I am looking for a proper inkstick for calligraphy. Any recommendation?

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    • #13723
      罗雁 LuoYan罗雁 LuoYan

      I am interested mainly in calligraphy (kaishu, roughly 10cm characters on white xuan paper). I am looking for a good ink stick that is for permanent work, not for practice. It would be helpful if it can make a very thick dark black ink that doesn’t bleed, especially for traditional wet-mounting. It doesn’t have to be extremely glossy, but I don’t like inks that stay silvery or brown even when concentrated. I am looking for something that is very black and makes a good contrast with the paper to emphasize the line strength. Can you please recommend some ink sticks for this purpose? Some of the ink sticks are expensive and it would be a problem to try them since I cannot return them if I don’t like the result.

    • #13724
      罗雁 LuoYan罗雁 LuoYan

      Oil Soot Inkstick: 

      For your specific need, we recommend oil soot inkstick. Compared to Pine soot inksticks, oil soot inkstick has very deep and thick black. It is glossy because of the raw material. At the same time it is not as glossy as turpentine soot. The oil soot is a classic type of inkstick for calligraphy works.

      You may try the inksticks whose grade is from medium to professional level.


      4 Recommendations for your case: 

      My personal recommendation would be Jin Bu Yi Fine Oil Soot Inkstick. This is made with a very famous ancient oil soot recipe and the price is very good for its grade. It is one of our most popular inksticks and it is also one of my personal favorite pieces.

      金不易 Jin Bu Yi Fine Oil Soot Black Inkstick

      Speaking of the good price-quality ratio, you may also consider,

      铁斋翁 Tie Zhai Weng Traditional Oil Soot Black Inkstick

      一枝春 Yi Zhi Chun Premium Oil Soot Black Inkstick

      纯胡麻油烟墨 Premium Flax Seed Oil Soot Black Inkstick


      Otherwise, you can also refer to oil soot ink from this list:




      For your level, please avoid Jing Soot because this is made with industrial soot. The colour might not be different compared with traditional recipes. However, industrial black colour does fade as time goes by! We have marked clearly the soot type on the product description. Also, please avoid the Green Tea Oil Soot Inkstick and Qing Mo Black Oil Soot Inkstick because these two blacks have brownish, greenish tone.


      Mounting Effects:

      After the calligraphy is PROPERLY mounted on correct xuan paper, the black colour will be even darker and bright. For permanant work, please DO use handmade Xuan paper because its fibers will be able to ´bite and lock´ the ink.


      INKSTON Inkstick Buyer´s Guide:

      You can also refer to our inkstick buyer´s guide,  https://www.inkston.com/stories/guides/inksticks-buyers-guide/

    • #19269

      Oh, that’s why I have seen only small differences between the Qing Mo inkstick and the Green Tea inkstick.

      I also think the Green Tea Inkstick is a bit cooler than the Low Resin Pine Soot Inkstick.

    • #19558

      I ordered the Jin Bu Yi Fine Oil Soot Black Inkstick to use for drawing and calligraphy with glass and steel nib dip pens. It appears that was a good choice.

    • #20546

      For calligraphy, you need dark black and fluidity (not too sticky ink). The both inks Li Ting Gui and Royal ink are correct. I often use also japanese inkstick that are excellent but much more expansive. This is for oil soot ink. But if you want to copy ancient calligraphy masters on a « looking old » paper, I advice you to use a good pine soot ink, in order to get deeper dark instead of too glossy strokes, particularly if you practice xiaokai on a shuxuan paper, because when the ink does not penetrate the paper and dry on the surface, it becomes more brillant.

    • #20837

      I recommend you Duke Asian fountain pen. I got this today and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality, fit, and finish given the pen’s price. The engraving on the cap and the details are fantastic. It’s absolutely beautiful! I loaded it up with Sailor black pigment ink and it writes very well. It’s so easy to vary the width of your lines because of the fude nib. Writing looks very nice and formal.

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