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How To Get Started With Alcohol Ink Art – Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

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What Is Alcohol Ink Art?

Alcohol Ink Art is a relatively new form of fluid art that is said to have originated in the United States of America and has gained a lot of popularity worldwide recently. In Alcohol Ink Art, alcohol inks are used to create beautiful and awe-striking pieces of art bringing the artist`s majestic imaginations to life. When used on a compatible non-porous surface, alcohol inks give a mesmerising marble-esque texture that looks really good!

Alcohol inks as the name suggests are made by mixing a healthy proportion of alcohol with colour pigments. Alcohol inks are highly pigmented, acid-free, and fast-drying inks that work really well on non-porous surfaces. One advantage of working with alcohol inks is that even after the inks have dried up they can be rejuvenated by pouring some isopropyl alcohol on the artwork, then you can go on to make the required changes to your artwork or add more colours if you wish to.

In addition, if you use our premium NARA synthetic alcohol ink art paper to create artworks you can work worry-free as our papers are absolutely stain and tear-resistant. Even if you spill ink on your artwork by mistake you can just wipe it off using IPA & a piece of cloth.

Why should you take up alcohol ink art?

Alcohol ink art is really fun and therapeutic in nature. Speaking from personal experience once you get a gist of it you really start enjoying the process of creating beautiful artworks and you get so invested in it that you lose track of time because alcohol ink art is just so immersive and fun. Working with alcohol inks and seeing them flow and create amazing patterns on the surface you`re using is really satisfying and brings a sense of calm and relaxation.

In today’s fast-paced, competitive and ruthless world full of stress, worries and deadlines we hardly take out time for ourselves. We all need a break to relax and refresh our minds. Having a creative hobby like alcohol ink art really helps you relax and gives your mind the freedom to think outside the box, stimulates creative thinking and you get to create mind-blowing pieces of art which relieve your stress! Most importantly it’s easy to learn and get started with.

In fact, fluid art is said to be a great way to relieve work-related stress and worries, many therapists actually recommend trying out fluid art to relieve stress. Many huge companies like Google, Netflix, etc have held fluid art sessions for their employees in order to help them relax and unwind. Not only that alcohol ink art is gaining a lot of popularity all over the world and if you are good at it, it can actually become a really nice source of passive income for you if you could take workshops to teach alcohol ink art to others and sell your beautiful artworks. What better than earning passive income through your most loved hobby!

The best thing about taking up alcohol ink art is becoming a part of the beautiful alcohol ink art community which is nothing less than a huge global family. All the alcohol ink artists around the globe are extremely welcoming, friendly and always ready to help and guide the up and coming artists. The unity and love amongst the alcohol ink art community are really commendable and we at NARA really love this about our beautiful community.

Things you need to get started with alcohol ink art.

  1. A non-porous surface to work on & NARA worksheet :

Firstly you would need a non-porous surface to work on, the best surfaces for alcohol ink art include NARA synthetic paper which as we mentioned it is stain and tear-resistant unlike other popular brands in the market like yupo and our papers are specifically designed for alcohol ink art and are loved by the alcohol ink art community. You can work on it without worrying about spilling inks etc. Then there are NARA alcohol ink artboards whose shapes you can customise according to your liking, acrylic clocks & coasters, marble, ceramic tiles & mugs etc which you can use for alcohol ink art.

One thing you need to know is that working with alcohol inks can be really messy sometimes so you should preferably use a NARA worksheet. NARA worksheet is a big sheet of synthetic paper that protects your work table from getting splattered with ink.

2. Alcohol Inks

Then comes the star of the show ALCOHOL INKS! Alcohol inks are the main ingredient for this amazing alcohol ink art recipe. Alcohol inks are the things that help you bring your majestic imaginations to life! There are many good alcohol ink brands out there but none of them offers you a wide range of vibrant top-quality shades like NARA does. We have a total of 48 vibrant, highly pigmented, acid-free, fast-drying premium quality alcohol inks that will add vibrance and life to your beautiful artworks.

You also get alcohol ink markers that you can also use to create alcohol ink artworks. Markers are much easier to use but working with alcohol inks is just a different experience altogether. Copic alcohol ink markers are really good if you want to try them out.

3. Isopropyl alcohol and blending solution

Isopropyl alcohol is used to revive the dried up inks in order to add new colours and make changes to your artwork or clean up your workspace. Isopropyl alcohol also known as IPA is also used to spread the inks on the surface but the more IPA you use on your artwork the lighter the ink shades get.

A blending solution is used to blend the colours together, merge them well and also spread the inks, but unlike IPA a blending solution does not affect the vibrancy of the inks. You can then tilt the paper or use other tools like a blow dryer, cotton buds, paper napkins, brushes etc to blend in the inks nicely.

4. Dropper and blower/ drinking straws, brushes and other utilities

Droppers as you might know is used to drop isopropyl alcohol on the artwork, we at NARA bundle a dropper with the bottle of isopropyl alcohol if you purchase it from us.

Blowers and or drinking straws are used to spread the ink properly over the surface. They give you more control compared to IPA & blending solutions as you can control how you want to spread the ink by the amount of force with which you blow it.

Lastly, brushes, paper towels, stamps, blow dryers etc can be used to create various unique patterns. You can use a number of things to create majestic designs and bring your imaginations to life.

