Experimenting with DIY Watercolour Ink

Whilst hunting out the one bottle of fluid watercolour I’ve got in preparation for a 1:1 workshop on expressive watercolour, I came across a few empty bottles of acrylic ink and had a lightbulb moment. Why not wash them out and make my own watercolour ink with some favourite colours?

The unknown of course was how much to squeeze out of a tube, and if I’d been sensible rather than impatient I would have started with less and then added more testing it as I’d mixed it up. Maybe next time.

If you’ve noticed that the bottle of Aquafine watercolour ink is ultramarine and are thinking that it’s a colour I openly dislike and wondering why I would have chosen it, the answer is that I was given it as a sample last year at Patchings Art Festival. I wasn’t about to get fussy about the colour of the gift horse!

This is the spread from my sketchbook where I was trying out my three DIY watercolour inks. Definitely a member of the messy sketchbook club.

The sienna is too strong, and needs further diluting. The Lunar Black spreads out a lot on wet paper. The haematite genuine holds a tighter edge on wet paper, and on dry dries to a variegated line. Overall I anticipate much happiness working with these colours and the ink-bottle droppers as the drawing tool,. Taking what I’ve been doing with acrylic ink but using watercolours that granulate and have multiple layers of colour., and remembering that it’ll lift up unlike acrylics.

The sheet with the masking tape removed from the edges. The inspiration was Talisker Bay’s pebble beach, but without putting in the sea stack and leaving the sky blank.

Share Your Thoughts