Alcohol Inks – My Latest Happy Discovery
Alcohol inks – oh my goodness – you know when something really sets you on fire and you don’t want to sleep?
Well this is it for me! It’s all Mandy Shedden’s fault – since I went to visit her fantastic little craft supplies store in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, I have not been the same.
The store, Keep On Crafting was an absolute Aladdin’s cave of art and craft goodies. I seriously didn’t know which way to turn. Sadly it has closed now but the website is thriving. Do have a look.
If you click here and read one of the first posts I put on here, you will see that I encourage people to have a go at art regardless of age or perceived ability.
Alcohol inks are a fantastic way for people who are ‘no good at art’ to explore their creativity without the fear of being ‘wrong’.
Alcohol Inks Will Keep You Busy For Hours!
I have been wanting to try alcohol inks for years but just didn’t get around to it. Also, I have never found a craft shop that has the range of colours that Mandy stocks.
It’s ok buying online but with materials like alcohol inks, I like to physically hold the product in my hand and study the range of colours. As I said earlier, Mandy had to cose her shop but you can order from her website.
I only bought five colours just to see what I could do with them before I committed to buying the whole shop ;-), also, my husband was there so, well you know, my husband was there.
They don’t understand the need for having ALL the colours, they really don’t, so a mass buying trip with some arty crafty friends who understand will be coming up soon.
The five colours I bought – the bottles are looking a bit used now even though they are less than two weeks old! There are about 55 colours to choose from – ooh, decisions,decisions!
You Can’t Go ‘Wrong’ With Alcohol Inks
The beauty of alcohol inks is that you can’t really do it ‘wrong’. You can produce images in so many different ways and the effects can be quite random.
They work well on glossy paper, so I dug out some paper I had left over from my adventures into encaustic painting and let rip with the alcohol inks.
Even though I had no idea what I was doing – I had huge fun just playing around – which is what art is all about for me.
Mandy told me there is a range of metallic mixatives which I cannot wait to get my hands on.
I seriously have to get all of them!
What you see below are my first couple of images. It’s totally addictive once you see what the inks will do.
After my first couple of dabblings with the ink, I decided to try scribbling little designs over the top to see what would happen.
I did this late at night, in poor light, while babysitting and I had forgotten my glasses too!
However, you can clearly see the potential for doodling over the top of alcohol inks.
Once you get the hang of how alcohol inks work, you can start to push boundaries.
What you can do with the inks depends entirely on you imagination and your willingness to experiment.
I am still in the very early stages of experimentation and I am already keen to go further that just dropping alcohol inks onto glossy paper and watching what they do.
I have tried floating them on water and then sliding glossy paper underneath. The image below is the result of that experiment.
There is huge potential here for creating backgrounds this way and doing further work with doodling on top.
You can see in the image below that the top half is more freeform, although I did manipulate the inks a bit.
The bottom half is where I really started to manipulate the inks with blending solution and various techniques to start getting an impression of poppies.
You can get a bit more adventurous with pushing ink around if you use blending solution. I put mine in a watercolour ‘pen’ as shown below. Mandy had both in her shop when it was open but I’m not sure if she still sells them on her website.
Don’t be afraid to try these inks, they are huge fun and you don’t have to be ‘good’ at art. We just need to get back to where we were at when we were five years old and do it for the fun of it, not to please anyone but ourselves.
If you want to get arty but are scared of doing it ‘wrong’ (and what have I told you about that!), get some alcohol inks etc from Keep On Crafting and start making art today!
What do you think of alcohol inks? Have you tried them? Please comment below and tell me what your experience has been – especially if you have any expert tips to share.
Have you done a class at Keep On Crafting? If you have produced anything using any of Mandy’s products and want to display your artworks here, let me know. It doesn’t have to be with alcohol inks, it can be anything.