CMYK All the Pens

Posted by Michelle Chandra on

One of my favorite printing processes to explores is CMYK, where the overlap of cyan, magenta and yellow ink layers creates all the colors of the rainbow. 

With my latest round of Diamond Star prints (available Thurs Feb 11th!), I decided it was time to explore new CMYK markers over my usual Stabilo Fineliners. While the Stabilo Point 88 are lovely markers for so many reasons (cheap! durable! vibrant!), they are not guaranteed as fade-proof.

Dye based inks are more prone to fading over time (but they are also much more vibrant than many permanent ink pens!) See example print above!

Artline Blox vs Staedtler Pigment Liners

I tested two new pens: Artline Blox pens, and Staedtler Pigment Liners.

The Artline Blox pens were difficult to align due to their funky shape (you can stack these pens together like legos!)

artline blox pen test

I also found the ink to create more "bleedy" lines with my paper. Ultimately, this pen was a pass for me!

Fortunately, the Staedtler Pigment Liner pens are a lovely alternative. These permanent, fade-resistant pens have a lovely thick line, and while more muted in tone than my usual Stabilos, I appreciated the more natural tones in my new prints.

These pens are pricey though at $4.65 a pop! They also are tricky to align between layers as the barrels on these pens are not straight. The felt tip wears out quickly and the blue cyan pen could only be used for 1-2 prints. This will probably be my only print release with these pens I imagine!

What's Next in CMYK Land?

After testing out these new pens and sharing the results on my Instagram, I asked for tips on any additional pen options I could explore.

Daniela Kroehnert recommended a line of acrylic inks to try with fountain pens. The deeper I go down the Axidraw rabbit hole, the more I have been eager to move away from disposable pens. One barrier to entry is the cost: fountain pens typically cost $30 each, the inks I purchased were $15 each as well!

aero color inks

Watch out for a future blog post as I experiment with inks and fountain pens for my next Diamond Stars print release!

All Generative Art, All the Time

But what if you want to learn more?! Check out these additional blog posts:

michelle chandra of dirt alley design

Dirt Alley Design was founded just off a dirt alley in San Francisco in December of 2016 by artist Michelle Chandra. Inspired by the beauty of street grids, Michelle invented maze maps in which she transforms street grids into mazes. In 2019, she began a new project - generative prints created with code and drawn with a pen plotter. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @dirtalleydesign where she posts new spirograph designs daily 

artist process axidraw generative art printmaking

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