Openinkstand Art & Calligraphy

White ink comparison

What white ink would you recommend?  I love the Winsor Newton drawing inks, but the ‘calligraphy’ ink is so runny…

First off, put away the Winsor Newton ink, because recently there has been a new challenger to the world of white inks for calligraphers!

Before this, I would always recommend Dr PH Martin’s Bleedproof White, but recently McCaffrey’s has come out with a new Bright White ink with rave reviews, and I was sooo curious to try it. Finally I got my bottle and here is my side by side comparison using different nibs, McCaffrey on the left and Doc Martin on the right. Ready… FIGHT!


The image is freshly scanned and not edited, so I hope you can kinda see the difference. If you can’t, let me explain…

The new McCaffrey’s Bright White is supposed to be a beautiful opaque white right out of the bottle. Yep, all you need to do is stir and dip to use it. And to an extent, it’s true! When I received my bottle, it came out pretty white.. not opaque by my standards, but still good. I let it sit out in the sun for a bit though because it was a little watery. The image above is written with it out in the sun for a few hours. As you can see, the white is still a little watery and loses itself in fine lines. It seems to do best with the Leonardt Principal. If you look closely at the thickest swells, you can see it shades a little. I think it needs more time out in the sun…

On the right is my trusty ol Bleedproof white. I always liked how lovely the consistency and the fine lines I can get with this ink, but it is not ready out of the bottle. I have to mix it with a brush and refill it that way.. not entirely inconvenient but.. ugh.. so much work. To keep picking up a brush, load, put down brush, pick up pen, write.. repeat every few lines gets old quick! But I put up with it because the lines it can create is just amazing.

As you can see from the comparison, the differences are sooo subtle. The McCaffrey’s is a little thinner and watery, but works fine if you write slower and for some weird reason, works best with my Leonardt Principal. Bleedproof white is more opaque and thus the lines seem surer and cleaner, and again seems to work best with the Leonardt Principal. But you gotta do the whole brush loading thing.

I guess I like them both, really.. but I will reserve judgement on McCaffrey’s White until I can get it to the thickness I really like. But so far it’s pretty promising!

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