There are a lot of ink pad choices out there, but the best quality I have found thus far is from Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pads. They come in a wide variety of colors - anywhere from classic browns and black to mustard yellow - and last forever. Also, the pad and case itself are square, which, at least to me, makes them more easy to handle when you are using direct ink to paper inking techniques.
You are looking at my FAVORITE Tim Holtz ink - Walnut Stain. It is definitely a scrapbooking staple if you are in to the distressed look, but make sure you check out the other colors Tim has!
P.s. You should store these upside-down to keep the pad nice and wet. :)
I have a couple of Tim Holtz brand distress inks now. I had a lighter brown and decided I "needed" this one. It is a dark, dark brown. It looks so go for edging and other paper inking techniques. I am very happy to have gotten it. I use it quite a bit. I did try aging with my other ink pads and it just seemed so much more difficult with them than the Tim Holtz style pads make it. I think this would be my suggestion for one of the first few colors to put into your arsenal for the inked and distressed look... if you had to limit yourself to just a few.
I love all of my distress inks. They are so versatile and can be used in so many ways. You can pounce on the edge of your paper or photo for a vintage look. And if you lightly mist with water (wouldn't recommend doing that on your photo) you can get the ink to run a little giving a truly distressed, old time, feel. Walnut ink is my favorite for the distressed look. A nice dark brown reminding me of the photos and ephemera I find in my grandmother's scrapbooks.
I love this ink, I love the look it gives paper with distressing. I have used it both on just edges and all over, and it is terrific! There are so many uses for this. Just recently, I dabbed it over letters for the mask effect, and I loved the way it went on the paper. Since purchasing this, I have purchased 3 other distress inks and I hope to purchase the rest of them soon.
What everyone here is saying is true so I'll only add a bit about the importance of an off-black. If this ink pad is used so the application is very heavy it can "read" as black. In other words if walnut stain is stamped over a darkish background. This can be a good thing, black can be too harsh in some situations, and a good dark brown creates contrast without being so obvious. The other thing with an off-balck is burnt edges (offerings? joking!). If you examine real world paper with burnt edges it really isn't true black. There are some good demos out there for recreating this effect with Distress Ink pads.