To work with alcohol inks all you need is some alcohol ink and any surface. Really! Thats it! You can create some great art by just applying the ink to the surface for example Yupo paper and moving them around by tipping the paper or allow the inks to simply flow together to create great effects.
Even if you want to be more adventurous or take more control of the inks you really don’t have to spend a lot on supplies. Here are some of the things I find useful when I’m creating art whether it’s allowing the inks to do the hard work for me or trying to gain a little more control and painting a little more realistically.
- Alcohol inks (obviously 😜) I find Adirondack has a great range of colors but the different packs can vary in the amount of alcohol they contain and therefore the amount of movement you get with them. Piñata seem to be thicker and can be controlled much better. The colors in this range are fantastic and not only are they available in the small bottles but you can get them in 4oz sized bottles which are far more cost effective if you are counting the pennies. Always work in a well ventilated area and remember they are highly flammable.
- 91% Rubbing alcohol: I use this to dilute the alcohol inks for paler colours, in the spray misters , on the cotton buds and on the stampers to create a multitude of effects. Alcohol wipes can also be used to clean surfaces and hands.
- Straws: to move the inks; I use this technique most often when creating abstract flowers and landscapes.
- Palette: when I’m painting with the inks I put small amounts of the ink into the palette and paint using those. If I want more control and the inks to move less I allow the alcohol to evaporate off for a while. If they dry out just add of drop of alcohol and you are ready to go again. You can use kitchen foil to wrap your pallet in then discard after painting and voila your palette is clean!
- Kitchen paper: useful for putting on your work surface to catch inks.
- Paint brushes: I use inexpensive fine brushes to paint with the alcohol ink. They can also be used for painting masking fluid on but remember to dip them in some dish soap first to avoid them being ruined.
- Small jar/dropper: I use these to clean brushes and also if I want to drop the alcohol onto my painting I can be a bit more accurate than with the spray.
- Gift cards: you can create straight lines and other effects by dragging the card across the inks. (Visit ‘Alcohol ink effects’ for more tips and techniques)
- Felt/stamper: I use this for creating additional effects on my paintings by stamping with just alcohol or adding the inks to the felt and creating different colors and textures. I also bought a regular square of felt and cut it into squares as a cheaper alternative for the replacement pads.
- Spray mister: available from craft stores you can add alcohol inks or just rubbing alcohol to spray or mist your paintings.
- Alcohol based pens e.g Copic, Sharpie: I use these mostly to add details and then the Copic blender pen is amazing for lifting inks or blending them.
- Oil based pens/gel pens e.g Sharpies for when I want to add details that I don’t want to reactivate the inks. You can use regular marker pens like the Alcohol based Sharpies but they can reactivate the inks so be aware of that if you are using them.
- Micron pens: I sometimes outline or draw over my paintings and these are my favourite go to pen for doing this.
- Gloves: to keep hands clean but I never use them. If you don’t your hands and nails will stain and the ink really does not come off easily
- Cotton buds: to clean up areas where you don’t want ink, or to lift ink to a paler color.
- Masking fluid: if you want parts of your painting to stay white then masking fluid is the best way to go. My favourite is the Fineline masking fluid which comes out superfine. I would always recommend the inks drying really well before you remove the masking fluid.
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