PAINTING AND LETTERING WITH BLACK SUMI INK

Black sumi ink is an amazingly versatile medium. They are quite popular with calligraphy artists currently. But they can be used for beautiful monochromatic paintings and brush lettering. I’ve covered both the topics and some techniques that go well with it in today’s post.

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

Before I begin, I want to  quickly mention that I’m not going to talk specifically about sumi painting or chinese painting here. This post will go into different techniques using sumi ink as a material in art. Some of these techniques may not be mainstream or traditional. They’re just different experiments that as an artist, I took the freedom to try.  Also the brush and paper used in chinese painting are different from the ones mentioned above.

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Materials required:-

  1. Black sumi ink- I love Yasutomo liquid sumi ink
  2. Printer paper – for practice or watercolor paper for final work.
  3. watercolor brushes- I like Silver black velvet brushes, sennelier watercolor brush(comes with their watercolor set) or water brushes.


 

1.PAINTING WITH SUMI INK

1.1 Straight from the bottle

As the name suggests, the ink has not been diluted with water at all. All you need is a tiny drop and it will go a long way. Of course, chances are that it may dry up in a few hours. But moistening it with very little water will not alter the “blackness”. In the image below, you’ll see how black and luscious the leaves look. The paint dries matte and it does not lose any of its dark properties once dry.

 

Painting and lettering techniques with black ink- Inkstruck Studio

1.2 Diluting with water

In this technique, all you need to do is dilute the sumi ink with enough water so that it turns from an opaque black to a grayish shade. It takes about 3 to 4 drops of water to make a tiny amount of sumi ink gray. Experiment on another paper before painting on your finished artwork. These are great for subtle background areas, leaves etc. In the image below, you’ll notice how soft and subtle it is as compared to the previous technique.

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

1.3 Diluting ink on paper

This technique is sort of combining the previous techniques in a different way. Lay down a leaf using sumi ink straight from the bottle. Rinse off your brush and use the existing sumi ink for the rest of the painting. You’ll notice some light, some medium and some very dark areas. This creates interest because every element is slightly different in opacity.

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

1.4 Drop ink on water

This is by far my favorite technique. The unexpected results make it so much more special. This is quite similar to how wet on wet technique works in watercolors but since ink travels faster, the results are more pronounced.

First paint a leaf with water only. I used the water from my rinsing cup, hence the slight tint of gray. You need to be quick after this because you don’t want the water to dry up.

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

Drop ink at random places on the leaf. At points where there is more water, the ink travels fast. The next series of images show just how that happens. The third image below shows the ink travelling the fastest. And see the beautiful blooms that’s created? Gorgeous effect with no effort.

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

You can create a single mountain with this technique….

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

Or a series of them. I’m enamored with the effect that’s created. Don’t you think it’s fascinating?

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

2.LETTERING WITH SUMI INK

The same sumi ink techniques are going to be applied for brush lettering.  Nonetheless, I’ve cited some examples for these as well. As a general rule with all things calligraphy and lettering, your upstrokes need to be thin and downstrokes thick. Please refer to more details on that in my calligraphy basics post.

2.1 Straight from the bottle.

Again, undiluted sumi ink is used for brush lettering here. I used my Sennelier no.3 round brush here. Any brush that forms a sharp point will do. Alternately water brushes are good too.

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

2.2 Diluted with water

This is the technique I love most in lettering. Maybe because I love gray. Follow the same technique as explained about in painting.

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

2.3 Diluting ink on paper

I only wrote the first two letters with undiluted ink. The rest of it done with the same ink and water.

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

2.4 Drop ink on water

Write down your letters with clear water and drop ink at random places.

Painting and lettering techniques with sumi ink- Inkstruck Studio

And that’s working with sumi ink in a nutshell. I hope you guys have a go at using these techniques.

What do you think?

What do you think of sumi ink as a medium in painting? Which one is your favorite technique among the lot? Also, don’t forget to tag with #makeinkstruck on Instagram if you have the chance to go creative with sumi ink.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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About zakkiya hamza @ inkstruck

Zakkiya is the creative blogger and founder of Inkstruck Studio. She’s a self taught artist who let go of her architecture profession to pursue her passion in art. Zakkiya likes to write detailed tutorials in watercolor, calligraphy, and hand lettering. She also teaches watercolor workshops occasionally in Doha where she’s based currently. Other passions include traveling, photography, and basketball.When she’s not working, you can find her cuddling and running around with her toddler boy.

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