Sumi Ink Vs. India Ink | Head to Head Comparison Between Them

The ink that begins the chapter of each of our lives is not a lie, but needless to say, much more could have been left without ink. However, ink means that it is used not only in the barrel of the pen but also in various works, including calligraphy, artwork, tattoo, etc.

sumi ink vs india ink

Accordingly, two such special inks are Sumi and India, both of which are quite old inventions that have retained their popularity since about the 1880s.

Consequently, India ink is concentrated and looks bright and crisp, but add water to make it muted and dull. On the contrary, Sumi ink is not as dark as India Kali. You will be surprised; I thought of India ink and Sumi ink as one; I could tell the difference between them in a long time.

Generally speaking, I guess that many like me may have misconceptions, so I would like to correct all the misconceptions about Sumi ink vs India ink in this article.

Definition of the early stage difference between Sumi Ink and Indian Ink

In the case of production, India ink comes paraben, and in a container, while Sumi is dry in sticky black powder, the two inks have many formulas, so it isn’t easy to determine. Many more such differences exist between Sumi ink and India ink.

And suppose you are not familiar with both of these functions. In that case, first of all, you need to know about their primary binding agents since binding agent refers to the whole structure of a mechanical and chemical combination to hold other substances together with a substance.

The Binding agent Of Sumi Ink

According to the Japanese, Sumi means black ink, which is a kind of water-soluble. In the detailed sense, Sumi ink is usually made with pinewood or candle oil, perfume and special animal glue. From the beginning of production, animal glue has been used every day in making Sumi ink.

Still, with slight changes in its recipe, one of the changes in this consistency and efficacy exists. Hence, not all animal glues can be used to make Sumi ink; only animal glues can be collected are acceptable.

However, because of the foul-smelling ink, producers began using gelatin instead. Typically, large particles of pinewood and incandescent lamp ink are composed of small particles.

The specific materials used are made into large glass particles like grape clusters, which are then dispersed and mixed with media to form Sumi ink.

Depending on the size of the small and large particles absorb different wavelengths of light, the specific color of the ink is determined, and the color changes accordingly. Correspondingly, Sumi ink contains synthetic dyes, which are chemically synthesized ingredients, and it is rubbed by collecting natural animal glue.

Furthermore, this ink usually cannot be stored in liquid form by rubbing once, but hard ink does not spoil until it dries.

The Binding agent Of India Ink

Indian ink is a particular type of black ink made from lamps or carbon black pigments. However, a fine wood-coal ash and water mixture was used to prepare the whole ink, but animal glue was used as a binder.

The liquid is constantly rubbed with water to turn it into ink, and then adding varnish or gelatin makes the ink durable and waterproof.

In addition, the ink is rubbed in the same manner with the specific water ratio until it is properly immersed in the water as well as some brands add glycerin to the ink even though no binding agent is required.

Numerous people think India ink means that it is produced in India, but no, this ancient ink originated in China, so it is also called China ink. In particular, the ink recipe is fundamental, which has not changed in the recipe over the years, and the quality has remained the same.

The original recipe for India ink in carbon black is found in the history of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Traditionally, black carbon ink comes in various shades, including black, grey, and ink strokes that express texture and emotion, as well as being used in various ways with brushes and deep pens.

The factors directly influence the difference between Sumi Ink and India Ink

difference between sumi ink and india ink

Color Variations

India ink, made using the ancient method, became increasingly popular with people worldwide, and its use spread all around. Indian ink comes in dark and dark black colors, which are commercially produced ink you can get online or at local stationery stores from anywhere in the world.

The special ink is used for different purposes in India, so not everyone can just use black ink, considering that India ink is readily available in different colors like red, yellow, magenta, green, blue, white, purple, black, bright purple, grass green, teal these included in Dr Ph Martin’s Bombay India ink.

Moreover, India ink has a unique advantage: the user can create any ink of his choice by adding any tint shade, and it is suitable for use on paper or canvas.

Sumi ink is the most sought after black ink, yet they are available in a variety of colors for the convenience of the users, but they are not divided into colors like the Indian ink. Conversely, Sumi ink is roughly divided into two parts depending on the materials used to make ink; For example, Sumi made of lamp glass is called Yuenboku.

