Experimenting with Ink

Here is a series of tasks you can do to familiarise yourself with using liquid inks. Experimenting firstly with solid colours and silhouettes will allow you time to build up familiarity with the media and the subject matter.

When using ink it is extremely important to remember that it is concentrated colour and a little goes a long way, and you may only need a few drops to do your work. Therefore, be careful when putting it into another container to work from, such as a palette. Any left over ink should not be tipped down the drain, instead, wipe the contents out with paper and put into the bin. Better yet, use the excess ink to paint pages of blank paper. These can then be used as backgrounds for other images or they can be cut out used in collage.

You will need
– Heavy weight or watercolour paper (I use Fabriano) cut to approximately A5
– Brushes – one very thin and one thicker
– Inks such as Windsor and Newton, Parker or calligraphy ink by Rohrer and Klinger
– Watercolours if you can’t get coloured ink
– Leaves or plants
– Plastic animal figure
– masking tape

1. Paint 5 solid silhouettes of your leaves in black ink together on one page
2. Paint 1 coloured silhouette (make this large enough to fit on your page). When this is completely dry, use the black ink and a thin brush to paint the outline and interior details of the object.
3. Paint some leaves on a page as coloured silhouettes. When dry, draw the animal using the black ink and just line work. It can sit on top of the other objects. When you put these things together, think about composition and a kind of loose narrative that might develop through juxtaposition, contrast or similarity.
4. Use masking tape to make a geometric shape. Paint the shape in using a pale colour. When it’s dry, remove the tape to reveal a very straight edged object. Over the top of this, paint some leaf shapes using line work in a black or other dark ink so it overlaps and interrupts the space.



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