I held my first public "Intro to Alcohol Inks" class yesterday and it went very well! So well in fact, that I'm planning a new series of classes this fall (online and in-person). I will be sharing new techniques and new tools and a variety of beautiful subjects lending themselves to this gorgeous medium. I am so excited!
We started with pears...
Creating should be a freedom thing. This was a group of twelve ladies and we created two 6x6 ceramic tiles and an 8x10 matted yupo painting. After introducing the materials materials, I did a demo and I'd have them practice each new technique on their own. The subject was a pear, but we each painted our own interpretation using whatever alcohol ink colors we wanted to use. Being free to create can be scary and intimidating but when we do, we quickly get over our fears with alcohol inks. I really enjoy having students create what they want instead of trying to copy my work exactly. Teaching this way removes the pressure for the student and for me. We painted pears and every one of them was unique and beautiful. I just love that!
and ended with a landscape!
Be fearless in your creativity! Let me help you get over any fear of that ugly stage! Let me just say that as with any painting, there might be an ugly stage. It happens in all mediums, but with alcohol inks it's very easy to work your way through and fix the ugly!
We've all been there. I look at it as my job as an instructor to help you learn how you can get yourself out of that ugly stage. I demonstrate and discuss this at my workshops and in my online classes. So if you are learning alcohol inks, my upcoming online classes will help you develop your skills and shorten your learning curve. That's why I teach!
Supply list for my upcoming online Alcohol Inks classes. Here is a list of supplies to get started with alcohol inks. Some of these items are available through Amazon, I am an Amazon affiliate and I earn from qualifying purchases! Scroll to bottom for photos and links.
First, you will need two mediums:
91% Isopropyl Alcohol works much better than 70% strength and is what I use. Used for cleaning your surfaces to remove oils and dirt prior to painting and also to clean brushes. I also pour some into a mister bottle to create a spattered texture. You can purchase at any local pharmacy but very often it's out of stock, so I purchase it online to avoid the runaround. (I can't tell you how many times Walgreen's and Walmart were out of it).
Alcohol Blending Solution (I recommend buying 2 bottles). This solution acts as "water" for your inks to "flow" in, it is used to dilute and lighten inks and for blending. Use to "wet" your surface and create soft blended background effects and can also be used with a brush for details.
Next you'll need a few tools:
Mister bottles can be purchased at Dollar Tree (2 ounce is what I use) or you can get these mini misters in a three pack. Use them to mist alcohol onto wet ink for a spattered texture. (Wear a mask, you don't want to breathe in rubbing alcohol).
Applicator Tool. This tool makes beautiful textures by adding dots of ink or blending solution onto the felt pad and pressing onto your surface. I use the larger, rectangular one.
Plastic Painting Palettes. I recommend a set of 12 because you can save and reuse your colors in them.
Detail Round Paint Brushes. You'll want synthentic bristles, inexpensive is fine.
Nail Dotters. I love these nail dotters to create dots, I use these for perfect tiny metallic dots using gold and silver alcohol inks.
Disposable Gloves. Protect your skin from staining!
Coffee Stirrers. The longer the better!
Drinking Straws. I use the bendable ones.
Canned Air. Used for blown flowers, this is a must have. The three pack is nice for when the can you're using gets too cold - just switch to another can!
Latex Wedges. Another must have! Great for blotting away alcohol inks (helps to regain some control) and leaves a soft airbrushed look.
White Gel Pens. Another must have! I discovered these amazing pens years ago, they are the best. You will love them.
Blending Pen. This is an excellent tool, it comes empty and I suggest you read the instructions when filling it!
Now for the Ranger Alcohol Inks:
Sold individually and in 3-pack sets (best value), so I recommend you start with these four sets: Dockside Picnic, Nature Walk, Rustic Lodge and Summit View. You'll also want Ranger's Mixatives in Snow Cap white and the 2-pack set of Gold and Silver. There are several additional metallic mixitives including Copper and Pearl too! If you're getting overwhelmed with all of these colors, skip the metallics for now or just get the Gold and Silver.
Pinata Color Exciter Ink Pack (16 colors) is a great value, be sure to also purchase the Clean Up solution and the Claro Extender if you buy this set. They also offer a set of 9 metallic and pearlescent colors called Lumiere by Jacquard Products.
Copic Marker Refills are another alcohol-based ink you can use, they come in hundreds of colors!
Substrates (materials to apply alcohol inks to). Ceramic tile is the best material to start practicing on with alcohol inks. Purchase them at your local Menard's, Home Depot or Lowe's. I love Yupo Synthetic Watercolor Paper by Legion, and use it for most of my work. It is 100% Polypropylene, I use the 74lb, 11x14, 20 sheet pad (best value). Kirkland's Photo Paper is an inexpensive alternative to the Yupo Paper. Also, Mineral Paper by Yasutomo is a mult-media paper I have heard about but haven't tried yet.
Sealing/Protecting your work. Alcohol inks are prone to fade since they are dyes, frame your yupo painting using UV resistant glass. Spray your ceramic tiles with Krylon Kamar Varnish first and then spray with Krylon UV-Resistant Clear. An additional coat of Krylon's Triple Thick Clear Glaze looks amazing on tiles. Purchase at hobby stores or an amazon. (see links below).
Treat yourself to some Photo Mat Sets. I think it's important to put your painted work into a mat or frame it right away. (I cut an 11x14 sheet into 4 pieces and that fits perfectly in an 8X10 mat.). Matted paintings do not need to be varnished, however I recommend UV-Resistant glass when you are framing! I use Golden State Art Pack of 10 White Pre-Cut 8x10 picture mat for 5x7 paintings. Set includes bevel cut mat, backing board and clear bag with adhesive strip to close. I also buy the multicolor sets.
I think that's more than enough information to get started. It can be confusing figuring out what to buy and I'm sure this list will help you! I will be announcing more classes very soon! Thanks for stopping by!
(See product links below)