Vallejo Ink Set

I recently got some Vallejo brand miniature painting inks from Amazon ( I don’t think you could find a better set of inks for less money. By way of comparison I first tried using the Winsor and Netwon drawing inks on miniatures and I hated the effect even though they are great drawing inks. First I had painted a goblin on which I had used the Winsor and Newton inks for the shading. The shiny green shadows on the goblin’s skin just didn’t look right even though the color was correct. But a few touches of the Green ink from the Vallejo set took all the gloss away and fixed the model. I then used a little of the Vallejo blue ink also on his outfit which I had painted blue and it also looked much better. I was ecstatic. But then I used the black on the surface of a Chaos Warrior I had painted with cheap acrylics and I didn’t really like the inks. They were too glossy by way of contrast. Most inks contain shellac and shellac is glossy and that makes them antithetical to the principals of shadows as shadows should be very flat so as to absorb real light so in my opinion miniature inks should be as flat as possible, but then we get into the area of what defines a “shade” from an “ink.” But overall I’m pretty happy with the Vallejo ink set. They are in fact more flat than the drawing inks were but I do wish their black was even more flat than it is. However there are times when a shiny black can be useful like when washing it over a metallic paint. In that case you want the metal to retain some shine and there a more glossy ink could be great. Of course in that case I usually use oils, but either way it isn’t much of a problem because a matte black paint isn’t hard to find. Coat D’Arms blacks are more flat than Vallejo’s and cheap black craft paint like FolkArt 938E Licorice Matte Finish dries perfectly flat and that is available at Walmart at a super inexpensive price. So either of those could be used for shading like an ink is just by watering it down and only placing ever so little on the tip of a brush. So having a slightly glossy black ink in my collection for the rare occasions where I need one honestly isn’t a bad thing since I can resort to using black paint for painting recesses just as I always have and yet still have another option by owning the Vallejo set. In all cases however if you want to minimize the gloss of a paint or ink make sure you shake the bottle well before using the inks and that will help a lot as there will be less medium and more pigment in your mix.

And that is another advantage of this set. While I don’t generally like dropper bottles preferring traditional paint pots myself I do like dropper bottles for thinner paints like inks and washes. That’s because I can turn the bottle upside down just before use an let more of the pigment or heavier particles sink to the bottom near nozzle before dropping some out onto my palette.

The colors included in this set are  72.085 Yellow, 72.086 Red, 72.087 Violet, 72.088 Blue, 72.089 Green, 72.090 Black Green, 72.093 Skin Wash, and 72.094 Black.

Some people complained that they would have preferred a straight brown or sepia instead of the Black Green, but honestly I think the color selection was perfect as most regular browns are made from Burnt Umber and are very transparent and so if you have a brown in your paint collection you usually don’t need a brown ink but the skin wash is really just that so you have a nice brown either way and you can add some black or violet or red to it to darken it. But most beginner painters wouldn’t understand how to make dark green as intuitively as a dark brown. (Pro-Tip for Darker Greens: Start with yellow and add black for a warm dark green or with spring green and add cool red for a dark olive green or blueish green and add medium red for a nice medium dark blackish green and add black or violet to any of these as necessary).

Wrapping up: I really do love my Vallejo Ink Set. As I said I don’t think you can get a better set for the price. At some point I’ll add pictures and scans of swatches of the colours in the set on this page so check back in a couple of weeks. Soon after I’ll be writing an article in which we’ll be looking back at the old-school “Expert” Citadel Colour Ink set. Oh yes. I was able to obtain a nice set in great condition from Ebay. :)