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Step-by-Step Guide to Using Pigment Inks and Paint Pens on Black Cardstock

Using black paper as a starting point for journaling, card making, and other forms of mixed media art has been a new trend for a while. I will show you how to add color to a black background so the colors really pop out.

ink on black background technique

What inks work on black paper?

As you can imagine, many coloring mediums would not appear on black paper. But there are a couple that do.

For any color to show, the ink must sit on top of the paper and be bright enough to create a strong contrast.

Gel pens

A lot of gel pen types are perfect for black paper. In fact, many brands of gel pens are made specifically for black paper. These pens are usually very bright colors, made with opaque ink versus a gel pen with slightly see-through ink.

Metallic markers

Certain metallic markers are a fun product to use on black paper. What is fun about these is that when you first apply them to the black paper, it appears as if you can’t see the ink, but then magically, the ink intensifies and is a sharp contrast to the black paper.

Pigment ink pads

Stamp pads made with pigment ink are a different option than using pens. And it is one of the supplies I used for this tutorial. The Color Box brand has several sets with a variety of light-colored inks. The lighter the ink, the more it will pop off the black paper.

And here’s another way to use your chalk pigment inks. And if you have multi-colored ink pads, see how I use them with a brayer.

Paint pens

Light-colored acrylic paint pens are another excellent option. Since they write with actual paint, you can count on them leaving a good amount of color.

Also, see how you can use paint pens for writing on clay.

The tutorial


supplies for ink on black paper

Lay the stencil over the black card stock:

stencil ink on black paper

Pounce the ink over the stencil onto the card stock making sure enough ink is left on the paper:

pigment ink on black paper

Because this is likely going to be used as a background, you’ll want to spray yours with some workable fixative:

how to seal ink

To make the design of your stencil really stand out, you can trace the shapes using a gel pen or paint pen:

ink and gel pen on black paper

create a background using gel pens on black paper

Exploring the world of pigment ink, gel, and paint pens on black cardstock is an adventure every artist should embark on immediately. It adds a sophisticated and dramatic touch to your work and unleashes a unique dimension of creativity.

There's no time like the present to experiment with these techniques and elevate your art projects and journal entries to a whole new level.

I'd love to know: what first project are you planning to use these methods on?

See all my mixed media background techniques to check out and try!

I’d be so happy if you shared! 😀

pigment ink on black paper

How to add ink to black paper


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