The Most Common Mistake
Let’s get straight to it: when working with alcohol inks there’s a mistake you’ll only make once: accidentally screwing the wrong top to an ink bottle. It’s not really something you’ll want to do when closing a ketchup bottle, but it’s really not something you’ll want to do with inks! I made that mistake once when I closed my raspberry ink with the wild plum top. The result? The whole nozzle was stained dark and the ink came out marbled. This isn’t too bad with two colours as similar as raspberry and plum. But if you mix a light pink and a dark blue…? You might mess up a perfectly good ink!
So how to avoid this?
What I did was take a white acrylic pen and colour the tip at the top of the bottle cap. You could also use acrylic paint from a tube and just dab it on with a paint brush (probably white correction fluid would work too). After waiting long enough for it to dry, I coloured each cap with one drop (two for very bright colours) of each corresponding ink. Et voilà! You can tell which cap goes where.
Well, almost. Unfortunately some colours really look alike, e.g. Bottle and Stream or Cranberry and Currant.
What I do next is I look at my handy chart. You’ll find a blank one with all Ranger Inks for your personal use here (best printed on card stock or other thick paper). I usually hang it on the wall in front of my work table and check in which order the colours I’ll use are. I then unscrew the tops and set them aside in the order the chart reads. That way I can close them later quickly without thinking.
I also make sure to stand my inks on a flat surface while working, if my table is particularly messy (i.e. covered in layers of acrylic paint and paper…). Sometimes I use the sleeve of a vinyl record I have waiting to be poured on, or the top of the container I keep some inks in. You could also use an old cutting board, a canvas you no longer can use, a tile… Anything that’s flat really. I noticed that the bottles topple over and spill easily otherwise. And who needs that!?