A Beginner’s Guide to Sumi-e: Learn Japanese Ink Painting from a Modern Master

Tuttle. Oct. 2021. 183p. ISBN 9784805316306. pap. $19.99. CRAFTS
Koike, a master artist, introduces the concepts and style of Sumi-e, a Japanese art form that uses a brush, ink, and water to produce intricate works that provide an impressionistic view of their subjects. The history of Sumi-e stretches back to tenth century China, and was introduced to Japan in the fourteenth century, where it flourished in Zen Buddhist monasteries. The supplies used in Sumi-e are fairly simple: brushes of various sizes, ink, which comes in a block that is ground with an ink stone by the artist and mixed with water to generate the desired tones, and paper made from natural fibers. Koike walks painters through basic ink preparation and brush technique, then applies these skills through a series of 19 projects that demonstrate the beauty of this nature-inspired art form. Each component of the projects is thoroughly diagrammed, with explanations of the individual brush strokes and descriptions of how they fit together to form a cohesive whole. Video tutorials enhance the overall experience, giving artists the opportunity to see the techniques in action.
VERDICT The level of depth and detail that can be created in Sumi-e paintings is astonishing, and Koike’s book is a master class from a noted expert.
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