This intriguing medium has recently gained popularity over the last few years. You may have heard about alcohol ink, but what actually is it!? Alcohol inks are fast-drying, highly pigmented, alcohol-based inks that are great to use on any hard, non-porous surface including glass, metal, plastic, ceramic, stone, leather and polymer clay. Once the ink is applied, the alcohol evaporates, leaving the dye behind. Once alcohol ink dries, it can be re-wet with rubbing alcohol (91% Isopropyl Alcohol), allowing for unique and versatile effects that cannot be achieved with water-based products like acrylic paint. Alcohol ink is waterproof, adding to its durable properties.
Are you curious about Winsor & Newton Pigment Markers? Not sure how they’ll look on certain types of paper? Read this post to discover various results you can get with this awesome range.
These popular markers were released in 2015 and have exceptional lightfastness and fantastic blending properties. Each marker in this series has a lightfastness rating of A—it will take up to 100 years before color change or fading affects the high quality pigments. Artwork produced with pigment-based markers last longer compared to other types of markers. The ink is about as thin as most alcohol-based markers and stays wetter slightly longer, allowing for extra blending time.
What is Paper Marbling?
Paper marbling is an ancient art tradition in many cultures. Marbling is named so because it mimics the natural patterns found in marble and other stones. Marbled paper is created by floating colorful inks on the surface of water, or a viscous water-based solution known as size. Ink is typically applied to the surface using a pipette or other dripping method. The inks are then swirled to create complex patterns that can be transferred to paper or fabric.
What is Tracing Paper?
Tracing paper is a very thin, low opacity paper used to trace and transfer images. This translucent paper was first mass-produced in the mid-19th century. Tracing paper can be made from treated wood pulp or from cotton rag. Tracing paper is a versatile surface; it is translucent and designed to accept most drawing media. It can be used for transfer tracing, fine line drawing, and overlays. Vellum tracing paper is super thin; it is a higher quality translucent paper that is good for engineer plans and technical drawing.
Encaustic is the art of painting with molten wax. This style of painting has been around for centuries and was first used to create portraits. In the 20th Century, encaustic painting regained popularity because of its vibrant colors, transparent qualities and durability. Today, encaustic artists use the medium to achieve an incredible range of mixed media effects. Encaustic is generally applied with a brush. It can be scored, molded with tools as it cools, dripped on, or fused with a blowtorch. Artists can also hide objects within the medium by using different melting and layering techniques. It is especially common to embed photos, drawings and writing between layers of encaustic.
Gouache has a higher ratio of pigment to binder than watercolor does. The white of the paper or other substrate will not show through the paint and change the appearance of the finished color like transparent watercolors will. Water is added to gouache to lower the viscosity and make application smoother, much like watercolor.
What is Canvas?
Canvas is fabric woven from natural or synthetic fibers. Linen and cotton are the most common materials for canvas, but technically any type of fiber can be used to create canvas. Canvas is typically stretched on a wooden frame called a stretcher and the surface of the fabric may be primed with gesso before paint is applied. Canvases became popular in 16th and 17th century Europe and slowly replaced wooden paneling as a preferred method for creating paintings. Much like choosing suitable paints, finding the proper type of canvas for your project is important!
Pastels are a great medium to explore—all you need to get started are the pastels themselves and a piece of paper. You can make beautiful scenes with pastels alone or use them to add color and detail to mixed media work. If you’ve never used pastels before, it may be hard to decide which to try first. Traditional soft pastels are dry and chalky; oil pastels are a much newer medium and act similar to oil paints.
In this post, we will look at the history and physical differences between the two pastels and highlight tips for using each type of pastel to its best advantage. Pastel artwork can be interchangeably referred to as “pastel painting” or pastel drawing. The pastel landscape pictured above is "Folly Farm" by Carolyn Wilkinson. It was made using Rembrandt Pastels on sanded pastel paper—a great example of landscape painting using soft pastels.
Water mixable, water miscible or water soluble? Whatever you want to call this unique oil paint, it is worth experimenting with. First developed in the 1980s, it is interchangeably called “water mixable,” “water miscible,” and “water soluble.” For the sake of consistency, we will refer to this special oil paint as “water mixable” throughout the following post, but you can call it what you want!
Oil Painting and Solvent Use
Oil painting has been around for centuries. Traditional oil paints first appeared in Europe in the 12th century and became very popular in the early 15th century. Oil paint is traditionally made with only linseed oil and pigment, and can be thinned with turpentine or mineral spirits, which are solvents. Unlike watercolors, acrylics and other water-based paints, which can be thinned with water, traditional oil paint must be thinned with solvents. The oil molecules in the paint can only be broken down by solvent chemicals; mixing traditional oils with water does not work because water and oil do not mix. Turpentine or odorless mineral spirits (also called white spirits) are the two solvents typically used to thin oil paint.
There are many technical terms used to describe the properties of paint. A little chemistry know-how can help you become a better painter—but don’t worry—we’re not talking about balancing chemical equations or memorizing the periodic table here! This ongoing series of mini-articles will help you get to know your medium on a deeper level. Paint Talk: Part I is about Lightfastness.
How to Interpret Artists’ Quality Paint Labels
Have you ever wondered what all the symbols and numbers on your paint tubes mean? Reading your paint labels can be like reading a nutrition label on a food package—there’s a lot of information there, but what to make of it? Many of the numbers on your paint tubes represent standardized information about the paint's chemical properties. For example, if you're trying to match a particular color across brands, and each company uses a different proprietary color name, you can match the same color index number between brands. If you're looking at Studio or Craft paint, you might not be so lucky—only the highest quality paints list all of the paints' attributes. Information can vary from brand to brand, but most labels displayed on artists’ quality paint reveal the following information: