I recently saw that someone used a blending solution I’d never heard of…. Combining that with the recent availability of isopropyl alcohol at drug stores and pharmacies (CVS, RiteAid, Walmart carry different ones in different percentages), I thought I’d finally get around to comparing them all!

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You can do this same “gravity” technique with multiple colors, too; create a swoosh in one color, get it fully dried – then add a swoosh of another color. Eventually I’ll do a video showing how to do that, but the best way to learn, as I always say, is to play!


This simple one color technique which I’m dubbing the Gravity Technique seemed a good test: same paper, same amount of blending solution, same number of drops, all on the back side of photo paper, which behaves somewhat like Yupo. Time each one to see how long they dry without anything other than swirling of the color and the air in the room!

New Alcohol Ink Class

The new class is finally posted after months of work on it – and I hope you’ll find it’s a lot of fun! Some may find Terrestrial Alcohol Ink Jumpstart way easier than the Ethereal Alcohol Ink Jumpstart! Ethereal is light, airy, and wispy – whereas Terrestrial is textured, rich, and full of contrast – and a whole bunch of the pieces look like topography maps to me!

I’m listing the new class as a Level 2 – but you don’t need the Ethereal class first. It’s got double the lessons so it’s a more expansive class techniquewise…I’ll talk about some art principles, too so you’ll learn to create movement and contrast, balance and focal points. All with only three ink colors! Lots of techniques just use gravity but there are ones for folks with airbrushes that you wouldn’t expect to work, and sprays used in creative ways too!

Credit to April Bahl, one of my patrons, for suggesting the name for the class. I was STUMPED! And after lots of brainstorming, April won this class for free by suggesting the chosen name. You too can become a patron HERE.

The cards

The sample cards were made simply by layering black cardstock underneath on a pink card base – and a simple stamped sentiment.

70% Isopropyl Alcohol

This first one is the 70 % alcohol – It leaves a bit of a granulated texture, but boy does it take forever to dry without help. Over 27 minutes! It does do some interesting texture things in the class, though, so don’t discount it – I found a cool way to move the color that works best with 70%.

91% Isopropyl Alcohol

This one dried lots faster – 10 minutes instead of 27. I’m making the assumption it’s because of lots less water in the alcohol.

99% Isopropyl Alcohol

I wasn’t sure if the hygiene/makeup kind of 99% would be different than medical grade, so I tested both. This dried in 7-1/2 minutes, and was much easier to control and flow around on the paper/

99% Isopropyl Alcohol, medical grade

The medical grade behaved the same as nonmedical, so I think for art, the difference would be minimal. Though it might be good to let hospitals have all the medical grade. I did take the opportunity with a second 99 to try to keep two areas white to create one swoosh across the middle. With focus and perseverance it worked!

Denatured Alcohol

This was in my hardware store in the paint aisle, over where they kept paint thinners. Having it say “FUEL” on the outside scares me! Be super careful with this stuff, store it according to instructions, and keep a lid on all your solvents in the studio!

Ranger Alcohol Blending Solution

I should have known Ranger’s solution would have had a bigger difference; I’m not sure where it falls in the % scale, but it does brighten and intensify the colors! This pink even has a little of the warmth emanate from the pink color – almost a yellowish tone. Pretty amazing, as this ink color (Gumball) is pretty much a purpleish color. I left mine in the bottle rather than putting it in a jar – it’s going to be more expensive per ounce than isopropyl alcohol.


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