|be creative | July 2016
Alcohol inks - A must try for any artist
by Chelle Doll
I have done many crafts over the years and have found many things I really enjoy doing. It wasn't until I started playing with alcohol inks that I discovered as an artist you need to let go and let your art be what it wants to be. I am self-taught, and have had hundreds of hours playing with these miraculous liquids that turned ordinary tiles or paper into amazing works of art. Frankly I shock myself with some of the things that are created. It's not me, it's the ink! I began teaching private classes on how to paint with alcohol inks to share my love for it, and every class has filled up within fifteen minutes of me announcing it.
Some of my students say "I can't do art, I'm not artistic"; they are typically the ones who turn out some of the most amazing pieces. Even they say "I am an artist" when it's done. You too can be an artist -- all you have to do is try! Here are some tips to get you started:
Bottle with fine tip
* I use Jacquard Pinata and Tim Holtz Adirondack (vibrant colors)
** 91% Isopropyl-anything with less alcohol doesn't move the ink as well
First things first: setting up your work space. Put down a piece of wax paper (wax side down) to create a barrier for the inks; they get messy. The ink will stain your hands too, so wear rubber gloves. Fill your bottle with alcohol, grab your alcohol inks and you're ready!
Clean your ceramic tile with alcohol and a cotton ball. Let it dry. Add your inks, a drop at a time, to the tile. For a random look, just drop the ink in multiple spots around the tile. Layer your dots and watch the movement and blending of the ink. If you want to stop the ink from moving, dry it by blowing softly with your straw. Add alcohol from your fine tip bottle to the ink and make the colors lighter (it will also move the ink, so keep that in mind). Adding white will also help lighten things up if you get dark spots. Take away ink by placing alcohol on your paintbrush and just barely tapping on top of the ink. It creates some great texture and will bring the color of the tile back into the artwork.
For a floral effect, just add a huge drop of ink and use your straw to blow the ink around the tile. Come straight down from the top of your wet ink and blow to get a full circular effect or at an angle to make flower petals. Layering the flowers over each other creates depth and character. Let the ink dry a little before applying it to the tile and it won't move as much.
Sealing the tile is easy. Just use an acrylic spray and apply at least four coats. You want to be sure it's a type that won't turn yellow over time. Don't seal the piece until you know you like it. If you don't seal it, you can always take alcohol and wipe the tile totally clean and start over.
That's it! It's really that easy. There are videos different techniques available online, or you can take a class! You will be amazed at what you can create. Some inks will move more than others so the best thing you can do is experiment. You will never get the same thing twice. Just have fun with it.
Tips & Tricks
* When disposing of your ink or alcohol, run water in drain for a few minutes to make sure it is cleared of the trap.
* Yupo paper is also a great choice to use with alcohol ink. Most papers won't work because they will curl when wet.
* Canned air can also be used to move the ink around on Yupo or tiles.
Chelle Doll has been crafting for over 42 years. The original owner of Urban Girl, Chelle does sculpting, sewing, beading, stained glass, quilling and paints with acrylic, watercolor and her new favorite, alcohol ink. Her motto? "Craft until your fingers fall off, then hot glue them back on and keep on creating".