Ink Art
June 7, 2016 9:57 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for resources (books especially) on making art whose primary medium is ink. (Not alcohol inks, which I use and love, just all matter of "regular" inks.) More inside.

For starters, I am definitely abstract. I don't want a book that teaches me how to use a brush and ink to outline a rabbit that I then fill in with rabbit-colored ink. I'm much more the type to take some wet watercolor paper, some different colors of ink, and some brushes, and see what happens.
I'm sure there's more technique than I know of. My colors end up puddling in a dark mess at the bottom, and I'm not sure how to add any lightness. I would like to learn techniques for different effects, as well as about the properties of different inks and colors. I'd also like to learn about any tools I can use--some of the alcohol ink tools are transferable (canned air, plastic straws, etc) but maybe there are tools I'm missing to play with the ink.

I do sometimes add gouache or watercolor or acrylic to an ink piece, so I'm definitely open to that. It's just that I know those materials better than I know ink.
Can anyone recommend a book or video to teach me more? If anybody out there has tips, also feel free to message me or include them here.
posted by mermaidcafe to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not an ink expert and just barely got into ink shading with watercolors. I have used watercolors though.

Some things:
Inks work best on 100% cotton (or rag) paper. My watercolor paper didn't cut it and it all just sat on top and didn't sink it. 100% cotton Arches paper was night and day.

Inks work like watercolors until they're dry. Therefore if you want to blend or layer it's the same as with watercolor while wet. They will pool and blend together if it's all wet. If you want to layer then let one color dry first - or dry most of the way. The pooling means you're using too much liquid (whether ink or water) and it's not staying where it is. Also 100% cotton paper will soak up things better and it won't pool as much.

I would honestly look up some stuff about watercolor and see if that helps at all because it's a similar wet process only that it's there stuck there once it's dry.

Watching artists on Instagram is really helpful for me.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:05 PM on June 7, 2016

And not to double comment, but I really want to emphasise trying 100% cotton paper or other types of paper. I mean, literally, changed my life with ink. I was so frustrated that I wasn't "getting it" like the tutorials I watched until I switched paper. It's kinda expensive but so. so. worth it.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:07 PM on June 7, 2016

Blow bubbles with a straw into a (shallow) bowl of water color ink, heavily diluted with water. When you have a good mass of them, gently touch the paper to the bubble mass.
Learned this from a friend who took a class from a local watercolor teacher.
posted by Otterone at 4:12 AM on June 8, 2016

The inks I am familiar with are acrylic inks (permanent when dry, can be translucent or not, more pigment), india ink (permanent when dry, translucent, usually no metallics or heavy pigments), and spray inks (usually water reactive and not permanent.)

All three of these inks can be used with watercolor techniques while wet, though of course they will have different properties and reactions as you work with them.

If you're getting a dark mess, you might want to consider working in layers (like watercolors) and letting the layers dry between. I was just working on a piece with india inks in purple and yellow. I put down the purple, moved it around to my satisfaction and let it dry before I layered the yellow on top. If I'd let them mingle when wet, they would've ended up muddy.

I think you'll find videos worth watching if you search for specific ink types, like this search for using acrylic inks.

For spray inks, Dyan Reaveley has her own line with Dylusions and videos of her using them.

A technique that's been popular in on-line classes recently is marbling with shaving cream. Acrylic inks are great for this technique.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:33 PM on June 8, 2016

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