Making Botanical Ink: Write, Draw and Paint With Nature | Casey Gallagher Newman | Skillshare

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Making Botanical Ink: Write, Draw and Paint With Nature

teacher avatar Casey Gallagher Newman, Natural Dye and Textile Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Choosing Botanical Material

    • 4. Supplies and Equipment

    • 5. Extracting Color From Plants

    • 6. Filtering Your Ink

    • 7. Modifying the Color of Your Ink

    • 8. Adding a Binder

    • 9. Play Time! Using Your Ink

    • 10. Paint a Landscape

    • 11. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Making your own natural ink not only gives you beautiful and interesting colors to create with, but it provides a deep connection to the natural world. It’s also just really fun!

Join natural dye artist Casey Newman (@cedardellforestfarm) and be transported to her farm in the Oregon forest to learn to make your own botanical ink. Ink is an incredibly versatile art medium and using plants to make ink is not only a great way to get interesting colors but it also a very rewarding way to interact with nature no matter what the season.

In this course, you will be introduced to many plant sources that create inks and you will learn how to modify your ink to create different natural colors. You will also learn tips and tricks for using your ink in numerous ways - writing, drawing, painting, and even some unconventional methods.


In this course you will learn how to:

  • Select plants that are suitable for making ink
  • Get beautiful brown color from your selected plants
  • Modify the color of your ink to create darker brown and black hues
  • Store and care for your botanical ink
  • Use your ink in many ways including, writing, drawing, and painting
  • Paint a beautiful landscape using your handmade botanical ink

By the end of this course you will be able to make your own botanical inks to incorporate into your creative life in a multitude of ways.

Meet Your Teacher

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Casey Gallagher Newman

Natural Dye and Textile Artist

Top Teacher

Hello, I'm Casey! I am a naturalist and a textile artist so it is no surprise that nature has a starring role in all of my work.  I dye fabric using all natural dyes - many that I gather and grow myself - and also print leaves onto fabric using only the natural pigments found within each leaf.  

I am inspired by living and working at Cedar Dell Forest Farm (@cedardellforestfarm), our farm in the forest on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Living on a farm makes me appreciate all the gifts that we receive from the land and our animals. I raise Shetland sheep for their fiber and friendly personalities, gather leaves and natural materials to use to dye fabric, and grow many of my own dye plants as well as fruit and vegetables.

