Trying any new art medium can feel daunting. Specifically, alcohol inks can feel intimidating because of their temperament. Nevertheless, you’ve been inspired and have decided you are going to give it a go. Quickly, you realize you have no idea where to begin. If only you had someone to guide you…
In September 2020, I bought my first alcohol inks. I originally bought them to pair with resin to make colorful ornaments for the holiday season. Once I was finished making ornaments, I saw that the ink bottles were still pretty full.
“What do I do with all this alcohol ink?” I thought.
So, I did what any respectable millennial would do— ask Google.
I found a plethora of knowledge and tutorials on how to create beautiful alcohol ink art and I was drawn in by the way the ink moves and creates bold abstracts. I decided I wanted to try it out.
The problem_ I had to spend hours sifting through all of the stuff in order to find the most useful information.
I was exhausted before I even began painting.
Nonetheless, I triumphed and learned the basics of alcohol ink art and have been practicing them ever since.
Now, I have the knowledge and experience to help you begin your alcohol ink art journey.
Depending on your artistic style and perspective, your approach my be slightly different, however, I believe there are four components needed to set yourself up for a successful start. Here they are_
1. Come with an open mindset
Alcohol ink is a fluid medium, meaning that it freely flows over the paper to create an organic abstract art piece. Alcohol inks can be frustrating and difficult to control, especially starting out.
This can push you to forsake the medium, altogether, because you want to control it more than you are able.
That’s where an open mindset comes in.
Go ahead and shed the notions that what you do has to be perfect.
Go ahead and shed the beliefs that what you create doesn’t matter.
Go ahead and understand that there will be a phase of practice and beautiful ugliness.
If you open your mind to the possibilities of what you could make with this art medium, you are two-thirds of the way there.
It’s a hard thing that I still dedicate time to weekly. But honey, we can do hard things.
And when you feel like you aren’t creative or what you make doesn’t matter, investigate those feelings. Perhaps even write about them in a journal. (if you don’t journal regularly, I highly recommend it…) Then come back to the inks when you feel open again.
Trust me, you will make beautiful art.
2. Gather your supplies
Once you have made the decision to paint with inks, it’s time to gather your supplies. This is where I feel bogged down the most when I try any new thing. I want a lot of bang for my buck. I don’t want to invest a whole lot until I know it’s something I want to spend time doing.
As a result, I have created this materials list with links for you.
I have tried so many supplies over the course of my alcohol ink art journey and the ones I have listed are what I use every single day. The goal of this list is to help everyone get started, no matter what their supply budget is.
At the end of the day the most basic things you need are_ alcohol inks, 91% alcohol, yupo paper, and a tool to move the ink around on the paper.
You can add on extras later, in my opinion.
3. Begin Painting
Yay! The real fun begins! Once you get all of your supplies together, designate an art space in your home. This will be the place you put all of your supplies and, more importantly, where you paint.
I say designate a space because I am so much more motivated when I have everything already laid out and ready to go. Alternatively, I find it difficult to want to paint if I have to unpack a bag of art supplies and then clear off my dining room table before I even begin painting.
My art space is the space I am free to do whatever creatively. There is no shame in mess or clutter, either. Whether it is an entire room or a small part of your closet, having this sacred space will encourage you creatively and, hopefully, call you back to practice your art over and over again.
Furthermore, don’t get caught up on the techniques and ink brands and your art space. They are only tiny details that will evolve and change as you evolve and change. The big goal is to just paint! Carve out time in your week to sit down and play with alcohol ink.
4. Join an art community
When doubt or perfectionism or fear creeps in, remember— this is the beginning of your journey and you are not alone. I am a firm believer that we can not be creative in a vacuum. We need inspiration from people, places, and nature (just to name a few.)
I also believe that we will be more successful as artists with a supportive and loving community.
Because I believe in that, I’ve created a Facebook Group for anyone who would like to share their art in a safe and positive environment. My goal is that this group serves as your “safety net” for when you need love and encouragement. And it doesn’t matter what skill level or expertise you have. You may not even call yourself an artist (hopefully we can change that.)
From the bottom of my heart, I would love for you to join us!
Bonus. Take a Course
After going through the essentials, you may feel stuck or unsure. Wanting guidance is a natural response to trying something new. It’s like a safety net to ensure you are successful right out of the gate.
If you are one of those people and you want that reassurance on your alcohol ink journey, I’ve created a comprehensive alcohol ink art course that guides you through the alcohol ink art process from beginning to end. Primarily, I teach the two primary techniques used for alcohol ink— the blower and heat gun methods. In addition, I provide a bonus video that shows you a number of ways to finish your alcohol ink artwork so that you can display it or even sell it.