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Techniques for blending alcohol ink colours

The first blog of 2023! This months blog I want to focus on blending techniques. I have a favourite way of blending my alcohol inks, but it isn't for everyone and isn't without its drawbacks.

Before we go into them, for those who are new here, let's start at the beginning.

What is alcohol ink?

Alcohol ink is a versatile medium that can be used to create vibrant and dynamic paintings, illustrations, and other artworks. One of the most exciting aspects of working with alcohol ink is the ability to blend colours together to create new and unique hues. Sometimes referred to as flow art - because, well, it flows... alcohol inks are slowly becoming more popular in the UK after originating in America. In this blog post, we will explore some techniques for blending alcohol ink colours to help you take your art to the next level.


  1. Overlapping: One of the simplest and most effective techniques for blending alcohol ink colours is to simply overlap them on the surface. By layering different colours on top of each other, you can create new hues and shades. Experiment with different combinations of colours and layer them in different ways to see what kind of blends you can create. This is something I do alot as I actually don't have that many different individual inks. It also allows each creation to be slightly different than the last.

  2. Blending with a brush: Another technique for blending alcohol ink colours is to use a brush to blend them together. This can be done by mixing different colours on a palette and then using a brush to blend them together on the surface. This technique is great for creating gradations and soft blends of colour. This is what every painter will do across many different mediums.

  3. Marbling: Marbling is a technique that involves creating a swirling pattern of colours on the surface. This can be done by layering different colours of ink on top of each other and then using a tool such as a toothpick or a brush to swirl the colours together. This technique is great for creating unique and interesting patterns on your surface.

  4. Blending with alcohol: (The favourite) You can also blend alcohol inks by mixing them with alcohol. This can be done by adding a few drops of alcohol to the ink on your palette and then mixing the colours together. This technique is great for creating soft blends and gradations of colour. I use isopropyl alcohol, just bought from Amazon. You'll want 91 - 99% alcohol for the best result.

  5. Resists: A resist is a technique where you create a barrier that prevents the ink from adhering to the surface. This can be done by using masking fluid, stencils or other materials that can be applied to the surface of your work to create a barrier. This technique is great for creating interesting patterns and designs with your ink. I've seem people use wax crayons to do this, which looks ace.

In conclusion, blending alcohol ink colours is a fun and exciting way to create dynamic and unique artworks. Experiment with different techniques and combinations of colours to find your own unique style. Remember that practice and patience are key to mastering any medium. What's your favourite? Which combinations do you use?

For me, I use overlapping and blending with alcohol, which are the most popular I'd say. Although both of these methods can sometimes undo good work underneath that you've already done. That's why it's so hard to correct your work.

See an example of mine here, in a timelapse video on my Insta.

Happy blending!

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