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Akua/Caligo inks

I wanted to try a little experiment after watching several youtube videos on printmaking.

There seemed overwhelming support for Akua inks over everything else, so I bought a pot to test run and compare to my usual Caligo.

I used both inks for monoprint, reduction monoprint, monotype, and printing of etchings with and without a press.

Basically there's not a lot to choose between them. They both clean up with soap and water (though to clean a plate thoroughly, I found I needed to use a little vegetable oil for both) Looking at the tubes it seems that Caligo is based on Linseed Oil and Akua is based on soya.

I'd imagine that for textiles, Akua (soya based) would be less likely to rot the fabric over time than Caligo (linseed based) That's just my personal take based on my long-held understanding that oil paints which contain linseed oil can rot fabric.

Akua intaglio ink is much runnier than the Caligo etching ink, which made the line monoprinting less successful...too much noise.  It suggests you mix it with magmix to make it thicker when printing. Good to know there are products to thicken and thin, but the Caligo is about right naturally. Caligo also make products to thicken and thin.

Akua also do a liquid pigment which looks fun and can be used in conjunction with the intaglio and is transparent. You could have great fun combining both products. It looks a bit like Golden Fluid acrylic. It's claimed that Akua will stay wet on the plate until printed onto paper when it will then dry, giving endless time when making an image.

Below: A quick reductive mushroom monoprint on Somerset paper, Caligo on left, Akua on right.

Sketchbook page using Akua for monoprint.

In conclusion, I found the Akua much wetter and viscous than the Caligo and I would use it for preference for reduction monoprinting. I'd use the Caligo over the Akua when it came to line monoprint. Good to have both products to hand I guess.


  1. Interesting to see a comparison. I'd been tempted by the Akua inks too!

    1. Hiya Laura!I'm going to check to see if the Akua come in tubes as I don't use masses of printing ink and it might be a bit less messy too - I have to be honest, I did get myself covered in the stuff when spooning it out and cleaning up! It seems that no matter what I want to try, there's always a new product to tempt me. A xx