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An Experiment in Alcohol Inks

I have wanted to try alcohol inks since I first saw them. I was drawn to the luminous color, swirls, and layering. When I heard about a class for them, I knew this would be perfect for my #refreshrenew series. ( This is a self care practice I’ve committing to, where I try one brand new thing/ month for a whole year, as a way to refresh and renew my inspiration and sense of self).

Alcohol inks are liquid inks that are alcohol based instead of water based. They are basically little liquid rainbows.

The class was at Five Monkeys art Gallery in Des Moines, Ia. It was casual, focusing on exploring the medium and having fun while experimenting. The supplies were simple; cotton balls, a straw, Spray bottle, small paint brushes, 90% alcohol isopropyl, the cutest pipette ever, and of course the inks.

We started out by working on tile. It was fascinating to watch the drips of ink and alcohol interact. The alcohol diluted and expanded the ink, and could be applied with a spray bottle, dripped on, or painted on. More ink could then be added, and then more alcohol, and then more ink. The possibilities for play were truly endless and I found myself falling in love.

We moved on to working with paper. The class used YUPO paper, which is non porous and waterproof, which allows the ink to sit on top. I had so much fun working large and really experimenting with the possibilities of the ink and bold colors. Everyone else in the class really enjoyed it too. It was fun to see how everyone’s artwork differed, even though we were all working with the same medium. Some members focused on dots and drips, while others created sunsets, or effects close to marbling.

I am so happy I chose to take the plunge and try alcohol inks. After the class, it took will power not to immediately go out and buy all the inks! I definitely want to work with them again. I have so many ideas for color combinations and adding them to mixed media. Expect to see them sometime in my future work.

Five Monkeys is hosting another class on Jan 27th, which I really recommend if you have an interest in alcohol inks, or just want to let go and get creative.



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