A Marabu Study in Black


It was a week for firsts. Actually several firsts but I want to show you one. First time ever creating with black ink. You know me. I am all about the bright and colorful, not so much about black or red or brown. You know. Boring colors. At least in my opinion. But this particular time I wanted to try the black Marabu Alcohol Ink. It came in the complete set of colors I purchased from Joggles and I thought I might as well try it. At least once. You know – product paid for should be used. And once I got started I could not stop. Let me show you.

Marabu has a fun line of art products. Joggles has the complete set of all 28 alcohol ink colors for half price. So I bought the set. Which included black. I started this roughly 4″ x 6″ piece by drawing a line of isopropyl alcohol in a wiggly snake formation and adding a few drops of magenta and black. Then I started pushing the colors around using the squeeze ball on my Tim Holtz Distress Marker Spritzer Tool.

And I remembered I had the metallic gold, so I added a few drops of that to the mix I was blowing around my Yupo paper. And kept pushing color with bursts of air.

Here it is really wet. I put it to the side on my drying rack . . .

And here it is dry. The gold got a bit lost. Perhaps I needed more? But I do love the way it shows in various areas of the tile. And the wispy quality of the black I was able to get with the air. I was like . . . wow! Let’s do another! So I did!

I grabbed the bottle of apple – hoping it would be close to lime since Marabu doesn’t have lime – and the bottle of black. I layed down a wiggly line of alcohol, then dropped in several bits of apple and only two drops of black. Because two drops of black is plenty, it can get a bit aggressive.

I went with less alcohol this time and more blowing of air. Just pushing color and turning the yupo paper and pushing in the other direction. Being careful not to over mix the two colors. And I loved it at this point.

And here is it dry. The colors soften as they dry and continue to mix. A little black goes a long way. Too much black and it would have obliterated the pretty apple green.

Apparently I was having so much fun with this one I forgot to take photos. Purple and black. This Marabu purple is more maroon/ mauve than purple and I love how it worked with the black. The pushing of air gently and from different angles is the key to making these gorgeous pieces.

I really love the way it softened into an almost gauzy look as the colors dried. Probably my favorite piece of the 20+ I made that day. I may just frame this one as is and not even try to tangle it. I love it that much!

Here is another beauty. This time I used amethyst and black. You would think this was purple. Nope. Totally amethyst. And I used a lot more alcohol for this one. I am still trying to figure out the right ratio of alcohol to color.

The dried version – I apologize because this is upside down from the image before. My internet is having brain freeze today. I have already been working on this post for almost 4 hours. And I’ve rebooted the computer 6 or 7 times. Making me crazy. Rearranging the order of the letters I am typing. Into something that looks like ajkshivoejshbxux instead of take that internet! So you get to look at this upside down. Yayayay!!! Uh. Amethyst and black. I like how the black breaks up the amethyst a bit and makes areas of pink. I did not use a pink on this tile. Just black and amethyst. And those striations in the black are caused by the air pushing the color. I love it! You never know what to expect and there is no way you can duplicate one of these tiles.

For this one I brought out the hot pink from Piñata. So beautiful! When I was a kid I loved making a coloring page using bright pink with black. Nothing was safe. I’d make pictures of clothes, baskets, flowers – and I’d color them all in shades of pink and black. So this was a no-brainer for me. And it looks like I used too much black. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

As I pushed the color with my Tim Holtz blasting air thingy the black mixed with pink and made purple. So it looks like I used three colors when I really used two.

Wrong piece of yupo? Nope. I totally used too much black, pushed too much air, added too much alcohol and made too much purple. Yuck. This has since been cut up into ATCs and I actually love it that way! Hahahahaha!

Here I brought out the Piñata teal to use with Marabu’s black. You can see I used a good bit of teal. It’s my spirit color. Hahahaha! I used to have teal streaks in my hair and I miss them!

This one had too much alcohol and turned into a muddy mess. But it made nice ATCs. I do not have a photo of it before I chopped it up. Not all my projects turn out like I want them to. And that’s ok. That’s how I learn.

And what I learned was this – use much less alcohol, be more patient, use less black and more teal and take my time with the air source. Watch the lovely happen. And then stop before I mess it all up. Hahahaha! Yep! Totally love this one!

