Holidays in Ink and Ink Storage

Holidays in Ink has just begun today! If you didn't have a chance to get started, don't worry; this Challenge is not a Sketch-a-Day type. Rather, you choose the sketchbook you think you can fill during the next six weeks. The goal is to complete the book. You still have plenty of time to do that before January 2, when Holidays in Ink ends!

In the meantime, if your studio is anything like mine or friends of mine, you're probably struggling with getting your inks organized. I don't like dipping into the bottles because it can contaminate the inks. I don't like the skinny plastic vials because they are too thin for some pens or brushes to dip in, and also they are so deep that the ink gets on areas where I'll be putting my hand when I write. My solution has been to get packs of 5ml. glass bottles from Dollar Tree. I can dip into these without making such a mess. They are more convenient to store because they aren't as tall, making them less likely to tip over too. I refill these little bottles using a pipette as needed, so there is zero risk of contaminating my large bottles of ink as I move from color to color. 

As I accumulated more of these little bottles, it became time consuming to find the color I was looking for. I finally found these Avery Labels (Amazon Affiliate Link here), which fit perfectly on the bottle tops. They also fit the tops of the skinny plastic ink vials. These labels take the ink well, so now I can see the exact colors at a glance. I sealed them with acrylic medium, and wrote the names on the tops too. I hope this is helpful to some of you! A small loop of tape will keep the bottle secured on a table top also, unlike the tall skinny vials.

My first day of Holidays in Ink felt a little disorganized! Thanksgiving week is a bit harried for many of us, but I got it done, which is better than not getting it done! I hope it wasn't a mistake to use the 72 page, vertically-oriented book I made, (which sounds like a lot to get through), instead of the 42 page landscape format version. But in the interest of saving my sanity, I'm going to consider it as 36 page spreads, rather than 72 pages. I should be able to do that in 42 days in spite of some holiday time off, with a little luck!

I did prompt #8 today, using different sketching approaches for the four identical compositions.  I explored four different inks, sketching my reference as a Notan sketch, pen and ink sketch with dip pens, ink and wash with brushes, and pointillism with an empty bold fountain pen dipped in ink. I'll have to go back for a couple of finishing touches. (Things we always see AFTER we are "done".. hahaha!)

The photo with the four images didn't capture the remarkable sheen of the Santiago Sea Blue ink, but look what happens when the light catches the page at an angle! That's some serious pink/red sheen! This ink does make a huge mess though, and just the tiniest splatter will get all over everything if it gets wet. User Beware. I decided to make a protective cover for my sketchbook after using it, just in case. I also glued in a fold-over flap of dry wax paper to prevent any ink from traveling to the adjacent page.

I did the ink and wash sketch below with Armada ink by Vinta. It was my first time trying this ink, and the chromatography is really striking! It's worth a close-up look to see the colors that emerge:

One of the things I plan to do during this challenge is to explore a lot of new inks that I've gotten recently, as well as the 25 in the Diamine Inkvent Calendar (which I'll start around Dec. 1). Ink and wash definitely displays more of the color potential of the individual inks than the other approaches on this first page of studies, so that may be my go-to approach for much of the challenge. I'm looking forward to the rest of the journey!

In case you missed it, here is a link to the main post for Holidays in Ink 2021-22, with dates, prompt list, etc.

You can see all of the past and future Holidays in Ink posts by clicking this link , or the Holidays in Ink Category listing on the right side of my website.

The post above contains Amazon Affiliate links, which provide a small commission to me at no additional expense to you, should you decide to purchase these items. Thank you for helping my site to keep going!


  1. Wonderful start, Jamie! Your sketches and page layout are inspiring, as is your write-up. That Armada ink looks fabulous.

    1. Thank you very much, Melissa. So many fountain pen inks prove to be disappointing, but every once in awhile, one of them exceeds expectations. It seems to take a huge investment in ink bottles and/or samples to end up with 20 ml of something great, which then feels like it's liquid gold that you want to use sparingly! LOL