The bullet points:
- break open a sharpie and soak the inky insert in some rubbing alcohol.
I bought cheap travel sized spray bottles and a big bottle of rubbing alcohol and raided my abundant stash of sharpies (many of which were inherited when my office closed a few years ago so I didn't pay anything for them)
It was quick and easy (and smelly and a little messy) and the colors were VIBRANT!
So then I set about testing them on a bunch of different surfaces. I took a file folder and attached various papers and tapes and started spraying. TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT. The colors were muted - some almost non-existent. And the SMELL. Man-oh-man it smelled like a hospital ward. For hours. (Oddly the cat was fascinated by this and hovered near the smelly papers all afternoon).
Here are the results of my experiments:
Clockwise from upper left: water color paper, cereal box covered in gesso, plain cereal box, book page, copy paper, card stock
I called it a day at this point and nearly dumped them down the drain in disappointment.
But I took up the cause again this morning and had better results. I noticed that the colors were most vibrant on bright white, smooth, not-too-absorbant paper, so I started there.
Here's a test palette on some mixed media paper (with the corresponding sharpie color for comparison)
I tried it with some stencils on cheap copy paper. Not bad:
Then I tried yellow, orange and red in a cheap sketchbook and filled it up with notes on what I'd learned.
easy to write over it
permanent - doesn't smudge when reworked
overlapping colors blend well
gives a nice effect with stencils
colors are muted
bleeds through to the other side of most papers
beads up on plastic and metal surfaces. it dries and leaves the color in little droplets
did I mention smelly?
Final assessment: not what I'd hoped for, but if I can tolerate the smell I will use it to create some interesting background effects.
If any of you have experience with homemade inks leave me a comment.