Sumi ink is bluish in color, so it is also called Seiboku. On the contrary, the Sumi Kali, made of burnt pine, is known initially as Shoenboku, which has a specific reddish color and hence is called Chaboku. In addition to color variations, Sumi can be divided into new ink and old ink, with different textures and colors gradually changing over time.

In addition, the ingredients used in Sumi ink use synthetic dyes instead of animal glue, which is the main reason for the color change. Furthermore, the ingredients used in Sumi ink use synthetic dyes instead of animal glue, which is the main reason for the color change.

This speciality of Sumi ink is quite popular among the Japanese as well as people all over the world.


Versatile use of Indian ink has been noticed so far, but black or colored ink once became the most preferred and popular for printing and writing users. Moreover, the use of India ink for tattoo, drawing, calligraphy, and outline is no less.

With the help of ink in comic strips and comment books, it is best to use ink. However, you may be surprised to know that India ink has particular use as it is used in medical fields like radiotherapy and surgery.

Undoubtedly Sumi ink has been very popular for calligraphy for a long time, but it is an excellent use for painting and drawing. Not only this, with the help of traditional tattoos in Japan, high-quality Sumi ink is the only hope for black and shading.

Moreover, suppose one wants to use monochromatic ink for botanical or flower work and wants to take a break from watercolour for some time. In that case, Sumi ink is able to give incomparable results.

Waterproof and Water-Resistant

In ink selection, the user never avoids the question of whether the ink is water-resistant. However, in modern times the sources of India ink and Sumi ink being water-resistant are pretty regular and readily available in both waterproof forms.

Basically, Indian ink is like watercolor, which, once dried it becomes waterproof and cannot be mixed later. As we all know, India ink is made of opaque, black carbon pigment, so it provides the best reproduction quality on the pages with light stability and is free-flowing as well as waterproof.

When Sumi ink was first discovered, it was dissolved in water and did not have any unique properties like water resistance. But later, when the users faced various problems due to lack of waterproofing, the producers were forced to change the recipe and make Sumi ink waterproof.

Indeed, Sumi does not dry very quickly when used in calligraphy, so the ink spreads very easily during that time. But once the ink dries, it is waterproof due to the shellac that was present in it.

The Using Process of Sumi and India Ink

India ink is a fantastic tool but doesn’t use it in your fountain pen unless you want to kill your pen and spoil your work as well. In particular, there are plenty of other tools that combine very well with this ink.

In using process, you have to get some tools together, such as a glass of water, brushes, a bamboo pen and a water brush filled with diluted ink. Do not dip too much from the pen if you want clear and sharp lines. On the other hand, if you don’t want something bold, pick up a bit more ink and press the ink harder to the paper as you draw.

The tip of a bamboo pen can be used to create a stick and twig flat line that often resembles calligraphy. If you do not want to be messing around with the ink bottles and water on location, you could dilute some India ink with water and fill a water brush with it.

This way, you will always have a tool to add quick Shadows and draw a little self-portrait and thicker lines as well. First, you need to know about Sumi ink Stick and an inkstone known as Suzuki.

In fact, the ink is rubbed by pouring water on this ink stone, and the ink is retained, as well as; the ink is made by grinding the page stick.

Another option you have to eat is to buy bottle ink because this helps to save your time from grinding. Even it’s also more consistent because the entire bottle has the same thickness and same dark colour.

Where you grind in the ink running the stone until then kind of like forms and mental preparation to that there is a concentration when all you are doing is just grinding and making the ink when that sort of kind relaxes you.

Wrap up

The comparison of India ink vs Sumi ink has traditionally made the necessary information transparent and understandable. You may have noticed differences in the color of the pigments dissolved in these two inks, as well as in the techniques used, even though their binding material affects the ink.

A small tip; whenever you use Sumi ink and India ink, you must emphasize the differences between their brushes as special brushes are used to establish fast, dexterous stroke lines.

Unquestionably, Sumi ink is more expensive than in India in terms of modern, commercial and manufacturing operations because it is manufactured in various western countries and is imported from other countries like Japan or Asia.