Painting with Ink
Pauline Baynes (1922 - 2008):
Interior Decorating for the Artist
Painting with InkBehind the Art
by Melissa Acker
I've recently started working with ink, so I'd thought I'd share what I've learned so far. This article will be more about using ink as a paint, so I won't go into any of the more traditional methods such as cross-hatching or stippling.
I've used ink on watercolor papers, bristol papers and illustration board. As long as the surface you are working on is somewhat absorbent, it should work fine.
The most obvious way to use ink is just to dip your brush in it and apply to your surface like paint. Ink can be diluted with water to produce shades of gray. Whenever you are working with ink and water, keep a few drops of ink in a separate container and use that as your ink source. You don't want to get water in your ink jar!
Here are some examples of what happens when you put ink on damp paper. The first is a few drops of ink on damp bristol paper, and it shows what ink likes to do on paper; it spreads out and tries to take over, but creates a very pretty effect. The second is on damp watercolor paper, and you'll notice it resembles watercolor very much. The third image is also watercolor, but I worked with it more.
When working with ink in this way, keep the paper very still, or you will lose all the delicate textures. With any movement they will run into each other and blend.
Above are some examples of another technique I use: lifting. I've noticed when painting with ink that some of the areas where the ink is applied heavily will take much longer to dry, and, depending on the surface you are using, you can often lift these areas completely off. You can work with ink until it sets without ruining it. In these examples, the lightest areas are where I have lifted ink.
Another technique I use all the time is spraying with a spray bottle. Different size nozzles and pressures will give you different results, as will spraying as the ink is in different states of drying. This is one you can have a lot of fun with it!
And last but not least, spattering. This involves loading a tool such as an old toothbrush or stiff brush -- with ink, and whipping it around so that it leaves drops on the surface. Angling it in different directions and speeds will give you different styles. When using spatter, be sure to cover everything you want kept clean.
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