How To Use Alcohol Ink On Watercolor Paper!

Although alcohol based-ink has been very popular for a long time, it seems to have seen a surge in its popularity in recent years as more and more people have started to use it in their artwork and writing. Be it via pens or paints that use alcohol ink, the number of questions that we see from the community regarding its use just seems to continue to increase with no signs of its popularity slowing down.

Although we do see a whole range of questions being asked, we have noticed more and more questions based around using alcohol ink on watercolor paper. Due to this, we have decided to dedicate this article go going over how alcohol ink performs on four of the most common watercolor paper options currently available on the market.

Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers learn what to expect when using an alcohol ink on each of the paper types so you are better informed on what paper you should be looking to use. Keep in mind, each of the paper types that we will be covering in this article do have different quality grades available too but you don’t have to break the bank to get high-quality paper these days thankfully.

How To Use Alcohol Ink On Watercolor Paper

“Alcohol Ink Postcards with Shower Curtain” by CraftyGoat is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Please also keep in mind that there are a wide range of different ways that you are able to use alcohol-based ink on paper that is commonly used for watercolours. The main thing that we are going to be focusing on for this particular article is the papers performance when it comes to painting on the paper with standard brushes using an alcohol ink.

Please also note that some alcohol inks on the market right now definitely perform better than others and we would always recommend that you use he best possible alcohol ink available. Thankfully, the prices of decent alcohol ink is not as expensive as it once was so there is no need to go out and break the bank when stocking up anymore.

We usually recommend that our readers use with Adirondack Alcohol Ink or Copic Various Ink for the best possible performance for the lowest possible price tag. Both options have a great reputation for performing well while also being very cheap with a huge color selection too.

Using Alcohol Ink On Yupo Paper

In our opinion, the best watercolour paper on the market for use with an alcohol ink is definitely Yupo Paper and it shows due to the larger number of people who use alcohol inks tending to prefer Yupo paper. Although prices can vary depending on retailer and the GSM rating of the specific Yupo paper you opt to use, it is generally very budget friendly while performing very well with alcohol ink.

The make up of the Yupo paper allows the alcohol ink to spread well after being applied to the paper offering the user those broad spreads that alcohol ink is well known for. Depending on what you are actually wanting to do with your work, this can be a blessing or a curse but the majority of our readers will likely want to be taking advantage of the papers spread potential.

Provided that you are using a decent alcohol ink with your Yupo paper, you should be able to blend it with ease to get the effects that you desire from your work. Although some people do use a blending solution with their alcohol inks, they are not essential when blending on Yupo paper but a decent blending tool really can be a god send.

The smear and slide potential of alcohol ink on Yupo paper is decent allowing you to slide your inks if required to reach the desired effect. Depending on exactly what you are trying to do though, this may cause issues with smearing so always take care.

Using Alcohol Ink On Vellum

The second best watercolor paper for use with alcohol ink is Vellum in our opinion but if you do want a slightly lighter look for your alcohol ink on the paper then it can be considered the number one choice. This will come down to your own personal preference though as well as what you are trying to do with your artwork.

The spread potential of Vellum is just as good as Yupo paper in our opinion and it allows a small amount of alcohol ink to spread out across the Vellum with ease. There is minimal patching or dissipation with the ink once spread on Vellum too and the corners remain sharp and clear too.

Vellum does blend very well when using an alcohol ink with it but it is not as easy to blend as your ink would be if you use Yupo paper. You are able to get around this by using some blending solution though and the majority of our readers who use alcohol-based inks will probably have it in their collection already. That said though, you can get the same effect using Yupo Paper with your alcohol inks without needing to use a blending solution.

The slide and smear potential of alcohol ink on Vellum is decent but does end up having that softer look to it that we touched on earlier. Although personal preference can come into play on this one with some people actually preferring this look on their work, the majority of people do tend to prefer the stronger potential of alcohol inks on Yupo paper when sliding.

Using Alcohol Ink On Acetate

When we get to using alcohol ink on Acetate, things start to drop off drastically with the two options above usually being much better when it comes to using alcohol ink on them. Although some people can make acetate work, it usually takes a ton of time and effort to get similar results that are relatively simple when it comes to using your alcohol ink on Yupo Paper or Vellum.

This is why we usually recommend that our users avoid using acetate for any work with alcohol ink. The spread rate is very poor when using acetate, the smear risk is huge, and it is an absolute nightmare to blend. There are much better and cheaper options available to use that simply offer a much better experience while also helping to make your life much easier to get the work done.

Using Alcohol Ink On Glossy Cardstock

The final option that we have seen some people recommend and use when using alcohol ink is Glossy Cardstock and this is without a doubt the most controversial option in our list. Although some people do seem to be able to make it work, we are firmly on the side of not even trying as it is even worse than using acetate when it comes to the time and attention to detail required to get similar results that Yupo Paper offers with ease.

Everything about glossy cardstock quickly becomes a pain when using it with alcohol ink too with its spread, blend, and smear all being poor. In our opinion, glossy cardstock is just too much hassle and removes the pleasure from art and although you can try it if you really want, we are confident that you will be able to get much better results with other items featured in our article.


That brings our article going over using alcohol ink on watercolor paper to a close and we hope that you have found it helpful. As we have touched on above, in our opinion, using Yupo Paper is going to be the best option for the majority of our readers but you also have to use a decent alcohol ink for optimum results too.

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