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] For 40,000 years, humans have been using ink to communicate and create art literally making our mark in the world. Today inks are so common placed that we hardly give it a second thought as we scribble it to-do list or sign an important document. I love a colorful set of pens as much as anyone, but most are nothing like the rich and varied inks that can be made using natural items from your own environment. Making your own natural ink not only gives you beautiful and interesting colors to create with but it provides a deep connection to the natural world. Hi, I'm Casey and I'm a natural dye artist as well as a naturalist, so I take every opportunity to incorporate natural materials into the creative work that I do. I live and work at Cedar Adele forest farm, just outside of beautiful Portland, Oregon. Living this close to nature is the perfect place for me because of the inspiration and the resources that I get from being in nature. I specialize in botanical printing which is creating beautifully detailed leaf prints on fabric and paper, and I create other vibrant colors using natural dyes, many that I grow and gather myself. In addition to selling my textiles, I make kits to encourage people to make things at home and I teach workshops on natural dying both in-person and online. Here on skill share where I'm honored to be a top teacher. In this class I will share many natural materials that you can find anytime and in any season to create your own set of ink that you can use for writing, drawing, or painting. We'll start by making brown ink and then I will show you how to modify the color to create a palette that ranges from light brown to nearly black. Testing out the ink is a fun process of creating abstract designs. If you'd like to create an art piece with a little more form, I will show you how to paint a simple landscape using your new botanical inks. If you have never made ink before this is a great way to learn. If you have some experience with ink making or natural dyes I'm sure there will be some aha moments in here for you too as I share all my tips and tricks for making beautiful botanical ink, I can't wait to see you in class. 2. Class Project: [MUSIC] The project for this class is to create a simple but versatile ink that you can use to create a range of brown to black colors. This is a great first foray into ink making because there are numerous botanical materials that you can use to create this natural color palette. From bark to cones, acorns to oak galls, it is very likely that you have something in your locale that you can use. But I will also share trusted sources where you can purchase some of these botanical items online. I've chosen these particular botanical items, not just because they are easy to get, but because each one makes a beautiful brown color all on its own. The tools and equipment you need are simple, and you likely already have many of them in your home. The process of extracting color from your plants is really straightforward, and you can safely do it right in your kitchen. In addition to making light brown ink, each of these brown inks can be modified so that you can make two or three or even more shades of color just by using one type of plant. Uses for ink are boundless and this handmade botanical ink will be an incredibly versatile addition to your art supplies. Another reason I've chosen this color palette for this course is that the colors all look really beautiful together. Ink and writing do go hand in hand, but you certainly don't need calligraphy skills to use botanical ink to create beautiful art. In fact, you don't need to write with it at all if you don't want to. I include numerous ways that you can use it for drawing and painting, and I'll even show you some of my favorite unconventional tools to make interesting designs. Lastly, I have included a tutorial for painting a simple landscape as a final project for this course. It is an easy process to create, and you don't have to have any painting experience to get beautiful results. Along the way, you will gain a deep appreciation from the gift of color that nature gives us, as well as feel a sense of connection to ink makers throughout human history. This class is for nature lovers and art enthusiasts alike. There are numerous botanical materials that you can use to create this range of colors, and I will show those to you in the next lesson so that you can get started making your own botanical ink. 3. Choosing Botanical Material: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I will share a variety of plant materials that can be used to make ink and this beautiful color palette of brown, gray, and, nearly black. The key is to choose plant materials that are high in tannins. You might have heard the word tannin when people talk about the taste and qualities of red wine and yes, I'm talking about the same thing. Tannins are bitter astringent compounds that are found not only in red grape skins, but also in a variety of plants and plant parts. When making ink, I'm not interested in how tannins affect the taste. Please don't drink your ink, but in what tannins can do for color. Most tannin-rich plants give a brown color, some lighter or darker than others and this can make a really lovely ink all on its own. The really neat thing about tannins though, is what happens when they interact with iron. The addition of a little iron powder can transform brown ink into much darker colors, even