A Beginner's Guide to Sumi-e (9784805316306)

Current Stock:
Tuttle Publishing
Date Published:
11 techniques and 19 projects explained over 275 color photos and 335 drawings; Free online video tutorials
Number of Pages:
Trim Size:
8 1/2 X 11

This practical guide is perfect for those looking to try this ancient art form for the first time!

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.

About the Author:
Shozo Koike was fascinated by Impressionist oil painting as a child and won first prize in a national scholastic competition in Japan. He attended Taiheiyo Academy of Fine Arts in Tokyo where he majored in painting, then moved to Italy and received a degree from the Palazzo Spinelli Institute for Art and Restoration in Florence. Koike's work has been exhibited in Italy and Japan, including solo shows at the Hina Gallery in Nishinomiya, the Daimaru Art Salon in Osaka, the Akane Gallery in Tokyo and La Galliavola in Milan. He now lives near Turin, in Piedmont, where he paints and teaches Japanese ink painting (sumie), offering courses and workshops. He is the founder of the Yamato Cultural Association dedicated to spreading knowledge about Japanese culture.