BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO SUMI-E: LEARN JAPANESE INK PAINTING

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In this book, Japanese master artist Shozo Koike reveals the simple secrets of Sumi-e, offering step-by-step instructions with clear photographs and online video tutorials showing you how to paint 19 traditional subjects.

Sumi-e is the meditative Japanese form of ink painting taught by Zen Buddhist monks to encourage mindfulness and an awareness of our surroundings. It uses only ink, water, a brush and paper to capture natural objects and landscapes in a vivid, spontaneous fashion.

Koike begins with the basics—what to buy and how to prepare the ink in a traditional inkstone. Next, he shows you how to practice the 11 basic brushstrokes used for all Sumi-e paintings.

The 19 traditional subjects taught in this book include:

  • Flowers like orchids, chrysanthemums, camellias, roses and peonies
  • Plants and fruits including bamboo, eggplants, grapes and chestnuts
  • Animal figures including small birds, butterflies, chicks, crabs and goldfish


Koike also explains the philosophy of Sumi-e, which emerges from the use of negative white space to enhance the painted forms. Readers will enter into a world not just of black and white, but of infinite shades of gray which are capable of evoking all the sensations of color using these techniques.