Golds! Golds! Glorious Golds!!

With the holidays just around the corner, a popular request is a good gold ink to use for addressing invitations. Since gold is also popular with wedding invitations, we thought it might be helpful to see color comparisons for the various golds we offer. We created these informal charts for office and conference use, but in hopes that they will be helpful for blog readers as well, we decided to share them. For each gold, we used both white and black papers. The dark paper used was Strathmore Artagain, and the white used was Rhodia. Because gold can be tricky to photograph, our photographer took pictures that showed both the flat color and the color with light shining on it. While the color may vary slightly, it gives you a decent idea of what to expect for each color.

gold side by side4

gold on black4First, there are the gold inks.  Dr. Martin’s makes both Spectralite (14K or 18K gold) and the famous Iridescent Copperplate Gold, both of which are acrylic. Winsor and Newton makes both Gold Drawing Ink and Gold Calligraphy Ink, and Golden High Flow has a great Iridescent Gold. I did find the Winsor and Newton to be the most difficult to work with; however, we have many customers who use it quite successfully.

gold side by side5gold on black2

Next, I tried the Lumiere golds. I loved all of these. With a little distilled water added, they were all easy to use, and I especially loved the opaqueness. The color variations allow for great options, and due to the nature of the acrylic, they could be used on a wide variety of surfaces.

gold side by side2gold side by sidegold on black3For gouache, I compared the Winsor and Newton Gold with the Schmincke Gold Pearl. The colors are different shades of gold, but both were easy to use and wrote very well. They were definitely worth the time it takes to mix gouache! I also used the Finetec Gold palette-one of our best sellers! Although Finetec is watercolor, it has a strong opacity and is simply gorgeous. The palette allows you to add water directly to the color and then paint it on to your nib. Once you are finished, you let it dry just as you would for regular watercolor, close it, and know that it will be ready for you the next time you need to use it.

gold side by side3gold on blackFinally, I compared the gold pens and markers we have. Truly, you cannot go wrong with any of these options. All brands flow pretty easily, so your main considerations are the shade of gold needed and the surface being written on with the gold. If you need a gel pen, the choices are the Uni-ball Gold Signo, the Slicci Gold Metallic, or the Sakura Gely Roll. The gold Zig Calligraphy marker is a great choice for a permanent marker and offers a calligraphy tip.

For paint markers, the Zig Painty, Sharpie Paint, or Sakura Pen-Touch are all good choices. The Sharpie paint marker did not respond well to the black paper, but it worked quite well on white. The black paper seemed to absorb it quite a bit. All of the paint markers give you more permanency than the pens, and the Sakura Pen Touch comes in both a bullet tip and a calligraphy tip. The Zig Painty and Sharpie paint markers are bullet tipped.

The next time you need a gold ink, know that you have plenty of options to choose from! The best option is most dependent on what you are using the ink for and which color of gold is needed. That means it can vary from project to project, so having a few options in your supply kit is never a bad option!


  1. Thank you for this post! I thought I would offer a sample I assigned to my class as inspiration for a fall themed tunnel book enhanced with pointed pen drawing.

    Starting from the front page back, the pumpkins were drawn with Kuretake Sumi Ink and enhanced with Derwent Coloursoft Pencils, banner written with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White, tree lines with Dr. Ph. Martin’s 54K 18 Carat Spectralite Gold, spider web with Finetec Pearl, and the moon first with clear glitter nail polish and painted lightly with Spectralite Gold. Hope you like it!

    Janet Martorello

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Thank you Jennifer, you are always coming up with great ideas, and you make my life so much easier. Hope all is well “back there”.

  3. Thank you so much for this, Jennifer! I did a “gold test” a few years ago and it’s nice to have this for comparison. Golds are tricky and can be befuddling. My personal fave continues to be the Art Quest Mica gold (Brilliant Gold), but I know I need to branch out.

    BTW, I love your blogs and artist interviews. You’re providing a wonderful service to calligraphers—keep it up!




  4. Thanks so much for a fantastic four hours which I did not want to end. It was the best think I could have done for the four hours can not wait to do your next class thanks a lot

Leave a Reply