ft I love my distress inks! I bought the 2010 release colours as a set, but don't have any of the vintage shades (major oversight on my behalf!). I saw them being demonstrated at my local craft show.
There are heaps of techniques - some great videos on YouTube. You can use the ink blending tool to cover a large area or a dauber to work on a smaller area. The tip is to use a circular motion on a non-stick craft sheet or similar and gradually move onto your project - this prevents the shape of the blending tool being stamped onto your project.
You can also crumple up the paper, swipe the ink pad directly onto the raised ridges, then squirt with water using a mini mister before ironing with a craft iron. This also works with dry embossed cardstock.
There are heaps more options - I would suggest searching on YouTube - ranger have their own site and so does Tim Holtz. Hope this helps!