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Add impact to your paintings with India Ink

Add impact to your paintings with India ink
Drawing / Ink / Painting / Painting technique / Portraits / Step by step demonstrations / Watercolor painting basics

Add impact to your paintings with India Ink

Color is fun and I love color but you can also give impact to your paintings by working in black and white. When working in black and white, I like to use India Ink as it has many advantages:

  • It is very fluid and the black you get is very intense
  • You can use the same techniques you would use with watercolor paint or fluid acrylic
  • You can dilute it in water to get an infinity of grays
  • It is very affordable

India Ink can come as a more or less waterproof quality, but I recommend you use workable fixative to fix the ink before painting over as I did not find yet an ink that was totally water-resistant on canvas.

Here are a few examples of what you can do:

Rain Geometry: A portrait in India Ink on canvas

In this example, most of the white spaces are combined with the black spaces to define the elements of the painting. Most of the white has been preserved on the canvas with masking fluid before painting with Ink.

painting a portrait with India ink step by step painting tutorial

Rain Geometry:  See a step by step tutorial here to see how to paint a portrait with India ink

portrait with India ink on canvas

Rain Geometry

Specks of Light: Painting a forest landscape with India ink and graphite

In this painting the leaves are drawn with graphite and the tree branches are painted with ink. The graphite on the leaves are fixed by painting a layer of acrylic medium on top. You can see the painting process in detail here on this post: Specks of Light, mixed media step by step painting tutorial.

how to paint a forest with India ink on canvas
black and white forest in India ink on canvas

Specks of Light, India ink, graphite and acrylic on canvas

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Speedball Super Black Waterproof India Ink

“Super black” means its blackness will be very permanent and fadeless. Contains 100% carbon black pigment. Also free-flowing, non-clogging, and waterproof.

Painting a tree with India ink on canvas: Recycling life

This painting was mostly painted with Ink, which works really well for the small details in the branches. There is a very light acrylic red wash in the background. See more details of the painting process here: Step by step acrylic and mixed media painting, Recycling Life

painting a tree with India ink

Recycling Life, Mixed media on canvas, step by step demonstration

Mixing Indian Ink and other media for a portrait painting

India Ink can be successfully mixed with other media like watercolor and Ink.

Here is an example with watercolor on paper, the portrait has been painted with ink and I used watercolor only for the flower and coat painting. The designs on the right are drawn with watercolor pencils.

painting a portrait with India ink on canvas

Some Flowers bloom in Winter, India ink, watercolor and watercolor pencils on paper.

Mixing India ink and acrylic ink

In this other example, ink has been mixed with fluid acrylic to paint the salmon fry. They mix really well and India ink produces a very good intense black.

mixing india ink and acrylic

 Ink and fluid acrylic can be used together in your paintings like on this example.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Golden High Flow Acrylics

Incredibly flexible, Golden High Flow Acrylics have an ink-like consistency that lends itself to a wide range of techniques painting, drawing, staining, glazing, inking, hand-lettering, airbrushing, and more. – High Flow Colors, Set of 10

mix India ink and acrylic on a painting

The painting has been splashed with water, most India inks are water soluble to some degree.

mix India ink with acrylic

Have you tried India Ink in your work? Did you like it?

4/5 - (3 votes)

Comments (6)

  1. I’ve been mixing up Indian ink and watercolour on canvas and am finding it most addictive – love the structure of the black and the veils of washes. I prepare the canvas with a watercolour ground and have had no issues with the ink running. Once dry I fix with a UV archival varnish or wax (Dorlands). Such fun!

    1. Thanks Liz, yes preparing the canvas with watercolour ground is an excellent idea 🙂

  2. I also enjoy mixing ink with my paints. Thank you for the new ideas, I love your work!

    1. Thanks Lisa!

  3. incredible art you create with so much creativity. I was wondering where you get the room image…. Looking for beautiful spaces like this?
    Thanks so much,

    1. Thanks CheyAnne:)
      I bought a few pictures online from one of the photos inventory sites and am editing it so my painting is scaled.

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