Alcohol Ink - The Most Versatile Medium
I've been using Alchohol Inks for my products and in some cases painting that I sell for quite some time now. The brand I use is Jacquard Pinata Alcohol Inks. I have used others but this is my favourite and the one I want to concentrate on. I've included some photos and links for you that are there for you to look at if you'd like too.
Price-wise I think the price stated by genuine retailers are fair. The difficulty is they originate from abroad so during Covid-19 in the UK they have been hard to come by however that does seem to be improving since I've just received a million backorders! Hurray!!!
So I started out as I'm sure a lot of artists do, I used them with resin. They are unpredictable when added to the resin so you don't really know what you've made actually looks like till the de-moulding process after the resin is set. But watching the colourful and very beautiful storm cloud as the alcohol ink reacts with the resin is both mystifying and mesmerising. As a final product, it makes this unique Petri Dish effect that I love. Now to achieve this you rely heavily on the white ink (Blanco) and the more you add the more it creates this effect. I've used it to make coasters, jewellery and resin mini locks and resin signs, all of which can be seen in my Shop
I have also started using it for painting. It can be used to paint on glass or ceramics but it can be used for painting on a particular type of paper called Yupo paper. This paper comes in 3 thicknesses that I have seen so far, light, medium and heavy. I tend to use Jackson's Art Supplies for this and they stock the heavy and the medium at really good prices. I have used only the light and the heavy so far so I can only comment on them. I use an embossing heat tool to move it around on the paper as I find a hairdryer too powerful so therefore it's not easily controlled. I found that the light Yupo paper melts quickly if the heat is left on it too long. I've not had that issue with the heavy Yupo paper but I have also found that giving the paper time to cool between having heat applied to it is key. The painting side of it is still very new to me so I will include another blog further down the line that goes into more detail.
Now let's talk supplies. If you are starting out whether it's for glass and ceramics or on Yupo paper there are things I would like to suggest. You can buy two collections of alcohol ink as a 'starter pack' which are the 'Overtones' or 'Exciter' pack. Both of which I have ordered on both Amazon and The SAA (Society For All Artists). Personally I would recommend the 'Exciter' pack as it has all the original colours released in it. They average around £35 give or take but with the SAA if you become a member the do their own discounts as well as loyalty points and they also do an offer which includes the light Yupo paper too. Generally, they recommend you buy 'Alcohol Blending Solution'. But I found this to be expensive and not at all cost-effective for the amount you use. So I hopped on eBay and bought a large bottle of Isopropanol, much cheaper and goes a hell of a lot further. You can also buy a heat tool or hair dryer but I do recommend that you use it on the lowest or coolest setting. You could leave it to air dry but I don't recommend this as it really does take a long time.
https://www.saa.co.uk/ - If you do decide to join SAA which I do thoroughly recommend then, please let them know I referred you and we might get a little goody each. They also have some fantastic joining offers at the moment.
Experimentation is key with this medium, I'm not one to experiment with anything mostly because to me I feel like I'm wasting supplies. But with Alcohol Ink I think it is a must! I learnt more in an hour of playing around with it than any video tutorial I watched. I know that doesn't apply to everyone but that's what works for me. I was more motivated by the timelapse videos on Instagram than videos on sites such as YouTube and part of the fun for me is trying to figure out how they've done it.
Alcohol Ink also comes in 2 different sizes. I'm realising as I use this medium just how versatile it is, a little can go a long way. But that being said, I've gotten to the larger bottles. The smaller ones are 0.5 ounces and the larger ones are 4 ounces so there is a big difference and ultimately if you love using Alcohol Ink as much as I do then it's much more cost-effective to buy the bigger bottles.
They have a range of metallic colour too which are really fun, my favourites are the Brass and the Gold. One thing I would suggest is just making sure they are very well shaken before use.
I have also come across Jacquard's Extender and Cleaning solution. I've not really used the extender much honestly so I can't really say if it's worth getting or not at this point. However, I do most definitely recommend the cleaning solution as Alcohol Ink does stain anything it touches. So gloves are a must too unless like me being covered in paint it perfectly normal.
Ok, so I think I've covered everything for the basics at least. Please remember that this is only my opinion based on my experience for this medium. Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope it's been very helpful to you.