Help identifying acrylic/watercolour/ink

  • Hey guys,

    So I'm really in love with Ralph Steadman's ever-so-slightly more controlled works, found in books such as I, Leonardo and Still Life with Bottle. They're so beautiful to me and far more captivating than his crazy stuff with Hunter S. Thompson. I'll put some examples down here to accompany the message. Anyways, I was wondering if you could identify what he's using to paint? I can see that he's probably using a dip pen with different coloured inks for the linework. But I struggle to paint with such smooth consistency and control with coloured ink and watercolour, with the former especially leaving loads of streaks. I'm wondering if you think he's manipulating acrylics with loads of water/thinner/gesso to work as nice soft washes like watercolour but also getting that boldness of colour from acrylic? It's very hard to pin down! Lastly, perhaps I'm being silly and he's just got supreme control and mastery of watercolour.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  • I love Steadman's work, couldn't be further from my own style but I think it's great! I remember reading an interview where he mentions using some kind of diffuser or airbrush to spray ink on the page to get the grainy effect you see in the background. Perhaps it's something similar to this?
    Other than that I'd assume you're probably right it's coloured ink or watercolour and maybe some acrylic? If I were you I'd try a master study of one of these. I'm sure it would teach you a lot!

  • @Brett I love Ralph Steadman! He's from my home city of Liverpool too. I know he uses mostly ink brushes with nibs. And gets the splats with a spray diffuser that you just pop in a pot of ink and gently blow it out through the mouthpiece. A manual airbrush for the more personal touch.