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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three Gray Inks Reviewed --- J. Herbin Gris Nuage, Noodler's Lexington Gray, Diamine Grey


I want a gray ink to use with watercolors, so I've spent the past two or three days testing several candidates. Each of the little sketches above was done with one ink, so I could start to get an idea of how they would perform when used with watercolors.


  • J. Herbin Gris Nuage is a very light, silvery ink. It looks purplish in the bottle. If you want something to use with watercolor that leaves a very light line like a hard pencil, or to fill a brush for light midtone areas, this is the perfect ink for that. 
  • Noodler's Lexington Gray is my personal favorite so far. It's completely bulletproof, considerably darker than the Gris Nuage, and is not as blue-violet in color. It's a nice mid-to-dark value, so it's easy to see on the page. The lines are not as obvious as with dark black ink, so it has less of an outlined, coloring book look to it, and it allows the color to sing, since it doesn't overpower with value.
  • Diamine Grey is highly washable. It's a nice color and value, but it washes so easily that I can't keep my lines. It mixes with the color and everything gets dirty.
This was a very valuable test for me. I think there's a bottle of Noodler's Lexington Gray in my future!

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