Colourcraft acrylic inks are my new favourite medium! The colours blend beautifully and are great to work with. I've put together this piece today based on a lesson I did with a couple of my watercolour classes to show you how the inks can be used to blend subtle shades such as for skin tones and capturing a sense of light/sunlight just as easily as watercolour.
I've created this piece on a cotton watercolour paper and used only Colourcraft acrylic inks.
I drew out the figure using an HB pencil and kept the line as light as possible.
I wanted to capture the appearance of strong sunlight hitting the front of the girls face and this gave me the opportunity to really play with the mixes of colour.
One of the first skin tone mixes is shown in the image below. (very middle of all the colours)
Yellow, ultramarine blue, dark |brown and scarlet mixed with water.
I brushed this gently over the face and neck
The dark brown with a touch of scarlet gave me the first layer for the hair. I left some white parts of paper showing through to indicate at a bit of shape.
Whilst the hair was still wet I dropped some of the yellow ink around the head almost like a halo. This I smoothed in around the edges with water on my brush to soften any hard lines and make it more like a hazy glow.
The changes in the next image are very subtle. I have washed over the face and neck with another coat of that first mix under the hairline on the chest as well as starting to build the darker shades in the hair.
I worked by layering on small amounts at a time with the view to build up the colours gradually. The four inks mixed together here show a lovely soft purple grey that I used to indicate shadow on the neck of the figure.
The next image also shows how another layer of ink has further deepened the tones making for a richer more 3 dimensional form so that the first layer of ink can now only be seen at the front of the face where the figure would be bathed in light.
I continued then to work on the hair with the dark brown ink, paying attention to keep the lighter shades for shape.
An even darker mix show below by mixing the dark brown and ultramarine acrylic ink together to produce the final shading on the hair. I avoided using black at this stage so as not to over power the painting.
Brushing on this darker mix around the back of the head and bun of hair and also flicking out some small strands or wisps near the neck with a palette knife.
Once all of this was dry I began on the background. Green, brown and ultramarine dropped onto wet paper and carefully shaped around the edge of the figure. blending with water around the hair to keep the hazy glow and avaoid any hard lines of ink there.
I moved gradually around so that the washes were lighter towards the top of the paper with a little of the yellow ink added into the green.
I waited a few minutes for this to dry then approached the last part of the figure. Diluted ultramarine blue brushed on quite minimally into the clothes.
I wanted to show even more shadow so went back to the ultramarine and dark brown mixture to paint the arm/sleeve and outline around the edge on the neck and chest to finish.
In this photo the left painting is in watercolour and the right in the Colourcraft acrylic inks as a comparison. I should mention they are very economical too if you are using them in this way with water. Great fun to play with and I'm really pleased with the results.
If you've used these acrylic inks we'd love to hear from you. Show us how you use them!
Have a great day.
See you soon