Friday, November 9, 2012

Water Solube Ink and Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series

This is playing with water soluble ink with watercolor added after the ink wash has dried.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook

Pilot Prera with Namiki black water soluble ink

#8 Round and 3/8" Angular Flat

There's just something intriguing about using water soluble ink and I love how it behaves on this paper.

These inks offer a challenge particularly when one goes to add a watercolor wash.  One has to take care in how much water is in the brush and how fluid the watercolor is when applying to inks that especially avoid total contamination or muddying of the watercolor.

What I find works best for me is pulling the ink first with damp brush and allowing that to dry.  What you will have is a black ink drawing with gray wash tones that have been pulled with the damp brush.  The washed out tones do not lift as easily mixing with the watercolor as untouched ink lines will.

And I often find an angular flat works well as it doesn't hold the amount of moisture a round does.  One feels in better control of the bleed spread.

Then using a fairly dry brush of watercolor carefully and gently lay down color so not to make untouched ink bleed and take over the color. 

One will undoubtedly come across an area of ink that had not been washed out that will bleed into the watercolor if the brush hits it.  The lighter the watercolor pigment, the more noticeable. 

The ink bleed can be used to one's advantage as it can create shadow and tone variation within the watercolor.  Just takes playing and practice to find what works best.  And, this technique doesn't always work out to my liking but now and then I get lucky with results I actually like.


Diane said...

Thanks for your comments on how you do the watersoluble ink. I like to use it but then if I apply any watercolors I often am dissatisfied with the results. If I am reading you correctly you let it dry before adding any color. Guess I am just too impatient and end up with a muddy effect.

Susan Bronsak said...

Dianne......I first take the damp brush and go over the ink lines making it bleed out into a tone wash. Let that dry. Then I go back and add the watercolor still taking care as I'm sure some of the first ink lines I put down may still not have been touched previously. It's that "fresh untouched" (untouched from the wash you just did) ink that will bleed into the watercolor as you apply it.

Or so it seems.....

I've tried water soluble ink line drawings going straight in with watercolor and end up with a mess.

Learned this trick while working with Tombow marker pens as well as water soluble graphite.

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