Sumie Girl

Just a quick write-up about this kawaii sketch I made using Japanese sumie ink on a page of leftover watercolor paint! It started off with my bottles of Dr. Ph. Martin’s liquid watercolor inks: One is the Hydrus series in Venetian Brown and the other the Radiant Concentrated Watercolor in Turquoise. As they are not cheap, they are sparingly used. I happened to end up with some leftover in my dish whilst working on another painting and decided to smear the rest on a page from my Strathmore’s Visual Journal for Watercolors. Waste not want not!

Then for New Years, I scribbled “2022” on one of my other paintings about the Year of the Tiger with my Sumie ink. I once again ended up with some leftover ink in my palette and wanted to use that up too! And what is so special about Sumie Ink? Originating in China and also common in Japan for centuries, this ink is derived from the soot of pinewood (or even burnt lamp oil). It usually comes in stick form and is rubbed on a tray with a bit of water to produce the ink. However, for convenience (and laziness on my part) I just go for the ready-made liquid form for my work!

And here comes the sketch. I took my Japanese watercolor brush, dipped it in the leftover Sumie Ink and directly drew my Little One. This time, I dared myself to to skip the pencil and eraser step. Just directly went for it! I remember how everything flowed so smoothly. Perhaps it was because I was relaxed and wasn’t that worried about the result. The shapes, the strokes and the ink consistency turned out how I liked. No need to go over the lines as I normally end up doing. It’s not often that this happens! And what next? I prefered to leave the painting as is; no coloring her in and keep the background intact, even including the white space between the blue and brown. All I want is to focus on the Sumie sketch. And seeing how proud I am of this first attempt at Sumie sketching, I thought I’d share here!

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