Monday, May 26, 2008

Thoughts on Acrylic Inks, Brushes and Drawing with Them

This post is a summary of my thoughts on using acrylic ink and brushes to draw - my process and a few other tidbits and opinions.

My Process With a Brush
  1. At the outset I must say that my drawing process is much different with a brush than with a pencil. Pencil in hand, I usually sketch a polygon that encloses the subject, then continue refining shapes and lines from there, almost as a sculptor would work.
  2. I load my brush with the lightest value that I see (besides a white highlight). I then look at the shape of that value.
  3. Then I decide how I need to hold, twist, twirl, or press the brush to achieve that shape in one stroke. Somewhere I read that the first stroke you put down in watercolor is the best, if you go back to adjust it then it only gets worse - I can't find the quote now, but it has made an impression on me. So ink painting has become a bit like golf for me!
  4. Next, I twist, twirl, and/or press the brush to create the shape.
  5. Repeat steps two through four with the medium value shapes. Of course, as there is no outline drawing, it can all go a bit wonky - this where I hope that practice and diligence is improving my eye.
  6. Then I finish with the darkest darks.
Acrylic Inks
  • I'm not sure what made me try these initially, but I'm glad that I did.
  • They come in a great range of colors.
  • They have the usual lightfastness standards and issues.
  • To me, they are less intimidating than watercolors. Once dry they can be painted over again without disturbing the lower layer. However, when wet they have the same nice "accidental" power that watercolors have.
  • They are easily mixed with water and can be mixed together to create different colors.
  • Up until now, I have used a brush I borrowed from my son's watercolor set and it has worked beautifully.
  • Recnetly I purchased a couple of white sable brushes that were on clearance -- they can be used with oil, acrylic, or watercolor - so I figured they'd be alright with acrylic ink. I'll let you know.


Jennifer Rose said...

I've always wanted to try acrylic inks because of all of the bright colours. Please do let us know if the brushes work well as I have the same type of brushes and would love to know if they do work well with the ink. :) Those flowers are very nice :) lovely colours

"Watercolor is like golf, every stroke counts" [Katie Wood McCloy]

Thank you for sharing the way you use ink :D

Jo Castillo said...

Rose, beautiful flowers and with a minimum of strokes. :) Thanks for the tips.

Jeanette said...

That's a very good explanation of how you use your brush to achieve what you want on paper.

Thanks for sharing that Rose. Its not something we often articulate as creating marks on paper with whichever medium you chose becomes almost second nature. I have found, as a teacher, that explaining a technique that I just 'do', is likely one of the most difficult things to do.

Rose Welty said...

Jennifer, thanks for the quote. I'll let you know about the brushes. So far, they are "tinted" a bit from the ink, but otherwise appear OK.

Thanks Jo. It's a very nice change from CP work, I must say.

Jeanette, thanks. Because my process changes between the pencil and brush, upon reflection, it was easy to see the difference.