{Important} Safety measures you should take.

There are some important things that you need to take care of whilst working with alcohol inks –

  • Keep the alcohol inks away from the reach of kids, only people above the age of 16yrs are advised to work with alcohol inks.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area where there is good airflow.
  • Do not let the inks come in contact with your eyes, if by any chance they do come in contact with the inks immediately rinse them thoroughly with water because it can cause irritation in your eyes.
  • Use nitrile gloves if you don’t want the ink stains to remain on your hand because alcohol ink stains take some time to completely disappear.
  • Use a respiratory mask because alcohol inks are toxic due to the evaporation of alcohol. This evaporation leaves alcohol vapours in the air that you breathe in, therefore you need to protect yourself from these microscopic, airborne, toxic particles.
  • The inks, blending solution and isopropyl alcohol are flammable so please be careful.

Alcohol Ink Art techniques for beginners.

  1. Ink Lift Technique

(Credit – Jennifer McGuire)

This is a really fun technique.

  • First, you select the inks and surface to create your artwork.
  • Pour the inks on the surface and spread the inks by tilting the artwork or use blowers or drinking straws to spread the alcohol inks nicely all over the surface.
  • Now grab a stencil, textured cut out of something aesthetic like flowers, majestic creatures, etc.
  • Rub some alcohol on the stencil/cutout and press it against the artwork firmly whilst the ink is still wet.
  • Now press that stencil against a new clean sheet of paper and you will get a beautiful outline in the shape of the stencil or cutout that you used.
  • Now before the ink dries, dab your artwork nicely with a paper napkin or cotton buds and you will see a beautiful design of the stencil/ cutout imprinted on your artwork!


2. Smooshing Technique

(Credit – Mindy Eggen)

This is another interesting one!

  • Get a wax paper and keep it handy, select your ink colours and surface and add drops of inks on the surface.
  • Take a wax paper and gently start smooshing the ink drops against the surface using your fingers with the wax paper it gives a beautiful texture.
  • You can use stencils and cutouts here as well to create beautiful designs.

3. Stamping Technique

(Credit – Jennifer McGuire)

This technique is really simple

  • Again select the surface and colours you want to work with.
  • Pour inks on the surface or dip the stamp in the inks.
  • Take stamps of different designs and patterns and start stamping them on the surface, it gives some great results.

4. Ripples Technique

(Credit – Lisa Jordan)

This is another popular technique

  • Select a surface and inks you want to use.
  • Mix your ink and IPA in a small cup and then pour it on the surface.
  • Take a hairdryer and apply heat to the ink from one angle only and slightly tilt the surface towards the dryer to get the ripple effect which looks.
  • Mix two or more colours and do the heating part with a little precision for amazing results.

5. Brush Technique

(Credits – Yogesh Tawade)

Now this is an orthodox technique

  • Usually, fluid forms of art like alcohol ink art should be free-flowing and that’s what makes it different and special but you can also use a brush to make different designs through brush strokes.
  • Take colours and select your surface, dip the brush in the ink and create what your heart likes by using different kinds of brush strokes.
  • You can also use the brush to splatter ink on your artwork, it gives a nice droplet/ bubble-like effect.

How to improve your skills and get better at alcohol ink art?

Practice and explore! I know it`s a clique answer but it’s true. The more you practice and the more you explore the sooner you will master this beautiful art form. If you don’t know where to start and what to do, don`t worry we`ve got you covered! You can participate in our monthly artist of the month competition. NARA artist of the month is a platform for all the alcohol ink artists all over the globe to express themselves, try out new alcohol ink art techniques, make new friends and learn and grow together as a family irrespective of whether you are a veteran or just starting out and finding your feet.

Not just that but if you finish in the top 3 you get a lot of goodies and vouchers from us, you and your artwork are featured on our packaging and much more! So don’t think too much, just give it a shot and go out there and express yourself. We`ll be waiting with open arms to welcome you lovely new members to our alcohol ink art community! Also, irrespective of all that if you ever need any help with regards to alcohol ink art feel free to reach out to us via Instagram DMs or email we will be more than happy to assist you!

Y`all can check out our Instagram page for amazing alcohol ink art tutorials, process videos, stunning artworks and to find inspiration! Y`all can also join our facebook community and follow us on Pinterest for the same.

Y`all can also enrol for our workshops. Many talented artists list their workshops on our website and they offer some really really good tutorials in order for you to get better at alcohol ink art. On that note, if any of you reading this feel that y`all have something cool to offer to our alcohol ink artist community and would like to take workshops to help the up and coming artists whilst making some money y’all can get in touch with us and list your workshops on our website absolutely free of cost and get a lot of cool offers for yourselves and your participants.

For those wondering why free on cost there might be a catch, what do we have to gain from this? Trust us, NARA has always been about giving back to the alcohol ink art community that is actually one of the main reasons we started off – To help, guide and give back to this amazing community. Click here to know more about our story. Lastly, I hope you all found this blog informative, if you’ll have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section and we`ll make sure we reply to all of them. As mentioned above y’all can also reach out to us via Instagram, Facebook or email.

Do follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest For more amazing alcohol ink art-related content! You can click on the icons below to follow us!

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