to the novelty of the experience, I also used the Walnut Drawing stick  —  a double-ended drawing stick with a bamboo nib on one side and a felt-tip brush on the other — an unusual enough combination in my hand to make the whole experience both fun and challenging.

So what made this ink such a pleasure to draw with? Well, to begin with, it has a really unique property for ink in that it lifts really easily if you want to lighten areas or soften edges. And while you can certainly achieve deep darks by using it at full strength, you can also lift washes or even remove them entirely. If you read the promotional info on the website you’ll see that what Tom Norton had in mind when he created it was something  in between ink and watercolour. It’s also a really beautiful brown, and even though it’s not in fact made from real walnuts, it’s a warmer colour than Sepia watercolour, which is much greyer. I can see that this is going to be a real favourite of mine for doing value studies.


10 Comments on “Alice in walnut ink”

  1. Alison says:

    She’s so calm! Interesting effects with this medium. Thanks for sharing!


  2. hellodays says:

    Nice work. Monocrome painting.


  3. Donna Hediger says:

    I just read somewhere….about boiling walnut shells forever to make your own ink. I think I’ll go with Mr. Norton. I agree it’s nicer looking than sepia. Again, we all love Alice!


  4. Hi Shari, thank you for introducing to us such an interesting product. I read up on it from the link that you provided and it looks like it has a lot of possibilities, not only for tonal value sketches but for complete small paintings that have that old look to them. I found both the ink and the stick on Dick Blick, on line, and I will be getting some to try out. I hope that you post some more sketches using this ink, I am always learning from your posts. Thank for being such a great inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. joantav says:

    Sounds like an interesting material. Nice!!

    Liked by 1 person

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