Sketchnote Tip #3: Know your inks!

Stop the bleed: Know your inks!

Have you ever used a black pen to write, then gone over it with a colored marker and the black ink smeared everywhere? This called ink “bleeding” and it’s really frustrating! If you want to prevent this, you have to start with knowing your inks and how they work together:

  • Water-based: The majority of colored markers have water-based ink. (Crayola, Tombow, Zebra Mildliners, Neuland) Water based inks will always bleed with other water-based inks, so if you want to stop the bleed, you need to use a permanent or oil solution.
  • Pigment: (Micron, Copic Multiliner, Faber Castell Pitt) This ink is incredibly long-lasting and chemically stable. It performs better than water-based ink, but it will often still bleed some when used with water-based inks.
  • Oil-based: This is the real winner here! Pens with oil-based ink do not bleed with water because oil & water don’t mix! Tombow Monotwin pens are oil-based and never bleed with my colors. The downside to oil-based is that they are more permanent and bleed through thin paper more easily than other inks.
  • Alcohol: These pens are more rare and usually intended for art. You’ll know them by their strong smell! (Sharpie, Copic)
  • Other: Ballpoint pens are dye mixed in with an oil paste. Gel pens are usually pigments and water together. India ink is usually used in calligraphy and dip pen style artwork, and is known for being a very dark black and water resistant.

If you want more info about my favorite pens and other tools, you can download my free pdf guide below:

“What pen do you use?”

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