Alcohol Ink First Try- This Stuff Is Messy!

I really love Scrawlrbox but I don’t have a subscription myself. I know that the boxes are well worth the money however a lot of the products they include would go to waste if I were to subscribe, markers for example I just wouldn’t use often enough. However I really enjoy watching artists unboxing videos on Youtube and then if my interest if piqued I have the option to purchase a box from their range of previous boxes which works out much more affordable for me despite the extra couple of pounds you pay for knowing what is in the box.

When I watched numerous content creators open the July box I was absolutely mesmerised by the contents. Alcohol inks and a yupo pad. I had never seen these items used in this way and I knew within a few mins that I had to give this medium a go. I purchased the box as soon as it was available in the online shop (around mid to late August). As always it arrived quickly and was really well packaged, just enough to protect the contents without going overboard and wasting loads.

Contents of Julys Scrawlrbox.

The box included two coloured inks, one blender ink and a magical shimmer ink, a yupo pad, paintbrush, pipette, paper straw, scrawlrzine, sticker and art work by amazing artist Jess Kirkman. There was also a chewy bar but Mr Webb had eaten that before I could take the photograph! He says it was delicious.

The Yupo pad is tree-free synthetic paper and feels plastic but is 100% recyclable and it is essential for working with alcohol inks. The inks had to be pierced at the top and as expected I made a mess within seconds of sitting down to give this medium a try. You should probably wear gloves but at this point most people are used to me being covered in some art material or another and a blue and pink hand is nothing unusual. It took a day or two to come off but I could of used nail polish remover if I had needed to.

Nothing new here!

I have never used anything similar to these alcohol inks, they act in a way that is so unpredictable and it is hard to have any control over it. That made it incredibly fun! I found the whole process mesmerising because every drop changed the entire piece. They included really good colours because they blend really beautifully into purple hues without muddying. The shimmer is a nice touch that is incredibly hard to photograph. The smell was really strong but since Lilly Webbling is constantly practicing her nail art I think I have developed a slight immunity to the fumes. Once they are dry they don’t really smell but I wouldn’t recommend sniffing it, make sure you have a ventilated room when you are pouring them.

Pink and blue make lovely purples.

The blender is colour free and it pushes the other colours as far as they can go which adds a lot more pattern and depth. I was having a great time simply just watching them combine and move. They felt like they had a mind of their own. I tried the pipette and the straw but honestly wasn’t finding that I had any more control than just pouring straight from the bottle really.

What can you see?

The freedom of just letting the inks do their own thing was really fun, I could not control them. They were good at not leaving the edge of the paper unless I blew too hard with the straw or tipped the paper. The inks do pool at the edges so I tried not to put too much ink close to the edges.

Photographs do not do the shimmer justice.

I wanted to try a picture that had no white and to add more shimmer, the image above is what I ended up with. The shimmer is beautiful but the photographs do not do it justice at all. The more ink you add the more you get the thick lines that you can see on the image. They take a long time to dry and can be sticky. I have found that the images I have left on top of one another (after 24 hours drying time) are sticking to each other a little. The thinner ink dries really quickly though and dry ink can be reactivated with blender or fresh inks so you can work on it over more than one day.

Sea Scape.

I decided to try a sea scape with mainly blue and just a tiny bit of pink to add the darker blue hues. I then used the paintbrush dipped into the tiniest bit of blender to add some little bubbles to the image. I think I should have been braver and added more but I was happy with the effect. It is great that you can use the blender to take away some of the ink although you would need a lot to get the paper whiter. I think that the blender will run out a long time before the colours. However, these inks are only small and I thought that I would probably get through the bottles in one session but I have done quite a few pieces and barely used a quarter of each bottle, it goes a long way.

Final pieces using the items from Scrawlrbox.

Being an illustrator I couldn’t help to try and create illustrations from the inks. It wasn’t fully successful but hopefully you can recognise a seahorse amongst them. It was recommended in the Scrawlrzine to add permanent marker once the image is dry. I tried it on a few and really liked the outcome. It is almost like trying to spot shapes in clouds. I think that with practice you could possibly create abstract patterns with the finished designs in mind. I used sharpie and silver Pitt pen to create interest to the images below.

I really love to mix mediums and thought that the texture and depth in the illustrations would make fantastic backgrounds. I really love how they came out. I used the seascape to create the two illustrations below.

I really love these colours but wanted to try more. Since it was late there was nowhere open to go any buy more. It occurred to me that since I have hoarded alcohol markers over the years (see, hoarded but not really used!) that I might be able to use them to create some interesting images using the blender and the shimmer.

Promarkers and blender.

I tried Promarkers and honestly it just made a mess, it was awful. The ink was sticky and only spread a tiny bit after staining the paper. It actually looks better in the photo than it does in real life. It was muddy and sticky and just not fun at all. But it wasn’t a complete waste because I managed to use the ruined art piece in some little collage, cut paper art.

Rainbow fairycat.
Pumpkin picking tortoise.

Honestly they are my favourite images that I managed to create with the alcohol ink, it combines the fun of the magical alcohol ink textures with my love of collage and cut paper pictures. I really love how they add extra interest to the illustration. I just added some simple watercolours and coloured pencils.

I would recommend anyone who doesn’t mind getting a bit messy to give these a go. The Scrawlrbox is a bargain while it is available because they include everything to get started. it is magical and mesmerising just to watch even if you don’t like the final image you will enjoy the process which is really just as important if not more so when you are creating art.

I will definitely be using more of this technique in my art, it is too much fun not to, so please do follow my social medias if you would like to see more.

Thank you for reading.

Samantha Webb.