Pigmented Ink – 1995-2005

After a few years of creating illustrations with other inks (Chinese, India, and calligraphy inks), I found this pigmented ink that reacted very interestingly with water. It was thicker, sort of oily, and smooth. By this time, I had started to use my fingers in the technique of throwing the ink into the pool of water and used the brush and fingers in the creation of the image. I would use lots of water and let the ink move throughout the wet surface. Keeping the ideas and concepts from the article together with the ink drawing technique was a real creative dance. I was basically doing it over and over until I got an image that was graceful and elegant. I would recreate the image in a repeated effort on pages and pages of stains. I would then let everything dry and start the selection process. Bad, alright, pretty good, good, and excellent were the results. I would keep the best one (sometimes two or three) and throw away everything else. Your eye becomes very selective this way, and you learn how to balance the creation and selection energies in this process.

I created illustrations with this technique from about 1990 until about 2005. I tried to see if the digital tools I was using in the 2000s would provide the possibilities the handmade work, but it was very frustrating. Ink on a digital tablet with its pen produced very slick and plastic-looking images. Water and ink on paper were about accidents and chaos, and digital imager was about image architecture. Slick, eye-candy imagery was the result.