Review: White Inks for Calligraphy

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink


I recently had the opportunity to test some white inks, and wanted to share my findings. Specifically, I wanted to see which white inks were best for calligraphy.

Here are my results! I hope you’ll find this helpful :)


White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

White Calligraphy Inks

These inks are either marketed as calligraphy inks or are popular within the calligraphy community. (You can click on the image for a larger view)


 White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen-White – ★★★★

  • Very thick right out of the bottle
  • Requires diluting with distilled water
  • It is ~magical~ once dry, crisp and very opaque
  • Handy eyedropper for easy diluting in separate container

Verdict: Worth the hassle of finding the perfect ink-to-water ratio because it is fantastic when diluted properly.

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White Ink – ★★★★

This is hailed among many calligraphers are the holy grail of white ink! My coworker was kind enough to let me take a dip out of her bottle to test it out.

  • VERY thick and pasty — even thicker than the Pen-White
  • Requires more diluting with distilled water
  • Crisp and opaque once dry
  • Similar to the Pen-White

Verdict: Best ink for the price. Since you are diluting it so much, the tiny bottle will go a long way.

J. Herbin Dip Pen Calligraphy Ink – ★★★☆

  • Lower viscosity and thus writes straight from the bottle.
  • Better ink flow, smoother to write with
  • Less opaque, fades significantly as it dries.

Verdict: I give this ink points for convenience, despite its low opacity. Plus, it is perfect for the rustic/vintage chalkboard look that is quite popular.

Speedball Calligraphy Ink – ★★★☆

  • Only $2! An easy purchase if you are just trying out white calligraphy
  • Bottle shape makes dipping easy
  • Must be diluted with water
  • Quite opaque once dry
  • Less smooth and dries with a bumpy finish

Verdict: If you are going through the trouble of patiently diluting your ink, you might as well go for Dr. Ph. Martin’s.

 J. Herbin Dip Pen Pigmented Ink – ★★☆☆

  • More watery and less opaque than the other J. Herbin white
  • If you write too slowly,  ink drips off the nib
  • If you write quickly, not enough ink is left on the page resulting in faded letters

Verdict: I don’t really like it :(

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

White Comic Inks

Comic artists use white in many ways — adding highlights to eyes and hair, or covering up small mistakes. Many manga artists use the same G nib that is popular among calligraphers, so I figured it was worth a try.

These inks are VERY thick — almost all of them need to be diluted with water to be usable, and it took a lot of trial and error to get the right ink-to-water ratio for all of them. Once diluted, I was pleasantly surprised by how well some of them worked as calligraphy inks!

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Copic Opaque White – ★★★★

  • Very thick out of the bottle, requires diluting
  • Smooth once diluted
  • Very opaque and crisp when dry
  • Annoyingly tiny bottle
  • Kind of expensive for the size

Verdict: The most opaque of the comic inks, if you can get past the price and the frustration of scooping the ink out of the tiny bottleneck.

Deleter White #1 and White #2 – ★★★★

  • Very thick out of the bottle, requires diluting
  • Smooth once diluted
  • Opaque when dry
  • #2 is waterproof!

Verdict: There isn’t much difference between the two, but I found #1 to be slightly smoother.

IC Comic Art White and Super White -★★★☆

  • Very thick out of  the bottle, requires diluting
  • Not as smooth as Deleter inks
  • Super White is very opaque when dry

Verdict: The regular Art White is mediocre, the Super White is much better.

Kaimei Manga Ink – ★★☆☆

  • Thinnest manga ink – thus, surprisingly smooth out of the bottle
  • Decently opaque when dry
  • Annoying caveat: chalky bubble effect

Verdict: Pretty decent, but with one MAJOR caveat. The pigment settles to the bottom, so when you shake the bottle to mix up the ink, a mass of bubbles forms. As you write, your pen leaves a trail of tiny bubbles that dry inside your calligraphy, making it look rough and messy :/

Kuretake Comic White – ★★☆☆

  • Very thick out of the bottle, requires diluting
  • Not cooperative with the paper I used
  • Difficult to write with
  • Not very opaque once diluted

Verdict: This is one comic ink that cannot really be used as a calligraphy ink. It works on some papers, but not on others — not worth the gamble


Some examples of my favorite inks in action…

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen-White

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Speedball Calligraphy White

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen-White on a light gray envelope


There are some other white inks that I’ve heard about, but not yet tried. Eventually, I hope to try all of them…

Note: All product photos from and Review photos by me.

Materials Used:

2 thoughts on “Review: White Inks for Calligraphy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *