Drawing Techniques: a Guide
Brown inks : Sepia  

Old Master drawings are popularly identified with the handsome brown color of their ink. Formerly these sheets were commonly described with the misnomer "sepia". It is usual today to describe all such drawings as "pen and brown ink" or "brush and brown wash", because, although a number of different inks were used, it is difficult to distinguish between them. Of the two primary kinds of ink, bistre presents more or less the original appearance at the time of use, and iron-gall ink turns from black to brown with time.

The term sepia, which properly denotes the brownish-black ink made from the dark liquid of cuttlefish, traditionally misused as a blanket term for the brown ink of old master drawings appears to have come into use only in the eighteenth century and to have gained popularity in the nineteenth. Genuine sepia inks are sold as cakes of pigment which are mixed with water by the artist before use.

  Marie de Lagabbe, Lake Scene, Collection Michael Miller, New York
Iron-gall ink
Black Ink