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What is Bister ink?

What is Bister ink?

Bister ink, also known as ‘bistre’, mostly found in Belgium and the Netherlands. Water-soluble, non-waterproof. Available in 7 colours: Blue, Red, Black, Green, Natural Brown, Mahogany and Yellow.

These rich warm earthy tone inks come in powder form and can be easily mixed with water, no binder is needed. They do not smear when completely dry, so you can erase the pencil marks easily.

It can also be added in water and sprayed or painted over artworks, even sculptures. Some artists like to sprinkle the ink on wet surface to create striking background effect.


How to mix Bister inks?

All the powders look very similar, except for yellow. So, it is important that you label the mixed inks properly.

I use a small spatula to add small amounts of powder to a jar, then add water drop-by-drop by using a glass dropper or pipette. Please note, Bister ink colour is VERY RICH, you only need very small quantities at a time, the ratio is about 1-part powder to 4-part water, but to be honest, I just eyeball it when mixing. Mix it to the right consistency and then test the inks on paper. Add more water if too thick/dark, or add more powder if the colour is too light. These inks are water soluble so if they dry out, you just need to add water to the container to reconstitute them, just like watercolour.




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Bister Ink 是甚麼?

Bister ink 是一種水溶性、不防水的粉末。多來自於歐洲,在比利時和荷蘭比較容易找到。共有七種顏色:藍、紅、黑、綠、棕、紅木和土黃。顏色可以混合使用,用Bister Ink寫字會給人一種接近大地、泥土的感覺。從棕色到土黃,再由灰藍轉為墨綠,色彩的銜接帶有一種細致豐富的層次感。


Bister ink 色彩多變,非常濃郁,小量粉末便可調配出一瓶墨水。多用於繪畫或西洋書法,且黏著力強,只要待完全乾透,便可將草稿的鉛筆線擦掉,而不影響顏色本身。但須注意因為Bister ink是水溶性且不防水,如果你所住的地方比較潮濕,擦的時候有可能把字體弄髒。


如何使用Bister Ink?

使用Bister ink 其實非常簡單,不需要任何輸助劑,如阿拉伯膠。只需要用清水﹝建議用蒸餾水﹞,加入少量的Bister ink 粉末,份量大概是一份粉末,四份水。但說真的,一般我是隨意調配,攪拌後在紙上試色,如果顏色太濃便多加一點水,如果覺得太淺便多加一些粉末。


另外建議大家用標籤把墨水顏色寫在瓶子上。因為Bister ink 粉末和已經調好的Bister ink 墨水,除非用於紙上,不然從外表看上去顏色大致一樣,難以區分﹝除了土黃色粉末﹞。


我在使用Bister ink 時,會準備好幾種顏色,如紅、土黃、藍和墨綠,隨意沾色,書寫時會盡量讓筆畫或線條重叠,這樣色彩便會慢慢自然暈染 。