close to black. A very traditional source of tannin that works really well for this class is oak galls. Oak gall ink was used in some of the world's most famous documents, including Leonardo da Vinci's drawings, the first written Bible, and the United States Declaration of Independence. You might be thinking, okay, that's cool, but what is an oak gall? Since I'm an ecologist and my creative work intersects so much with the natural world, I'm going to give you a tiny science lesson. Oak galls are growths that can be found on oak trees and also on leaves. They are formed when an insect, usually a type of wasp, lays an egg on the tree. There are lots of kinds of wasps and these are harmless, not like this stinging varieties that disturb your summer picnics. The insect secretes a chemical that disrupts the tree's normal growth and it grows this ball around that tiny egg. This protects it. When the insect larva hatches, it eventually eats its way out and goes along its merry way, leaving this gall behind. There are a variety of oak trees and a variety of insects, so oak galls can look different. Some are thick and potato like, while others are papery and spotted. They all contain tannin and will work really well for making ink. I like to collect them in the fall and winter because the insects have all exited by then, as confirmed by the tiny holes that you can see in the galls. They're pretty easy to spot on the tree once it loses its leaves, but don't forget to look down on the ground too. Those that are attached to leaves fall to the ground along with the leaf. If you don't have oak galls, it's not a problem at all. There are a lot of other great tannins sources that will work really well for ink making. I've used small cones from older trees as well as larger cones from fir trees, and both of them work well. Experiment with tree cones that you can find in your area. Acorns are another great source of tannin and we'll make a beautiful brown ink. You can also use pieces of bark, but please don't pull it off of living trees. I collected from firewood or fallen trees in the forest. You can also experiment with small twigs that you find. Different types of trees will make different colors. This is just a mixture of twigs I found on the ground in the forest and it made a pretty light brown ink. Lastly, the rinds from pomegranate fruits work really well for making ink. When I peel them, I break the rind into small pieces and put it in the oven at a low temperature to dry them, and then I can store these until I'm ready to use them. Getting outside and collecting natural materials is my favorite part of the process of making botanical inks, but it might not be yours. You can purchase a lot of these plant materials from online shops that sell natural dying supplies, and I've put a few of my favorite trusted sources in the Resources tab. Now that you know what plant materials make beautiful color, let's go to the next lesson where I will show you the simple tools and equipment that you will need. 4. Supplies and Equipment: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I will share with you the simple tools and supplies that you will need to make ink. To extract the color from your botanical material, you will need a heating element and a small pot. As with all natural dye projects, the safest way to do this is to use pots and tools that you do not also use with food. I get most of my pots for just a couple of dollars at secondhand stores. After extracting the color, you will need something to strain the plant material out of the water at the end of the heating time. I like to use a strainer or a piece of cheese cloth to get out the large pieces. Then I use a coffee filter to strain out the tiny particles that are left behind. You will need some clean jars or other containers to use for this straining process. Then once your ink is finished, you will need some containers with tight-fitting lids to store your ink. I use a variety of containers from recycled jelly jars or baby food jars, but you can also buy small bottles online. I've included some of my favorite sources in the resources tab. The supplies I just showed you are all that you need to make some beautiful colors of brown ink like these two here. If you would like to make darker browns or even black, then you will need some iron powder. You can purchase it from sources that sell natural dying supplies. It's ferrous sulfate powder. You can buy it in much smaller quantities than I show here. It is a greenish colored powder, and when mixed with our inks, it makes some beautiful darker colors. You will need some small jars or bowls for mixing your different colors. [NOISE] Another optional supply is gum Arabic. This is resin from the acacia tree and mixed with the ink, it acts as a binder and helps it flow better, especially if you're using it with a calligraphy pen. The last optional supply is clove oil. This acts as a natural preservative for your ink. If you choose to not add it, you can refrigerate your natural ink and it will last a really long time. Lastly, what good is making ink if you're not going to use it? I recommend having a variety of paper on hand, even scrap pieces of paper can be useful for testing out your ink as you mix the different colors. Have a variety of tools to apply your ink to the paper. Paint brushes are an obvious choice because ink can be used a lot like watercolor paint. I'll show you how to paint a simple landscape later on in this course. This type of botanical ink also works really well with the calligraphy dip pen. If you have one of these, it's fun to play around with it. Really anything can be used to put ink onto paper. I like to use an eyedropper to make interesting marks, or even a spoon to spread ink on the paper. Now that you know the basic tools that you will need to make and use your ink, let's go to the next lesson where we will start the process of getting color from your botanical materials. 5. Extracting Color From Plants: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I will show you how to get beautiful color from your botanical materials. I'm going to be making ink with oak galls in this demonstration but the same techniques that I show apply to any of the plant materials that I have showed you in the supply lesson. To get color from your botanical materials, you will of course need your selected plant parts, the small cooking pot and some water. The first step in getting color from your botanical material is to break it up into small pieces, some items like these small altar cones can be left as they are since they are already a pretty small size. Other items you will need to break apart yourself, other cones can be pulled apart with these little brackets pomegranate rind if it's not already in small pieces can easily be ripped and torn into little bits. This just allows more surface area to be in contact with the water and the color will come out of it a little quicker than if you leave it in large pieces. Acorns are very hard to break. If you do want to break them up into small pieces, you will need a hammer and steady surface to pound them on. I often use them whole because breaking them up is a lot of effort. Just know that if you leave them whole, it might take a little longer for the color to come out of your acorns than some of these other materials. Oak galls also need to be broken into smaller pieces to make ink with them. But unlike acorns, they are fairly dry and brittle and easy to break. I find that they can be really crumbly and powdery when I break them with my hands so I like to put some in a plastic bag and use a hammer or rolling pin to crush them up. [MUSIC] There's no one right amount of botanical material to use when making ink I like to aim for about a cup or so. You can see how powdery these oak galls are. The more botanical materials you have, the more water you need and the more ink you will end up with. Having about a cup of botanical material makes a nice amount of ink to use but not so much that you'll be storing a whole gallon of it in your refrigerator. The exact amount of water you use will depend on how much plant material you have in your pot. I'm going to add a couple of cups of water. It's a little hard to tell how much is in here because right now these powdery oak gall bits are floating but if I press them down and I see that there's a good amount of water that will cover them. Once you have your botanical materials and water combined in your pot, put it on the stove and bring it to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn it down a little and summer it for one hour. Keep an eye on your pot to ensure that your water doesn't boil away because that's your ink at the end of this process. Putting a lid on your pot will help but if you don't have one that fits, you can place a baking sheet or other heat proof item on top of your pot to help keep your liquid from evaporating away. After an hour, remove it from the heat and let it cool. It's totally fine to let it sit like this overnight or even a day or more. With some especially hard materials like tree bark or whole acorns, soaking it for a longer time will deepen the color. You can even heat it again a second time for even darker shades of brown. Once your pod of ink is completely cool, join me in the next lesson where I will show you how to filter the pieces of plant material out of your ink so that you can use it. 6. Filtering Your Ink: [MUSIC] Now that my ink is completely cool, you can see this beautiful dark color, but it's not very usable now with all these chunks of oak gall in it, so I'll show you how I strain it. I've put the strainer over a large measuring cup. I don't need to measure it, but it's just what fits. I'm going to carefully pour this in. I like to get out every last bit of this precious colored liquids, so I'm just going to press this with the spoon and see if I can get any more out of my pot. I can also give what's left in here a gentle press. All these leftover bits of oak galls, I can put right into my compost bin and I won't even have any waste leftover from this project. You can use this ink right as it is after this one straining, but it has some little bits of plant material in there, part of that dust, and small pieces. It could add a little interest to your painting if you're just using it with a paintbrush, but if you want to use your ink with a calligraphy pen, these little tiny bits of plant material might clog up your nib, so I'll show you how I strain it even further. To filter out those last bits of plant materials, I'm going to use this coffee filter and place it over a clean jar. I'm going to secure it with a rubber band. Now I can pour the sink into here a little at a time and it will filter out leaving just those little bits of plants left in the coffee filter. This process can take a little bit of time, so you might want to go get a snack or take the dog for a walk, or even leave it to sit overnight, and you will end up with some beautifully