Ink Painting Tutorial

Written by cece evans
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Ink Painting Tutorial
Example of an ink painting (ink stain image by Dmitri MIkitenko from

Painting with ink is a lot like painting with watercolour, in that artists dilute ink or pigment with water and then use a brush to apply diluted ink to a page. Ink painting can create a number of highly expressive marks on the page--the high contrasts created by black ink and white page have a stunning visual effect. It's also possible, however, to experiment with white ink and coloured paper, as well.

Ink is not forgiving of mistakes Once you lay down a mark it is pretty much there. There are a number of water-lifting techniques, but these cannot pick up all the ink once it's laid on the paper.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Watercolour paper (thick weight)
  • Flat wooden board
  • Staple gun
  • India or sumi ink
  • Palette
  • Brushes

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  1. 1

    Prepare the paper. If you just apply water straight off, the paper will buckle and warp after a bit. Dampen the paper and stretch it out on a flat wooden board. Staple the paper down along the edges.

  2. 2

    Pour a small amount of black ink on to the palette. Load your brush with water and mix the water with the ink. Start painting.

    If you make a mistake, it's possible to fix it to a certain extent. Grab a dry and clean brush and use it to lift the wet ink out of the area. Though some grey tones will be left, it'll be easier to hide. But don't get too upset by mistakes. You never know when a "mistake" will have an interesting effect.

  3. 3

    Experiment with methods of applying the ink. Try laying down undiluted ink before grabbing a fresh brush with lots of water and spreading the ink around. Also experiment with lifting techniques. You can pat an area down with a paper towel to create atmospheric effects. Some artists also like to press balled-up cling film to a wet and inked area. This creates a series of irregular triangles that can have an interesting effect.

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