This ink test is starting to feel obsessive, but I got a technical pen and it came with Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph Ultradraw (3085-F) ink, which says it is an India ink for use on paper and film—by which they mean drafting film.
I tested it with a dip pen, and smeared part of it after about 10 minutes (the downward smear to the left). After letting it dry overnight I smeared to the right, and the result was very similar. In fact this ink probably doesn’t smear much. After one light swipe there was barely any smearing. I wiped harder which created the smear pattern you see.
As a follow up, I used my new dip pen with Higgins Black Magic to label the most recent batch of portraits from our local studio. It worked marvelously, no accidental smear and everything was dry within minutes.
I am looking forward to trying the technical pen; however, my current bottle of Black Magic is lumpy and old. I’m waiting for a new bottle before I try it through the fine nozzle of the technical pen.
Oh, for reference the indication that coated photo papers cannot be made archival came from http://talasonline.com/photos/instructions/archival%20ink.pdf. This suggests that an “acid free” ink or marking is consistent with the paper quality.
The problem, recall, is getting an archival (or at least photo safe) ink to stick to the back of a resin-coated photograph. Almost anything consumers buy now is resin (polyethylene) coated.
In my last post I discussed that only the Zig Photo Signature pen and the Zig Millenium produced reasonable results. The remaining problems are:
- The Zig Photo Signature smells like a Sharpie, and I am consequently worried that long-term it will yellow and fade like a Sharpie.
- The Zig Millenium must be blotted (a minor hassle) and must dry overnight or it will smear. Even overnight it smears a little.
I found another candidate after looking into India inks. It is Higgins Black Magic Waterproof ink. I wrote for the following test with a toothpick, forgive my crummy picksmanship.
I smeared it with my finger after about 10 minutes, and it was perfect.
The ink is listed by the manufacturer as being acid free, and it would appear to be a pigment ink so it should be more fade resistant than the dye-based solvent solutions. So, by surmise, this ink solves both the previous problems. Whether it is archival or not, compared to resin-coated papers, is not something I have found information on. It is latex based, which may be the same thing sold as acrylic ink, and is likely domestically archival though I would hesitate for museum use.
The downside is that the ink is for use with dip pens or with technical pens. In both cases, after use there is cleanup. Ink could sit in a technical pen for a week, but will dry and ruin the pen if left in long-term.