clear ink ready to use. Now that you have this beautiful jar of filtered ink made from botanical materials, join me in the next lesson where I will show you how to take this one shade of brown you have made and create several darker colors out of it. 7. Modifying the Color of Your Ink: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I will show you how to modify your light brown ink to create some darker colors. You will need the ink that you just filtered, some iron powder, and a couple of small dishes or jars to mix your ink in. Of course, you will want to test out your new colors, so don't forget to grab some paper and paint brushes. I've taken some of the finished oak gall ink and poured it into these little dishes. This is just the plain ink and you can see that it has made this beautiful golden brown color. Let's look at what that looks like on paper. This is such a beautiful color. I definitely want to keep some of my ink, this light brown colors, so I'm going to set this aside and not change that at all. To make some darker brown colors, I have some of the iron powder here in a dish. This is much more iron powder than I will need for this ink. It really only takes a tiny bit to affect the color of the ink, so I start with tiny little amounts. I'm using this white plastic spoon so that it's easy to see just how small of an amount I'm going to use. I'm going to add that into this little dish, and stir that around. It'll take a minute for that iron powder to dissolve. You can see it's already looking a little darker than that original color, but let's test it out with some paper. An interesting thing about ink that has been modified with iron is how the color changes as it dries. With other mediums, color usually looks darker when it's wet and lightens as it dries, but with this type of ink, the iron and tannin combination reacts with oxygen in the air. As it reacts or oxidizes, the color gets darker. You can see this change happen right before your eyes as your ink dries. So you can see just that tiniest bit of iron powder made a much darker brown color. For this third little dish, I'm going to add about twice as much iron as I did before, still just a really small amount. It's always better to add a little bit because you can add more later, but if you make your ink too dark to begin with, there's really nothing you can do to lighten it back up again. So this third one is not looking like it's much darker than the second, but I'm going to let this dry fully and continue oxidizing and see what color develops. It's always good to let it dry before you go back and add more iron, because it might just need some more time for that color to develop. This last one has not fully dried, but it is dry enough that it's fully oxidized and you can see how much darker it is than this middle one. I think the black speckles in this middle brown ink are because I didn't stir it enough to let the iron powder fully dissolve, so you're seeing the little bits of iron that were left hole and the ink when I painted it onto the paper. The gray colors that iron creates are different with every base color. Even though all the materials I've shown create ink that looks brown, the exact components of these colors are all a little different and iron brings out different hues. Some maybe gray green, others very dark brown, and sometimes you might even find that your iron modified inks have a hint of purple. It's all the beauty of nature. Adding iron powder to your ink can feel a bit like a magical process. It's so fun to watch the darker colors develop. Do remember to add just a tiny bit at a time because you can always make it darker, but you can't remove iron to make it lighter. Iron is also a little corrosive. Over time, if your ink is very high in iron, it can harm the paper that you use or corrodes a metal calligraphy pen if you're using it with that. So just add what you need and you will make some beautiful colors with your ink. You can of course use the ink just as it is. So you can see it looks really beautiful on paper, just using a paintbrush, but in the next lesson, I will show you how you can add a binder to it to make it a little shinier and work well with a calligraphy pen. 8. Adding a Binder: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I will share with you a couple of optional additions to your ink. The first is a binder and I'm going to be using gum arabic. A binder is something that you can add to ink that helps thicken it just a little bit. It can make it a little shinier and help it adhere to the paper. Binders are especially useful if you would like to use your ink to write or draw using a dip pen. It helps the ink flow a little nicer off of the tip of a pen. I will also share with you a natural preservative that you can add to your ink and let you know how to store it so that you can use your beautiful ink for a long time to come. I'm using gum arabic as a binder because it's pretty easy to find an art stores. Gum arabic has resin from the acacia tree and the most common forms to find it in are liquid and a powder. The liquid form is usually a little more expensive, but it's easier to use. If you have a powder, you can easily turn it into a liquid form and I'll show you how I do it. It needs to be mixed with water and because it's tree resin, it's pretty sticky and does not dissolve very easily, so I use hot water. My ratio is to use one part of gum arabic to two parts of water. That means I just put in one tablespoon of gum arabic powder, and I will add two tablespoons of hot water. It doesn't dissolve very easily. Stir it around. It always clumps up a little bit or a lot. Keep stirring until you get out as many of the clumps as you can. Sometimes I find this is easiest to let it sit for an hour or two to let the gum arabic completely dissolve. You can do this far in advance of when you'll need it for making ink, just put a tight-fitting lid on it and store it until you are ready to use it. Whether you use the purchase liquid gum arabic or have mixture powder into hot water, adding it to your ink works the same way. There is no exact amount to add to your ink and it only takes a little bit to make a difference. I only have about one ounce of ink and this little dish, so I'm going to start by adding just a few drops of this gum arabic liquid. Adding a little bit of gum arabic won't thicken it noticeably, but it will affect how it holds onto a pen or a paintbrush. I'm going to use this calligraphy dip pen. You can see it has this little hole in the middle and that's the reservoir that holds the ink, and then the ink travels down the tip onto the paper. This little bit of gum arabic will help that and hold together and form a larger bead of ink here on the pen. That means I will have to dip it in the ink fewer times to make marks on paper. Let's see how this works. You can see the effect that gum arabic makes when using ink with a dip pen. Here on the top are all of the marks that I could make with ink that I added the gum arabic to. This was all with one dip of the pen. Down here is ink that I had not yet added gum arabic to. You can see that I made far fewer marks on the paper before I had to dip my pen again to reload it with ink. If you're going to do a lot of writing with your ink, then think about adding gum arabic to make it a little easier. Add more binder if you find you're having to dip your pen very often or more plain ink to thin it out if it seems to be staying on your nib and not flowing well. When you're not using your botanical ink, you'll want to store it in a jar or a bottle that has a secure lid. Left out at room temperature as it is, botanical ink can grow mold. That's actually not a terribly big deal because you can scoop off the mold, or carefully pour it off and the ink below will be just fine. But if you're anything like me, you probably don't want moldy things in your house. Simply storing it in the refrigerator will extend its lifetime and you'll be able to use it for a long time to come. Just be sure that you label it clearly so that no one in your household mistakes it for food. You can also add a natural preservative to inhibit mold growth. Clove oil works really well and it only takes a drop or two to keep your ink nice and fresh. Now that's your ink is already to use and do you know how to store it when you are finished using it. Let's go to the next lesson where I will share with you some ways to make marks on paper and create different designs so you can learn and play and see how your ink works. 9. Play Time! Using Your Ink: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I'll show you a few different ways to use your handmade botanical ink. This is all about having fun and playing, to see how the colors interact with each other and what kind of designs and patterns that you can make with your ink. Grab some paper, paint brushes, pens, anything you have to make some marks on paper, and let's have some fun. The first thing I do when using my ink is to pour a small amount of each color I'll be using into a little dish or a jar. This way I won't accidentally contaminate my larger bottles in case my brushes or pens contain other pigments. Can even get these really tiny jars that are perfect for using with a calligraphy pen. Writing is certainly not the only thing that you can do with your botanical ink, but writing is what people think of most often when they hear the word ink. So let's just start with that. You can use a paintbrush as a writing tool, but a dip pen is the easiest tool to use for writing because that's what it's made for. I'm not going to go into much depth about using a dip pen because hand lettering is not my expertise. But the basics are pretty easy. The metal part at the end of the pen is called a nib and it has a hole in the center. Dip your pen into the ink until it just covers your nib. That hole in it helps the ink collect and stay on the nib and then it is pulled down to the tip as you draw it along the paper. If you have a dip pen, play around with it, making marks to see how the ink behaves. As I mentioned in the previous lesson, add more binder if you find you're having to dip your pen very often or more plain ink to thin it out if it seems to be staying on your nib and not flowing well. If you want to write a letter with your ink, this is the best tool to use. But even if you don't want to do any writing, it can still be really fun to make abstract designs and geometric patterns with the fine tip of pens like this. [MUSIC] Ink behaves in a similar way to watercolor paint, but there are some notable differences. Like watercolor, the colors will spread and bleed into each other if painted next to each other when they're still wet. This can create some interesting designs and blending of colors. You can create beautiful patterns with your botanical ink if you just go with the flow, so to speak, and let wet ink mix, right on your paper. [MUSIC] Many watercolors can be lifted off of the paper, kind of like erasing by gently brushing them with a clean, damp brush. Botanical inks tend to be more permanent than watercolor, especially those with added iron. It's how we still have so many historic documents today. Because of this, they may not lift off of paper as easily as watercolor does. Take care that your ink goes only where you want it to. Another way botanical ink behaves in a similar way to watercolor, is that darker colors can be built up by layering. I like to do this on small pieces of watercolor paper that I can then use these tags on my ink bottles so that I can see what color each one makes. Start by painting a layer of ink and let it dry completely. Paint another layer over just two-thirds of the area, and let it dry again. Then paint the bottom third and you have a nice sample of the range of shades that just one ink can produce. When layering color, botanical ink often dries with dark lines along the edges. Sometimes like in this piece, it can add a nice effect. But there might be times that you want layers of color to blend a little more smoothly. Here's a circle that I've painted and I added some darker ink to the left and bottom sides to give it a three-dimensional look. The darker shading has dried with a strong edge, and I'll show you how I make it look a little softer. Using a damp brush, I gently paint along the edge of the dark area. This re-wets the ink, and spreads it out a little. You can see once it's dry that this softens the edge a bit. But botanical ink typically does not blend as smoothly as watercolor paint, and you can still see defined areas of different colors on this sphere. A fun watercolor technique that works really well with botanical ink is to paint using the wet-on-wet method. For this technique, you first paint an area with plain water. It can be hard to see on the paper, but it should look a little shiny when it's wet. The water acts as a conduit for the ink to move and spread when I simply touch it with a brush full of ink. This can lead to interesting patterns and is also a way that you can allow colors to blend in organic ways on the paper. There are infinite ways to make marks on paper with your ink, and I love using non-conventional tools. One of my favorite ways to make abstract designs is to use a spoon, by gently tipping it just enough that the ink touches the paper. Simply drawing it across the paper leaves behind a ribbon of ink. Overlapping lines of different colors causes the ink to swirl and blend in those places. A dropper is another fun tool to use, especially if you want to create some classic ink spots on your paper. Lastly, since this ink is made from nature, I think it's pretty fun to use natural materials as tools. A simple stick works well to make lines, but experiment with flowers, feathers, and other found objects to make marks of all different shapes. The more you use your ink, the more you will discover how it acts and what makes it uniquely beautiful. Now that you have played around with your botanical inks and you know how they behave, join me in the next lesson where I will show you how to paint a simple landscape using the colors you have just created. 10. Paint a Landscape: [MUSIC] In this lesson I will show you how to create a beautiful and simple landscape painting with your new ink. Even if you have no experience painting trust me, you can do this. It's very simple. Here's an example of the landscape scene I will show you how to paint using your botanical ink. Objects in the distance appear lighter to us than those in the foreground, so we will layer the mountain ridges from lightest to darkest to create this look. Even if you were using one single color of ink, you can still create a painting like this. Here's an example of using one color of ink made from acorns. The darker colors that you see towards the bottom are created by building up layers of the same color. The effect is a little more subtle than the other I just showed you, but it's still really beautiful and effective. Here is a little swatch that shows the three colors of ink that I made. I like to have a very light layer to be this mountain ridge farthest in the distance. To create that one, I took a little bit of the plane ink from oak galls and put it in a separate dish and I added just a little bit of water to it. This made it lighter, and I'm going to use this one for the first layer. For the first layer use your lightest color, and starting about 1/4 of the way down your paper just make some mountain tops. You can do two or three, really any shape or design you feel like. I'm going to leave a little border along my paper. Once you have the tops of your ridge line to find, go ahead and fill in the area below. You don't have to go all the way down to the entire bottom of your paper because we are going to add other layers onto there. [MUSIC] One important thing to know about painting this is that it's really important to let this layer dry completely before adding the next one. If I were to come in and add a darker color right now it would spread and bleed into all of this wet area, and I would not get these clearly defined lines between the layers. If you are a little bit impatient like I'm often you can use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process, but however you do it make sure it's dry completely. I'm going to leave this alone and come back and show you the second layer when it's dry. Now that my first layer is completely dry, I'm going to come in with the second color and make a new ridge line a