Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay India Inks Review and Lightfast Testing

Bombay India Inks are a lightfast, waterproof, shellac and pigment based liquid available in glass or plastic bottles. They are made by the company Dr. Ph Martin's established in 1934. They also make "Hydrus" liquid watercolor (non-waterproof with lightfast pigments) as well as "Radiant" watercolors (fugitive dyes, similar to "ecoline" by Royal Talens).

Bombay india ink by dr ph martins lightfast color chart pigment waterproof dip pen

Bombay India Inks can be used with a dip pen or brush. They can be used to replace pens as a waterproof outline for your watercolor paintings. They can also be used similarly to watercolor paints themselves, but are permanent (do not reactivate with water) once dry. The selection is mostly transparent and therefore good for replicating watercolor layering and glazing techniques. Being completely waterproof, you can avoid any accidental lifting of secondary layers. There are some opaque colors like white and earth browns, which suffer from sediment residue in their bottles. These colors can require a lot of stirring to go back to normal and can become hard or chunky over years in storage. This seems to be the biggest downside of this product. I have not had any problem with 5+ year storage of the brighter transparent colors.

dr ph martins bombay india ink brown color separation sediment bottles settle pigment

While this company does not provide pigment information, they do use quality lightfast pigments. All of the colors I've tested are LFI / BW8 / Max Lightfastness, with zero fading after one full year in window light. No fugitive colors to report.

Dr Ph Martins Bombay India Inks Color Chart lightfast test pigments 

Where to buy individually? Blick carries them both in sets and individually here.

You can find these inks on Amazon or by browsing Blick below. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you :)





Return to the lightfast testing and art supply reviews, or check out how individual colors compare to other brands on the pigment database here.


Note: this page contains affiliate links. All product opinions are my own. I am committed to honest reviews showcasing both the pros and cons of each product. I have not received payment from any brand for a review. I earn a commission from sales made through this web page's clickable banners or links to Amazon, Arteza, Scrapbook, Jackson's or Blick Art Materials websites.