Letraset recently sent me some of their new range of Inks to try out. The inks come in 20ml bottles with a dropper style top, and, initially, in a range of 50 colours. The inks are the same as used in their markers. However, using them in this form allows you to create with them in ways you can't with a marker!
Being an illustrator and a long-time watercolourist I wanted to see how well you could paint with them. In the image above, "Pandora", I used the inks diluted with blender to paint the hair, mixing Mandarin and Canary Yellow with Blender to create a softer colour. In the image below, "Underwater Girl", I painted the hair with "neat" Mandarin - as you can see, the colour is more intense. The inks are translucent so you can build washes to create darker and/or brighter colours, and you can mix them. They are quite sticky - I wouldn't recommend using brushes you are particularly fond of. They'll need to be cleaned in white spirit.
I used a couple of different techniques to create the backgrounds. To create the sky for "Pandora", I laid some blender on the paper and then began to apply Cobalt blue. The bender dilutes the colour and softens it, so you can get nice gradations of colour. Then I applied the same blue without blender, mixing in some Midnight Blue to create the dark clouds, first using a brush and then, while the ink was still wet, also dropping in colour directly to let it mix on the paper. It's also possible to drop blender in and, using cotton wool or kitchen paper, lift colour off to create lighter areas.
I used a similar effect to create the sea colours on Underwater Girl, painting on a wash of Cobalt Blue and the dropping Canary Yellow onto the wet ink to let the colours blend on the page. As with markers, I find you have to work quickly. You also have to be careful about the ink bleeding, so take care and don't apply too much ink close to areas you don't want it to spread to. What's also quite exciting using this technique is that you don't really see the full effect until it's dry.
The ink colours are wonderfully rich and vibrant. For me, they add another dimension to working with markers and will allow me to create painterly effects I wasn't able to before, while retaining a consistency of colour.