Troubleshooting / FAQs

When we work with inks, sometimes things don't happen the way we expect them to. Here are some common reasons that might help you identify some of the problems you are facing:

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Lines do not look clean

  1. Excessive humidity in the air (lower than 40% is best for this technique). Check with a hygrometer. If you have an air conditioner, turn it on half an hour before starting work and keep it running during the work time).

  2. Impure alcohol (99% pure isopropyl alcohol is the best for this technique). Blending solutions don’t work for this technique.

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Inks look sticky

  1. Some brands or colors of inks are sticky. Lighter shades in Copic and Ranger inks are particularly sticky. Many Brea Reese inks are sticky as well. If you feel that the inks are not flowy, try with different brands and colors as well.

  2. Lack of IPA. As the work dries and reaches towards the end of the drying process, the ink and IPA solution starts to thicken up and becomes sticky. You can either add more alcohol to keep working more, or wipe that gummy ink and start with fresh inks.

  3. You started with less alcohol. If there’s not enough alcohol for the inks to flow smoothly right from the beginning, the work will start to become sticky very fast.

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Inks are going out of control

  1. Maybe your dryer is too powerful. Opt for a hot air hair brush that has wattage lower than 600.

  2. If the inks are still out of control hold the tool angled away from the ink pool.

  3. Work on a bigger surface so you have more space to move on.

  4. Stick the paper with tape so you don’t have to worry about it flapping due to drying tool speed.

  5. Use the other hand to keep the inks in control.

  6. Practice more with the dryer. The inks will start moving in the right direction with more practice. 

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Ripples are forming, but they are not sharp and well-defined

  1. Try mixing two colors, one could be slightly darker version of the same. Or use any color along with a little bit of black or brown to get darker lines.

  2. Inks need to come back a bit towards the area that is drying, so wait for a second before you pass with the dryer again so that inks get a chance to come back.

  3. Tilt the paper gently with other hand to keep the ink coming back to the drying part.​

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Metallic inks are not moving

  1. You did not shake the bottle well. It vital that you shake it vigorously for a minute, till you can hear the ball moving around freely and no clumps are visible.

  2. All metallic inks and mixatives need much more alcohol than usual to remain floaty. Try adding more alcohol and scrubbing with a brush or silicone tool to make the metallic pigment move again.

  3. Premix metallics with alcohol before using.

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Paper is bending

  1. Drying tool might be very hot. If that is the case, you need to find a lower intensity dryer.

  2. The paper might be thin. Try to get heavier weight paper to work on.