Here is a mix of Piñata’s sun bright yellow and Marabu’s black. Bumble bee colors. So bright and pretty together! Notice I used less alcohol. Just one pass around the tile.

Can you just say ugh? Apparently no one should mix a combination of alcohol, sun bright yellow and black because it looks awful together. Moving on.

Back to the amethyst and black. Because I like those in combination so much! Much of what I do is play and experiment.

And sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. It worked this time. I used my air source to push the color around and let the black really work with the amethyst. I remembered it brought out some pink when I did that before. I was hoping it would happen again.

And it did. Again this one is upside down and I just can’t fix it today. I don’t know if it’s my computer . . . or my internet . . . or a combination but I am about to scream here. Two colors – amethyst and black. Which turned into purple and pink and some blue and black. I love it all!

I was having a great time playing with the black alcohol ink from Marabu. It is the only brand I have black in. For this one I used three colors from Marabu – lemon, black and Caribbean. A beautiful color! And a decent amount of alcohol and soft air. My goal here was to just push the color out to the sides and see what happened as it dried. I was not disappointed.

Look at the softness. I am enjoying the soft aspect, it’s in contrast to most of what I do in art. Hahahaha! Look at those green edges along the right hand side – isn’t that pretty?

I have two tiles still laying here on my desktop to show you. This is another using the apple with black. I love how the soft air made cells of color. I did not overwork this piece. If I could just achieve this with every one I would be beyond happy!

And another using amethyst and black. I was determined to find the right ratio and I think I did! A little more alcohol on this one and less color. Nice soft, wispy bits of cotton candy kind of color. So beautiful!

Marabu Alcohol Ink. Beautiful and easy to use! I’ve played with them before but I have NEVER used black alcohol ink before this! I love the way the black plays with the other colors! Such wonderful results I got – even on the pieces I wasn’t completely happy with! I haven’t tried drawing on any of these yet. I will do that next. But one thing I immediately noticed – the inks from Marabu do not feel sticky to the touch when dry. So different from Ranger alcohol inks which definitely feel sticky. I need to pick one and get busy. Maybe later today. If I can just decide which one to start with! And I will definitely be using this black again. I might even try black in other mediums which I have never done before. I may have to go shopping first. Hahahaha!

Marabu Alcohol Ink
Piñata Alcohol Ink
Tim Holtz Distress Marker Spritzer Tool
Yupo Paper

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16 thoughts on “A Marabu Study in Black

  1. Alice, these are all stunning! The black seems to have added a mysterious quality that I love? I have not experimented with the inks, but I may have to put them on my list of things to learn now. Thanks for the post!

    • you are welcome 🙂 I need to try black more now that I know I can make it look nice. I have a bottle of brown, too. that may be next. Hahahaha!

  2. Omg❣️These are fantastic! ❤️❤️❤️❤️them all! I see so many patterns in them! WOW!

  3. All very beautiful! I wish my piggy bank wasn’t empty! Thank you for sharing! Can’t wait to see one tangled!

    • I know, right? I just found some new liquid watercolors I want but I need to wait till payday

  4. Wow Alice – I’m so proud of you for using black. You are my opposite, as you know – I love black and have to challenge myself to use colour. But you’ve embraced the black and the results are stunning. Subtle darkness that makes the adjacent colours shine even brighter.

  5. Very interesting – the yellow bumblebee one I agree Ugh! But I love that lemon, black & caribbean one. I’m glad you’ve got this to get absorbed in at present – colour does the heart good.

    • thank you – sometimes color is all I can handle. I really don’t feel like drawing but I may try it later today anyway.

  6. Very much enjoyed this article. Love the colors/mixes you achieved. Anxious to see your tangling artwork on them. Hmmm the print below tells me I already commented. Strange i don’t think so.

    • it did save your comment twice – I will take of that 🙂 I may try drawing on one of these later today

    • I did. I just haven’t bought them. the only reason I had this black is because it came as part of a set

  7. Beautiful experiments! You have a great instinct about which colors to try and how to manipulate them. Even the ones you consider fails look amazing to me!

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