Demo – Poppies (painted with Alcohol Inks)
May 9, 2014 by Diane Marcotte
Follow along as I complete an Alcohol Ink painting of red Poppies.
After drawing out the design on a piece of ordinary paper I take a 2B pencil and cover the back of the drawing with graphite. The design is then traced onto a 11″ x 14″ piece of Yupo (plastic) paper. Alcohol inks have a mind of their own and care must be taken to ensure they don’t go on an area where you don’t want them! For this painting I used alcohol inks by Ranger and 99% Isopropanol Alcohol.
The poppies, which would be painted in a realistic manner compared to the sky and stems, needed to be masked to prevent any ink running into this area. I use Pébeo Drawing Gum as a mask.
To ink the sky area I turn the painting on its side and hold it upright. (This allows the ink to run vertically down the paper.) First I drop some alcohol, using an old Ranger’s Blending Solution bottle, over the sky area to facilitate the movement of the ink. Using Sailboat Blue I drop the ink generously over the sky area. I rock the paper back and forth to get a very smooth and uniform sky. Although the poppies are masked it is preferable to not get too much ink on the masking as you may inadvertently transfer that ink when removing the masking later on. It is not a problem though should any sky ink find its way onto the stem area.
The next step is to ink the stems. Holding the painting upright I drop alcohol along the white paper just at the base of the poppies. I need to cover the entire area with alcohol. Then I generously and quickly drop the following colours, in no particular order, just below the poppies – Sailboat Blue, Citrus, Lettuce and a bit of Caramel. I repeat this step a few times until I am satisfied with the look.
I very carefully take a cotton swab dipped in alcohol and remove the build-up of ink on the masked poppies. You have to be very careful that the swab doesn’t touch the inked area.
Now it was time to remove the masking. I prefer to use my fingernail to lift a portion of the masking and then slowly peel it off. It won’t all come off in one piece but do try to not rub your finger on the newly cleared area in order to prevent your skin oils being transferred to the Yupo. Stubborn pieces can be removed with a rolled up piece of masking tape.
The poppies need to be re-masked in certain areas. This will preserve the seedheads, white highlights and also any areas that you may decide later to paint a lighter shade of red. I also mask the leaves as a precaution against getting any red ink in those areas.
As I will be painting the poppies in some detail I will now begin using my palette (white plastic round palette with 10 small wells around the perimeter) and a small synthetic 1/4″ flat brush. In one well I place a few drops of Watermelon. In the next well I put an equal number of drops of Sunset Orange and Watermelon. In the third well I place a few drops of Red Pepper. I then paint the individual petals using the three colours in my palette. I add alcohol as needed to each well to keep the ink flowing well. As it dries in the well it thickens, which is perfect when you want concentrated colour in a certain area, but you will need the ink to flow well when covering a large area such as a petal.
Now it time to remove the masking.
Once the masking is removed I re-mask, for the final time, any areas that need to remain absolutely white, i.e., highlights and some areas of the two seedheads.
I add drops of alcohol to each of the three wells of red ink until I have a lighter version of the original colour. I also put a few drops of Shell Pink into a well for the areas I want to have very light. I then paint, using a small round brush, all the areas of the petals that were previously masked.
To paint the stems I put a few drops of Lettuce, Pesto, and Citrus into three separate wells and leave them to dry just a bit. I then paint the stems varying the colours and mixing the different greens right on the paper. I place a few drops of Eggplant in a palette well and leave it to dry a bit. Then using a small round brush I paint the seedheads with the Eggplant, Shell Pink and Lettuce. In another well I put a couple of drops of Pitch Black and add a few drops of Watermelon. This combination is used to paint the blackish spots on the petals.
The leaves are painted with Pesto and the stamens are done with a black alcohol ink marker.
A few tweaks and the painting is finished. (I do apologize for the colour variances from image to image!)
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