Easy Color Blending with a Pilot Parallel

Back in November 2016, I wrote a post with some advanced Pilot Parallel tips including one about color blending with a Pilot Parallel.

This technique involves taking two or more Parallel pens that are each filled with a different color. Take the tip of the Parallel that you’re writing with and hold it underneath the tip of another Parallel. Gravity will allow the ink of the secondary parallel to flow into the tip of the Parallel that you’re writing with.

The word Beastmaker written in purple and red blended ink by Jake Rainis

The result of this technique will result in streaks of color within your initial strokes. Upon further writing, the color from your secondary Parallel will begin to fade back to the original color.

I enjoy this technique but it has a some drawbacks:

  • It requires 2 Pilot Parallels, each with a different color.
  • It can be difficult to balance and control the amount of color blending that occurs.
  • Depending on the angle flow of the ink during each application, you’re likely to get different results.

An Alternative Color Blending Technique

Lately, I’ve been using a different technique to achieve color blending with a Pilot Parallel. This method involves dipping your Parallel in an ink well of pigment while the cartridge within the Parallel is loaded with a different pigment.

For example, in this image my Parallel is loaded with a water diluted black ink (which results in a dark grey) and was dipped in a Royal Blue Speedball ink.

The words Holy Terror with blended blue and black in written by Jake Rainis

The result is quite neat. As you can see, the blue is most prominent right after it’s been dipped. The dark grey is most prominent after a couple of strokes (once the blue has run out). Every stroke in between is a gradient that gradually goes from the initial color (blue) to the base color (dark grey).

Using Different Inks

One of my favorite aspects about this method of color blending with a Pilot Parallel is experimenting with different inks. As you probably know, you can’t put just any ink inside of a Parallel. The thinner the pigment, the better. Otherwise, you risk clogging the pen (and potentially ruining it).
However, with this dipping method, you can keep a safe ink inside of the Parallel cartridge and blend it with an “unsafe” ink.

The words Smoke Drink Die with blended blue and black in written by Jake Rainis

In the image above, the Parallel has a dark grey ink dipped into a gold pigment. Because of the iridescent particles in a gold ink, it’s generally not a good idea to use inside of the Parallel. In this scenario, the ink is only touching the tip of the Parallel — not getting inside of the body — so it’s still safe.

You can also achieve some beautiful effects using watercolor inks. In the image below, I’m dipping into an inkwell of Dr. Ph. Martin’s Radiant Concentrated Water Color (Scarlet).

The words Coolidge Corner with blended blue and black in written by Jake Rainis

If you’re using watercolor, you’ll get the best results with wet media (or preferably watercolor paper).

Keeping Your Ink Safe

Depending on what colors you’re blending, you want to be careful not to taint your ink. For example if your Parallel is loaded with black ink and you’re dipping into a light green ink, you’ll slowly contaminate the inkwell. With each dip, black ink will bleed into the light green — which will gradually become darker.

To prevent ink contamination, take a small portion of the dipping ink from its original container using an eyedropper and put it into small vessel. Then dip into the small vessel. This way, the original container is untouched and you will only contaminate a small amount of ink that can eventually be discarded from the smaller vessel.


There you have it! Obviously, there’s certainly nothing wrong with color blending with 2 Pilot Parallels. However, I find this method to be more convenient while still allowing for endless experimentation. I hope you enjoy it too. If you have any questions, or unique techniques that you utilize for color blending with a Pilot Parallel, I’d love to hear. Drop me a line!

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