little distance down from the first. In addition to appearing darker as things get closer you can also see more definition in ridge lines that are closer to us than in those farther away., so I'm going to add a few little marks to indicate some trees or rock formations. Just a few, and the same as before and I fill in below this ridge line. This time I'm going to go all the way to the bottom of my paper. This will make some nice layers as we add the other two colors. [MUSIC] Just like before, I let this dry completely. Not every layer of color has to start completely below the one that you did before it. In this example, this third color I started it above the last ones to give a different look to the way that they overlap each other. [MUSIC] This time instead of making a smooth top of the ridge line, I'm going to make some little jagged edges just to give the illusion of tree tops and rock formations like I did a little bit in the previous layer, but I'm going to do even more on this one since this in ridge line is closer to us than the last. [MUSIC] Don't worry about covering it completely or if any little air bubbles appear in your painting. This is going to make it really look like a landscape in the end with these different shades of color as it dries. This is the layer closest in the foreground and would have the most detail visible to you if you were looking at a ridge line in real-life. I like to add a lot of tree top texture detail to this layer. This layer I like to just put the paint on in a little more of a random way, leaving some lighter areas showing through. This makes an interesting texture for this closest layer. If you have a paint brush with a finer point, you can use that to create even more detailed lines on the top of this closest ridge line. [MUSIC] Here is my finished landscape all dry. Using just these four colors of natural botanical ink made a simple but beautiful piece of art. Every time I make one of these landscapes, it turns out differently. The layers interact in different ways or the color pools differently, and of course I can never paint the exact same shapes twice. It's just like the nature that it's inspired by, always changing but always beautiful. I'm so glad you joined me today to make beautiful botanical ink and paint a lovely landscape picture. I would love to see photos of the ink you've made and what you have created with it. You can share photos in the Project section here on Skillshare. Join me in the next and final lesson where I wrap up this class with some final thoughts about botanical ink, and also share some inspiration on how you can incorporate it more fully into your creative life. 11. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Congratulations on making beautiful botanical ink and making some lovely art with it. I'm so glad you joined me on this journey to blend nature and art. You've learned how to select natural materials that work well for making ink, how to extract color from them, as well as how to modify your ink to create several beautiful shades of color. You know how to make your ink work well with a calligraphy pen by adding a binder and how to add a natural preservative and store your ink so that you can use it for a long time to come. I hope you have learned something new about plants and that you have come away with a deeper appreciation of all that nature has to offer. Ink is such a versatile art medium and there are many things that you can do with your botanical ink. Now that you know how to paint a simple landscape, try painting some that have a little more detail. Any instructions or tutorials that you find about monochromatic watercolor painting can also be applied to using botanical inks. Ink can also be used to make beautiful line drawings. I think it's really fun to sketch botanical materials using the ink that I make from them. Botanical ink can also be incorporated into mixed media art in really beautiful ways. It works really nicely when used alongside watercolor paints and drawings made with a white gel pen stand out really nicely against a background of dark botanical ink. When you're making ink, don't throw out the coffee filters that you used to strain it. Coffee filters are paper and I don't have to tell you how versatile paper is when making art. Torn into pieces they make gorgeous collages that can be displayed as is or used as a background from more complex art piece. I also like to make little envelopes from a single coffee filter. It's the perfect size to hold a small handwritten note. And lastly, if you've watched my bundle die class, many of the natural dye materials that I show you there also make colorful inks. Take a look and have fun experimenting with nature. The next time you go out for a walk, gather some natural materials and see what colors you get from it. I would love to see the ink and the art that you make, even if it's just swirls of color on paper. You can share photos on the project section here on Skillshare or tag me in a post on Instagram where my username is cedardellforestfarm. If you have enjoyed this class, I would love for you to leave a review, and before you go, follow me here on Skillshare so that you will be notified when I publish new courses. I'm already planning a follow-up to this one that builds on the skills you've learned today to create a different unique color palette of botanical inks. I hope that you have loved learning how to incorporate nature into your creative life, and thank you so much for joining me.