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Notes for an acrylic inks demo

Discussion in 'Acrylics' started by ACCOUNT_DELETED, Jan 14, 2015.


    I wrote up these notes for the Facebook site of our local club - the Southwestern Ontario Figure Club. They document a short demo I did on using acrylic inks with acrylic paint. I thought they may be of interest here or may stimulate some dicussion. They are summary notes so I am happy to answer questions or add illustrations if that would assist.



    Some notes from the demonstration on using inks I gave at the last get together. Happy to entertain questions or to provide photographic examples of various effects.

    Inks can be used in many ways: to highlight detail (e.g. hair or fur); as a colour shifting filter; as a method of changing a paint shade; to unify colour.

    They have a high concentration of pigment so must be used sparingly and with significant dilution in most cases.

    This site indicates available colours in the Liquitex range and provides technical data https://www.liquitex.com/InkColorChart/

    I use them everywhere - on faces a lot, over uniforms, on groundwork, over metallics, in horse painting.

    I undercoat my faces with base flesh tone and then paint whites of the eyes. The next step is always to add a diluted sepia ink wash to highlight the texture of the face and to pick out the recesses. I use less dilution when shadowing under the brows and chin. Also less diluted sepia for the nostrils and ear canals.

    I use diluted blues and purples under and over eyes, depending in how tired I want the face to look. I use diluted red ink in the eyes - as it is diluted it flows to the edges and corners just as real pink appears in the eye. Exhausted eyes are indicated by more red and by less dilution as this leaves more colour on the eye ball.

    I use red oxide on the cheeks, temples and in the ears. I sometimes use burnt sienna on the cheeks near sideburns, temples, and hair line. Given high concentration of pigment, burnt sienna can quickly cause pumpkinhead so I keep it to edges of the face.

    I add red to the bridge, tip nose, nostrils, temples to provide life and warmth.

    I often outline nose and nostrils with sepia mixed with purple.

    Red and purple inks are often used mixed with paint for lips.

    Five o'clock shadow is indicated by blue, sepia or purple ink mixed with flesh base paint and applied as a thin coat.

    If a shift in the colour of a painted face is required (e.g. too pink), I wash with a yellow ink (e.g. raw sienna).

    I use undiluted sepia ink to paint eye lashes/eye brows and diluted sepia for facial wrinkles, crow's feet etc (using a lining technique)

    Inks can be used for tatoos (diluted blue/black)

    Uniform material:

    I often use a sepia wash to get a wear effect on cloth. Good for khaki, linen, feldgrau as well as Napoleonic red, green and blue.

    Inks can also be used as a final filter to reduce or brighten contrast. They can also unify shading and disquise acrylic shading transitions when applied as a diluted wash.

    Ink can provide a slight colour shift if needed (e.g. If khaki too green, a wash if diluted raw or burnt sienna can bring it back towards a realistic colour).

    Ink can be used undiluted for lining and borders.

    Ink is ideal for lettering lettering on equipment.

    Washes of sepia and other browns, greens, ochres can be applied to groundwork to emphasize detail.

    Inks are particularly good for gun metal, mail and old plate or helmets. I often use sepia, sienna, blue, green, purple glazes to age pure gold or silver.

    Gold and silver lace:
    Ink is heavily used in my gold and silver metallic lace painting style. After initially painting lace non metallic metal shades, I flow heavily diluted metallic ink on once the paint has dried. The ink dries transparent but leaves flecks of metallic paint behind.

    I have limited experience in painting horses greater than 28mm. But I am sure inks would be very useful for mains, fetlocks, tails. Also very useful in highlighting muscles, veins, eye and mouth detail.

    Final points:
    - Watch for pooling - keep a large mop brush ready to absorb excess ink.
    - Use a good brush with a kitchen roll ready to absorb excess ink.
    - Ink is more concentrated than paint and it dries glossy if not diluted - I dullcoat after painting so not an issue
    - Ink will leave a crusty texture if applied concentrated.
    - If an error is made - easy to correct with water for a short time.
    - Remember you can mix inks together and can mix them with acrylic paint.
  2. Chris Mortimer Active Member

    Thanks very much. Saved for later.
    crf likes this.
  3. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Colin,

    Now that is useful to have ..saved, printed off for reference

    Thanks for sharing

  4. kevininpdx Active Member

    Great post. I use inks for smaller game minis. Still learning how to use them for large scales. Thank you.
    crf likes this.
  5. John Bowery A Fixture

    Thank you.
    crf likes this.
  6. balder PlanetFigure Supporter

    I have been experimenting with inks also. This looks helpful and I'd like to keep it for reference. How do you save a post?
    crf likes this.

    Hi gerald, I usually copy the text into a word processing program like Notebook or Word to save it. You can also save it in a self addressed email or save the string address in your browser favourites or bookmarks.

    balder likes this.
  8. sd0324 PlanetFigure Supporter

    Great post Colin, most informative.
    Thanks for posting .

    Steve Deyo.
    crf likes this.
  9. arj A Fixture

    Thanks for a very useful set of notes Colin.
    They have been duly installed into my reference files.
    crf likes this.
  10. Richard Baxter A Fixture

    Excellent piece, this is just what PF is for!
    crf likes this.
  11. Piotr Gonczarek Active Member

    Thank you kindly for your pointers, never used inks but now maybe ill give it a try.
    crf likes this.
  12. frank h Well-Known Member

    Good to read of your experiences with inks
    Thanks for sharing

    crf likes this.
  13. clrsgt A Fixture

    Thank you for the hints. Will save as reference for future.
    crf likes this.
  14. samson Well-Known Member

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. Great info.
  15. Range Rat Active Member

    The link did'nt work for me but the info was sound...

    crf likes this.

    Sorry about the link. My iPad sucks at cut and paste ever since they went to IOS 8.

    Try googling "liquitex ink color chart" and it should the first hit. Worth doing as it has their whole colour range and other useful technical info.


    Range Rat likes this.

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