Check here for basic how-tos, fun projects to do, and downloadable worksheets for teachers. I start here with the basics, but as you scroll down, you will find more complex things to make and do with inkblots.
How to Make a Basic Inkblot
You will need:
Paper (light-medium weight art paper, or computer printer paper)
India Ink (in a bottle with a dropper)
Water in a squeeze bottle (or apply with a brush or cotton swab)
Fold a piece of paper in half. Apply a dot or two of water, and a dot or two of ink.
Fold the paper, and apply pressure with the palm of your hand. Unfold.
What do you see?
Now What? Things to Do With Inkblots
Inkblots can help anyone neatly sidestep their logical brain to access their creative right brain right away. What one sees in an inkblot can be the impetus for a short story for creative writers, aid in character development for the budding playwright, provide a visual workout for a visual artist, or even the beginnings of a more developed painting. You can use inkblots to talk about positive and negative space, and symmetry. Below please find printable worksheets that introduce these ideas.
Drawing Into Inkblots
As soon as you make an inkblot, you will start seeing things in them–fantastic creatures, monsters, land and skyscapes, flowers and plants, people interacting. What if you drew around what you see in the inkblot and color it in?
If you don’t see anything at first, give yourself time. You can try looking at the ones you have made before going to sleep at night, and I bet you will see something in the morning!
You will need
A few inkblots
Colored pencils (such as Prismacolor)
Black gel pen (an acid free one, such as Pigma pens, PITT artists pens or Sarasa .07 pens)
Simply draw around what you see and color it in–really!
Here are some of my drawn-in-to inkblots. These are quite big, made on large sheets, 22″ x 30″ of Rives BFK paper, and most are drawn into with Prismacolor pencils. Yours don’t have to be this big. Check out the Subway Inkblot Blog for smaller drawn-in-to inkblots–more portable.
You can make inkblot butterflies, color into them with colored pencils, and collage them on a page or in a diorama. Prefold you paper, as instructed above, and apply ink on one half in a simple butterfly shape–one wing, perhaps with two lobes, a dot on each wing lobe, a quick line of ink for the body. Fold and unfold–a butterfly! Some will be more butterfly-like than others.
Check out the Spring-Summer issue of Kiki Magazine for my article on making inkblot butterflies, including tips for making a butterfly diorama and making fabric based butterfly brooches.
These inkblot beetles are drawings by E. A. Seguy. But if you could make inkblot beetles like you did butterflies, how would you do it?
You can cut them out and add gloss medium so your beetles can have glossy carapaces or wings.
Almost any inkblot can make a cool paper airplane. An inkblot that looks like a butterfly or fairy, an airplane or space cruiser, can be colored, cut out and folded in the traditional paper airplane fashion as above, with a three fold spine and ailerons for stability. You may have to add a paper clip on the “nose” to straighten out the flight pattern.
Make an inkblot on medium weight art paper, then cut it out. Color into it and add what details you want. Use the inkblot as a template to trace around to cut out pages out of computer printer weight paper. Punch two holes in the spine (the fold) of the book to thread a ribbon through and tie it in a bow.
The Inkblot Festival
We held a Festival of Inkblots on April 2nd here at Hudson View Gardens, sponsored by the Parents Group. I initially planned it as a promotional event for Inkblot: Drip, Splat and Squish Your Way to Creativity, but it turned into so much more.
There were five stations at which participants could create or think about inkblots:
Two plastic covered tables at which participants could make inkblots. We had about 70 people there, an needed to have two or three adults demonstrating, facilitating and cleaning the whole time.
Also, we had two plastic covered tables on which people could put their inkblots to dry while they did other activities.
Two tables with chairs where participants could draw into their inkblots with pens and colored pencils.
A table where two adults facilitated an Inkblot card game I made up using premade inkblots, and some of the “Silly Questions” from the book printed out onto card stock.
Also at this station was a magnet board with words and small inkblots attached to magnet tape that kids could use as nouns.
I made four display boards (by taping pieces of foam core together, purchased at Staples) illustrating Symmetry in Nature, Positive/ Negative Space, Artists Who Inkblot, and ways to manipulate the ink to make a butterfly blot, or a planet or a heart. The box you see above is a shadow box–a piece of art–that is filled with inkblot beetle specimens.
In an Easy-Up tent, like the kind you use for art fairs, I safety-pinned fabric to the sides and filled it with black tulle, a long inkblot “Milky Way”, inkblot planets and spaceships, and my friend Sue hung Christmas lights. It was pretty magical in a kind of low-rent way–but enough to inspire kids to make their own inkblot universes.
It was a wonderful, surprising day. Parents and their children made inkblots and drew into them, and I got many emails the next day telling me that the kids woke up and started drawing into the inkblots they had made at the festival. People stayed for the whole two hours–I thought they would wander in and out, but they stayed and made things.
I got two reams of student art paper from Dick Blick, as well as their student tempera paint. I used this rather than permanent India ink, and thinned it by about half.
If you would like to do this with your group, and have a question about it, please contact me!