3: Beginner's Guide to Modern Calligraphy: How to use the Finetec palette
If you have already started learning Modern Calligraphy then you may have spotted the Finetec metallic inks, which are a cluster of beautiful metallic colours neatly packaged within their own palette. These Finetec Palettes are by far the best metallic inks to use for calligraphy as they are super pigmented and will show up beautifully on both light and dark paper. There are a wide variety of metallic shades, from gold and silver to irridescent, shining pearl colours. Made entirely from mica-pigments combined with gum arabic, the lightfast natural mineral mica doesn't oxidise and therefore provides a wonderfully opaque colour when applied to any abosorbent surface, such as paper, wood, and gypsum etc.
As the colours come in solid form, the Finetec palette is essentially a watercolour palette that you will need to activate and it can be used with a brush, a pointed nib, or a broad edge pen. The process of writing with these inks is slightly longer than with those inks in which you can dip your nib but the results are worth the wait!
You will need: a pot of water, your chosen nib and pen holder, some paper, a small paintbrush and a FineTec ink colour of your choice.
First, add a few drops of water to the pigment and wait a few minutes for it to soften.
Next, you will need to load the pigment onto the brush as this is what you will use to transfer the ink to your nib. Gently work your brush into the ink until you achieve a milky consistency on the top layer of the solid pigment. You may need to dip your brush into the water and mix into the pigment a few times before you get the right viscosity. (Don't worry if you add too much water - by leaving the pigment stand for five minutes or so, the water will evaporate and the ink will gradually return to its solid state.)
Once your brush is covered with the metallic ink, gently paint it onto the underside of your nib until the vent hole is completely covered.
Now you will be ready to start writing!
If you are finding that the ink is showing up quite translucent on the page then the chances are you have added a little too much water. Just wait a while for the water to evaporate a little before applying more of the pigment to your nib with your brush. On the contrary, if you find that the ink doesn't flow very easily then this is probably a sign that you haven't added enough water. Just repeat the above steps until you reach the required viscosity and try again!
One of the best things about the FineTec inks is that you can adjust the consistency to suit you, whether that's for the nib or brush you are using, for the paper you're writing on or just for your desired effect. Knowing that the pigment will always return to its natural solid state removes the fear of ruining your ink forever by adding too much water.
For more tips, tricks and techniques pick up a copy of our book, 'Modern Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering the Art of Creativity' written by our studio calligrapher, Lucy. You can also find it in our London shop: 37 Amwell Street, EC1R 1UR.
Read our second installment of our 'How To' series here.