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Marabu might be known to most readers as a manufacturer of handicraft colors and decorative lacquers. Now the specialists for creative colors have launched the Marabu Alcohol Inks on the market. I was allowed to test the inks for you and can anticipate: It’s worth reading on!
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I was allowed to test these Products
The colorful Marabu Alcohol Inks are individually available in 13 bright, brilliant colors and leave nothing to be desired. Add to this the extender and three shimmering metalics: gold, silver and bronze as well as the absolute highlight: the effect color Diamond Sparkle.
If you prefer to try a few colors first, it is recommended to try one of the 3 sets Flowers or Underwater. These consist of three bottles of Alcohol Ink, a Permanent Marker with two tips, five sheets of DIN A6 special paper and instructions.
- Set contains Five 20ml bottles metallic alcohol ink in colors shown + 3 mini pipettes
- Colors: Metallic Blue, Metallic Green, Metallic Violet, Metallic Pink, Metallic Yellow
- Use the colors on their own or blend the inks together for infinitely creative possibilities
Before Starting the Review
General Information about Marabu Alcohol Inks
The Marabu Alcohol Ink are individually wrapped, so if you are lucky enough to have all 13 colors, you will need some time to unpack – but this will greatly increase the anticipation. Please note: the tips of the bottles have to be pierced with a thumbtack (just take off the cap, don’t unscrew the whole tip). This means: as usual, you should wear gloves and protective clothing for this step. It is best to put your Yupo paper on another work surface because there might be some small splashes. If you wear glasses, take care!
In order not to mix up the caps, it is advisable to mark the tip of each cap with a drop of paint before the first use. Since the caps are white, this works very well.
The product packaging is very generous with 20 ml per bottle and also very well pigmented. The extender with 20 ml also requires more sparing use. Here it is definitely worth buying a large bottle of isopropyl alcohol, because it is indispensable for many techniques; after all, you can “revive” alcohol Inks as often as you like, something that many people find particularly useful.
It is advised that you think about which colors you want to work with before you start painting. With a large selection, it can get confusing, especially if you have to work quickly. So choose your colors and put them open and ready to hand on your desktop. Of course, you can add colors spontaneously later, but this way it will be a bit faster. Metallic colors must generally be shaken well before use. The bottles of the effect colors contain a small ball, which you can hear when shaking. When it comes to the other colors, it is useful to shake these as well to completely dissolve the pigments.
If you plan on using a special paper in DIN A4 size, it is advisable to cut the sheet in half – in a smaller space you can often create much more interesting color games. Put on your protective gloves, prepare a hair dryer (with cold setting!) and make sure that there is enough isopropyl alcohol at hand.
Test 1: Marabu Alcohol Ink Colors
I used Marabu Alcohol Ink for this painting in the colors reddish orange, cherry red, lemon, gold, bronze and brown. To create color gradients I recommend you to first drip the colors generously on your paper. You can either use the same colors for all areas or keep single parts in certain colors – there are no limits to your fantasy.
Next, I like to apply a generous amount of isopropyl alcohol to the colors and then start to let the pigments flow with the hair dryer. This allows me to work out the first pretty shapes. The Marabu colors are very easy to move, even if you add some extra ink or alcohol in between. The secret of this technique is on the one hand not to use the colors too sparingly and on the other hand to move them again and again with a lot of alcohol.
Marabu alcohol inks stand out because of their strong pigmentation; even with a lot of alcohol they remain powerful and brilliant and you lose much less structure than with other alcohol inks when the colors are repeatedly activated. I like this especially, because sometimes I like a spot very well, but the alcohol looks for its own ways and “floods” with pleasure sometimes a successful area.
If you are satisfied with the overall painting, you can start to take care of the details. I always devote myself to one area and work around the edge of the painting.
Test 2: Marabu Alcohol Ink Metallics
For the red-orange painting’s I applied the Marabu Alcohol Ink Metallic-Gold pure. The ink dries both thicker and more opaque and forms great shimmering structures and “veins”. If you mix the metallic colors with other colors and/or Isopropyl alcohol on the sheet, they produce a subtle even shimmer.
Along with the lemon color you get a great, bright yellow tone. As with many manufacturers, the yellow of Marabu can also go into the dirty, but mixed with gold it becomes very strong and with red-orange you get a beautiful peach tone. Red orange with bronze reminds of the most beautiful sunsets.
It is always difficult to capture the shimmering of metallic colors in photos, so it’s worth checking out the beautiful results for yourself.
Fine details can be worked out well without being lost when reactivating. Applied pure, metallic gold can be used for interesting structures.
Test 3: Marabu Alcohol Ink Diamond Sparkle
My personal highlight and one of the most beautiful Alcohol Ink additives ever is the Marabu Alcohol Ink Diamond Sparkle. Just think of diamonds, the rainbow fish or a shimmering water surface. Depending on how much you use, you will get different intense effects. At the beginning of the work well mixed with colors and alcohol, the whole painting shimmers depending on the incidence of light, so that you hardly see the effect or even very intense.
Diamond Sparkle can also be used for a more subtle effect (left). Comparison of Diamond and Metallic Silver (right)
Dropped onto individual areas, these look particularly impressive. Depending on which Inks you combine with Diamond Sparkle, you will get different color results, because the effect color adapts perfectly to the background or mixed color. Once the paint is dry, almost nothing of the glitter will come off. Not even the metallic colors lose their shimmer! Nevertheless you should seal your paintings with a UV-protection so that they do not fade.
The effect additive Marabu Diamond Sparkle shimmers in breathtaking nuances when exposed to strong light.
Special Effect Decorations
The decoration of finished images by “embellishing” I have already described in my first guest article Alcohol Ink Instructions – Basics for Beginners. Dip a fine brush in pure isopropyl alcohol and dab carefully on the dry ink to create a dot or line pattern. This technique is particularly refined if you add a few splashes of Diamond Sparkle to the alcohol. It is important that you stir the mixture again and again so that the glitter does not settle. This way you get delicate dots that sparkle slightly when you look closely.
“Embellishing” with Diamond Sparkle in addition.
Direct comparison of Diamond Sparkle (left) and metallic colors (right) in direct light. In the frontal view from a distance the shimmer is only very subtle.
My Final Conclusion
Altogether I like the Marabu Alcohol Inks very much because they are in no way inferior to the colors of other manufacturers. The colors are individually available in many bold shades and also available as Starter Sets. The Marabu Alcohol Inks include several shades of yellow, red, blue and violet, three shades of green, brown, black and the four effect colors. There are even Neon Alcohol Inks available. In my opinion, the Extender is not absolutely necessary.
Compared to the colors of other manufacturers, Marabu Alcohol Ink Metallics can be processed much easier and more beautiful. It is also remarkable that the metallic colors are not only available in gold, silver and bronze as usual, but also in metallic green, blue, yellow and copper.
The absolute highlight of this product line is the Diamond Sparkle Additive. It shimmers discreetly, is by no means kitschy, and can be processed very easy. An absolute must-have for every Alcohol Ink artist!