Indian ink is a black pigment made from a mixture of carbon black and a binding agent such as gelatine or glue which is usually formed into solid cakes and sticks. It was once widely used for writing and printing and is now more commonly used for drawing and outlining, especially when inking comic books and comic strips.
Indian ink was invented in China around 2500 BCE. Chinese ink makers mixed carbon black with glues and gums and poured the mixture into moulds in the shape of sticks. After the mixture dried, a writer would break off a piece of ink stick and dip it in water to use as a pen. Here is a photograph of a bottle of Indian ink:
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