Mission Statement

A warm welcome to the world of fountain pen inks and bleach, a visually impactive illustration and lettering investigation that is starting to catch the imagination of an international audience. This is a personal project that re-imagines an already existing product originally intended for a now increasingly obsolete purpose and seeing if it’s possible to enhance and explore it’s potential for other uses within the visual communication sector. A project where taking risks and making mistakes is positively encouraged and where serendipity plays a key role in the creation of unique and visually stunning imagery.

Fountain pen inks are made up of dyes. When applied to kitchen paper towel the dyes are released and the colours spread outwards (chromatography) – imagine a drop of petrol on a wet tarmac surface. I have found a way of achieving and utilising this effect on watercolour paper. The chromatic process is very much serendipity led and the beauty of the final outcomes are invariably dictated by this. Because they are natural and non contrived, the viewer is naturally drawn to them – like watching clouds or a sunset. The project also champions the concept of alchemy or in this case, creating a gold effect through subjecting fountain pen inks to the destructive behaviour of bleach. But this is merely a beginning. Ongoing experimentation, regularly reveals new and visually exciting painting, illustration and lettering techniques as well as being able to create all colours through mixing together the four base fountain pen inks of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

Nick Stewart (updated July 2018)

‘I certainly champion the idea of taking a process from the science lab and transforming it into art forms with new techniques found through the project investigations. With some wider recognition and credibility behind it, this project has the potential to grow into a seminal piece of creative investigation with genuine value for creativity as a whole.’ Jonny Tucker Editor at Blueprint Magazine

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Twitter: @nickistew
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I also have a portfolio of test art pieces at: www.behance.net/Nick_Stewart



47 thoughts on “Mission Statement

  1. “It is also a process that is very much serendipity led and the beauty of the final outcomes are often dictated by this. You really do have to take a leap of faith, surrender to the process and let the art happen.” I think this is also true of the writing process – maybe of any artistic endeavour.

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  5. I have to say… it’s times like these I’d wish I’d be a better painter. (Or any good at it at all, really 🙂 ). But it’d take time to practice I simply do not have with all my other hobbies, and it’s a shame.
    But your project is amazing. I love browsing through it and I didn’t find it sooner. I love the idea, and what you’re doing with it. Thank you for sharing this, and please – do continue. 🙂

    • Thanks for your kind comments. The day job is a little busy right now but will hopefully have some new posts up sometime next week. The project has a way to go yet! N

      • Don’t worry, the best work is done when one has the time and the inclination for it. I will watch for future work, and it’ll take some time to get through the archives anyways. 🙂 Just know that it’s appreciated, all that work, and it looks gorgeous.

  6. Hi Nick, your artwork is absolutely breathtaking! Your passion for experimentation really shows through. A quick technical question please – do you apply the bleach calligraphy using a fountain pen? If so, I’m wondering if the bleach might react badly to the metal eg. corrode the nib? Thank you and please keep up the amazing work!!

    • Thanks for your kind words Vivien
      ‘The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work’ ― Emile Zola. And I won’t lie you, I am currently experimenting with bleach and fountain pens, it is dangerous and I can’t recommend it – for health and safety reasons. However, I also use dip pens with zebra g nibs, which I buy in bulk, and these are relatively inexpensive. They do corrode when exposed to bleach but will last longer if cleaned thoroughly after use. Please stay tuned, there’s a lot more to come yet! Nx

  7. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I’ve been showing your site to my friends today and they all wrote back saying your stuff is beautiful! It has inspired me to play around with inks more, too. I like the quote you replied with, and I would like to comment that your hard work is very evident, as well as how systematic & scientific your approach is. Being an academic, I really appreciate and can relate to it. I will definitely be staying tune… looking forward to your next post!

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