Fun With Splash Inks (Part 2)

Splash Inks are acrylic inks invented by Karen Elaine and made by Yasutomo. I’ve posted on Splash inks previously. Today, Arizona Art Supply had a class in learning how to use the inks. Kari Foteff

Senior Account Manager Kari Foteff, from Strathmore, and inventor Karen Elaine.

Senior Account Manager Kari Foteff (L) from Strathmore, and inventor Karen Elaine.

from Strathmore Papers (L) and Karen Elaine were there and they taught a wicked good class. Strathmore papers were the first papers I loved when I was a papermaker, and it was great meeting someone who gets to work with Strathmore papers much of the time.

It’s fun meeting an inventor, particularly one who is modest and never mentioned her time on the Carol Duvall show. ( A popular show on the DIY Network several years ago) or the process of invention, just what the inks can do.

There are four inks, and they follow the CMYK colors: Cyan (blue) Magenta, Yellow and Black. You can mix them into over a hundred different colors.


We mixed several colors, and Kay, next to me, did a whole sampler of colors.


We then masked off a card and, using a stencil, scraped Golden’s regular gel (gloss) over the stencil and allowed the gel to dry, creating a resist.  We then mixed colors and applied them over the card. Kay did an attractive multi-colored card:


And I tried for a batik effect:


I’ll be demonstrating the inks at Arizona Art Supply’s booth the Women’s Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center April 27 and 28, 2013.

Karen Elaine helped me learn how to do some paper marbling with the basic colors. I have some more work to do (mixing new colors), but I’m really pleased with the basic marbling which is super easy:


And works with more complicated combing patterns, too.


Even the second pick-up works well:


I made these on cardstock, but you can also make them on sized watercolor paper. You can use them as art journal backgrounds, or just write in the lighter areas. You can use Golden’s regular gel as a resist and then write on it with a sharpie. Lots of experimentation still to go, but I’m having a lot of fun with Splash Inks.

–Quinn McDonald has inky fingers again.

Disclaimer: I purchased the inks myself. I am receiving no compensation to blog about them.

5 thoughts on “Fun With Splash Inks (Part 2)

  1. Here’s a completely uninformed question: isn’t mixing ink how you’ve always gotten different colors? I thought that was the whole basis of the CMYK system? I don’t quite get what’s unique about Splash ink compared with the old nonsplashable variety. (thanks to several misspent years when Apple made printers, I know something about how the CMYK system was adapted to inkjet technology, and even some trivia like the fish test for ink)

    • Ahhh, Pete, the joy of inks! There are dye inks and pigment inks and then there are watercolor inks and drawing inks and fountain pen inks and calligraphy inks and they all have different (and proprietary) formulas which include drying agents and varnishes which mess with color when mixed. While all inks can be mixed, they are mixed with different results–if you mix dyes and pigments, the differing surface tension will push them apart on paper, which can be attractive and useful if you are doing abstracts. Dye inks tend to have fugitive color–they aren’t lightfast–most often in the yellows and reds, and some have stabilizers and some don’t, so when you mix them for color you can get different results–different shades from bottle to bottle. Pigment inks can be mixed, but not always with the same results as you would expect. Most pigment ink reds already have a shot of yellow in them (so, not a true primary color anymore) so when you mix them with blue and expect to get purple and instead get violet (the “warm” side of purple) it’s confusing. Splash inks are the true mix colors from the printing process made as acrylic colors–lightfast AND transparent (many acrylics are opaque). So you can layer them for different color effects. For people like me, who travel, it’s wonderful because you need to take just four bottles with you. You can take white if you want,but watercolorists leave the page blank for white. Wow, Pete, I think this is the first time answering you that my answer is longer than your question!

      • The biggest surprise I got was that before I asked I tried to find out, and while there are quite a few organizations or products around the world called “Splash Ink”, there doesn’t seem to be anything like “ink for dummies” like your answer.

        Thanks for the “pigment versus dye”clue — that DID lead me to some more information. Apparently all inkjet printers, back when I was involved, used dye inks. A big issue at the time (from the mfgr’s point of view) was whether to use nontoxic waterbased ink (which Apple chose) or more toxic ink that wouldn’t run as much if it got wet (HP’s choice). I think Apple eventually switched because of one single thing: printing mailing labels.

        The fish test, by the way, is how toxicity is (was?) measured for inkjet ink: pour a given quantity of ink into an aquarium of specified volume containing a specified number of a given sort of fish, then count how many survive.

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