Throughout March, we asked four fluid artists to try Jackson’s Alcohol Inks. Here, they share their thoughts on drying times and consistency of the inks as well as their favourite colours, bottle sizes and how the inks blend.
Above image: Work in progress by Rachael Monks
When I try new inks for the first time I like to play around with the colours on small bits of Yupo first and see how the colours interact and merge with each other. One of the things I love about using inks are the beautiful undertone variations that come out from certain ink colours. Jackson’s Aubergine Purple is brilliant for that and so was a definite choice to include in my painting.
You can see that the colours blended together really beautifully, and I love the almost mermaid-like effect when the undertones of green emerged from the aubergine ink. It’s amazing when you look at my finished art and see the gorgeous pops of green coming through in the ocean, when I didn’t use any green ink!
I felt some of the ink colours are slightly different from other alcohol ink brands I’ve used, in that they felt heavier and thicker; almost like a blend of using alcohol ink together with acrylic paint. The colour became a little bit more solid and matte, as you can see from the Storm Grey I used in the sky of my painting. So my personal preference were the more translucent, vibrant inks like midnight blue and aubergine purple, but it was fun seeing new effects created by blending the matte-like colours with the more vibrant inks.
Another difference I noticed with these inks in comparison to others I’ve used is that the drying time is slightly longer. Sometimes I find with alcohol inks you need to work really quickly to achieve certain styles and effects, so it was great to have a bit more working time – especially for creating an abstract seascape style like this.
There’s a brilliant colour range of Jackson’s inks to choose from and they’re really reasonably priced. With great sized 50 ml bottles. And I really like the style of the bottles too, with good precision tips for pouring.
About Jenna Ferguson
Jenna Ferguson is a contemporary fluid artist living in Scotland near the banks of Loch Lomond. She creates unique original art that reflects the beauty of the natural world around her, rich with the colours of the ocean, the land and the sky. She specialises in fluid art mediums including alcohol inks and epoxy resin, with work that is vibrant, soothing, and luxurious. Her work is sold independently and belongs to art lovers all over the world.
Whenever I get new inks, I always start off by making swatches just to see how the colours really are, as sometimes you can’t actually tell from their bottles or online colour images. I’d say the colours do match up pretty well to their online images for the ones I’ve tried out!
The colours are all very rich and vibrant, though I’m generally much more of a darker/moodier colour palette kinda girl so I played with mixing the inks to create some different versions. They mixed beautifully together! Their ‘deep black’ helps to create much moodier toned colours, while not completely taking over!
I found the inks themselves to actually be very silky when applied to the Yupo paper and they start to spread as soon as I placed a drop on the paper, even without adding alcohol. I did find some inks to dry to a chalky consistency, so needed to be mindful about handling the piece before varnishing as I did scratch a little bit of the ink away after photographing. This could be down to the isopropyl alcohol I use; more testing would be needed to confirm this!
The particular inks I was most intrigued about were the metallics – Iridescent Gold, Silver & Copper. Finding a metallic ink which clumps up or breaks apart in the way that I like can be challenging, and Jackson’s metallic inks tick all the right boxes for me! I’ve already purchased the metallics in larger bottles myself!
Speaking of bottle sizes, there’s three (10 ml, 30 ml & 50 ml) and this really appealed to me. It means you can test out colours in the smallest bottle then go larger if you find one you like. And the prices are so reasonable as well.
Rachael Monks is a self-taught artist based in South-East London who has been working with alcohol inks since June 2019 but has had love of creating from an early age. She works with alcohol inks for their unpredictable nature, which makes no two pieces the same, but in which both beauty and uniqueness can always be found.
When not immersed in her artwork, she is an undergraduate studying psychology. Much like her inks, she finds the human mind fascinating and unpredictable and believes that creativity can be a great way to help if your mental health is suffering. Not only does she find the experience of abstract fluid painting soothing, but the viewer also doesn’t have to try to make sense of the piece and they can just be with it. Rachael draws a parallel between mental health disorders and abstract expressions because of their intensity and difficulty to always define.
I like to custom blend my inks to create new shades and Jackson’s inks blend perfectly together, taking their colour range of 40 to a limitless rainbow of choices.
My favourite aspect of the Jackson’s inks is that they remain very true to colour. Some alcohol inks on the market tend to show their undertones when blended out with alcohol. For instance a blue ink will often bleed tones of pink or orange. The Jackson’s inks keep their true colour beautifully.
I was able to blend them seamlessly and create so much texture and depth. Alcohol ink artists seem to be on an endless quest for the “perfect metallic” that floats and creates veins of shining details. Jackson’s have nailed it! These metallics float weightlessly on the surface of the Alcohol creating multifaceted details.
Something that Jackson’s have done that I’m yet to see from another brand is to give three size choices when buying the inks. 10 ml, 30 ml & 50 ml starting at £1.30. This makes the inks accessible to everyone that would like to give them a try and I love that about this brand. Art should be about experimentation and I feel like Jackson’s really considered that.
About Emily McSevich
Emily McSevich is an alcohol ink and mixed media artist. Originally from Cornwall, a lot of her art inspiration comes from the Cornish coastline and the ocean. She now lives in Hampshire so never far from the sea if she’s in need of some inspiration. She loves the unpredictability of inks in her and the way it gives her a chance to really let go creatively. She has been working with alcohol inks since 2017, before which time she worked with watercolours.
The new Jackson’s Alcohol Inks are what I’ve been waiting for. Alcohol inks can be expensive for small amounts but Jackson’s has hit the price sweet spot with these inks. And they also don’t skimp on quality for the price; the inks are so vibrant, perfect consistency and the effects you can get are incredible, whether you use the inks on Yupo, ceramic, glass or primed board, the effects are consistent.
Their range of colours is amazing. One of the best ranges I’ve ever seen for the amount of colours available, one of my personal favourites is Aubergine Purple, a beautifully complex deep purple which blends beautifully creating different tones.
Their pastel colour alcohol inks are also stunning, the colours stay vibrant and retain the pastel look. I have already bought more inks! As a professional artist, these inks work so well, and they are great for beginners too.
About Katie Simpson
Katie Alice Simpson is the artist behind The Fluid Fox. She uses many different mediums such as resin, ink, textures, powders, acrylic paints to create carefully curated layered abstract artworks which take inspiration from all sorts of wonderful things, from skies to oceans, to sushi and ice cream. She loves finding colour inspiration from all kinds of places and interpreting them in her own abstract way.
Use or search the Instagram tag #jacksonsmaterials to see more.