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Indian Ink Drawing Techniques

Newly Added|22 Jul, 2014|Related Art Supplies|6 Comments|5 min 44 sec
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In this Indian ink drawing tutorial you will learn through a time lapse video accompanied by real time voice over narrative how to draw trees, grass and clouds using a variety of tips and techniques.

The first step is to get a large sheet of cold press watercolor paper which you can find online or in any decent arts and crafts store. This paper should be fully wetted with clean water using a large brush before then being gum taped all the way around the edges. This enables the paper to dry flat, smooth and free from warping and creases and provides an excellent surface for you to commence with your Indian ink painting.

This artist explains how in this art tutorial he will be using the ink as a watercolor and offers you great advice on tools to use and techniques to apply to maximise your painting’s full potential. He uses Higgins black Indian ink throughout the demonstration and begins by using a large round sable brush to paint a light wash which is gray in appearance due to its dilution with water. This wash is applied liberally and sporadically and forms the basis of the high and low background clouds and allow the focal point, in this case being the tree, to come forward and stand more prominently within the painting.

As a general rule within watercolor painting the higher the clouds are then the darker they should be and vice versa for the lower and more faint clouds. The tree outline is loosely painted with a smaller round sable brush in a light gray again and is reworked with a fountain pen to allow greater detailing and definition to its edges and outlines. A stipple technique is used next when painting the leaves to create a sense of volume rather than meticulously trying to pick out individual leaves which is a sure fire way to over complicate and potential ruin a painting.

Once the cluster of leaves have been established you can then use the likes of a small round sable brush to softly blend creating further volume and a sense of depth bring the tree further to the foreground. At this point in the tutorial the artist regresses back to the clouds adding further adding more natural detailing with the ink to the clouds and surrounding areas to further emphasise the impression of realism. The grass mound where the tree is situated is painted using a sable fan brush but as with the leaves he uses a stippling technique to highlight and give the impression of certain areas rather than trying to tackle each individual blade of grass. It is because of the shape and style of this fan brush which makes this an invaluable tool for the type of ink painting.

Sable brushes are more valuable to use with inks than their counterpart synthetic versions due to their ability to hold in a lot more ink meaning less trips to ink pot and more concentration on the painting itself. This video is very thorough and ideal for the beginner inks and watercolor painter and harbours some great tips and techniques for you to further your paintings and learn how to use Indian ink.

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6 Comments

  1. Davo says:

    Absolutely brilliant!!

  2. hunting gear equipment says:

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  3. dkw12002 says:

    India ink , once dry, does not lift or smear if you rewet it, so you can then go back with more ink or watercolor. India ink with a light watercolor wash to me is one of the most pleasing combinations in art. Many famous artists used this technique for studies, but I find the studies as interesting as the final paintings often. The Western painter Charles Russell was a master of ink and watercolor and his work is worth seeing. The Chinese have used the technique for centuries, too.

  4. dkw12002 says:

    India ink , once dry, does not lift or smear if you rewet it, so you can then go back with more ink or watercolor. India ink with a light watercolor wash to me is one of the most pleasing combinations in art. Many famous artists used this technique for studies, but I find the studies as interesting as the final paintings often. The Western painter Charles Russell was a master of ink and watercolor and his work is worth seeing. The Chinese have used the technique for centuries, too.

  5. I Do use Windsor& Newton Watercolors, but I like Grumbacher watercolors better (Yes i know they are cheaper) but ther colors are better In my opinion. I only use higgins India Ink for sketches or studies because its cheap. If I want a finished piece in water media I will probably use watercolors or acrylic Inks. Furthermore if I want a black for a finished piece I mix my own black because black from the tube is too dull. Thanks for the advice, Ill be sure to give W&N gouache a try.

  6. If this works for you use it. “Recon” shows an economical alternative here.My advice: Quality black gouache and watercolor from Holbein or Windsor & Newton will produce better washes than India Inks such as this.Except for the exceptions. Higgins and other cheaper India inks have pigments of a type that will saturate paper quickly and disallow a very controlled wash. The grays produced are also very cold and lifeless the pigments aren’t really for use in light concentration.

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