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2D Art Projects

2D Art Projects

Ink Wash Project

Ink Wash is an elegant and beautiful art-making technique that allows an artist to create an almost limitless number of subtle shades of grey that dance with one another in a "ballet" of movement and rhythm. When combined with linear elements using a fine nib, a composition can spring to life in unexpected and very pleasing ways. Ink Wash can also be a surprising technique because it requires a tremendous amount of decision-making on the part of the artist and yet the final results can never be fully predicted.

There is a Zen-like quality to doing a good Ink Wash study: each stroke of the brush must be applied to the paper with purpose, courage and with understanding because once the ink touches the paper it cannot be undone. Stroke after stroke the artist adds many layers of information to the image until volumetric shapes coalesce into recognizable forms, but beware... there comes a point in every Ink Wash study when "enough is enough": one more stroke and the work will be ruined.

Examples of Student Works

Pen and Ink Wash Study Pen and Ink Wash Study Ink Wash Study Ink Wash Study Ink Wash Study Ink Wash Study Ink Wash Study Ink Wash Study Ink Wash Study

PROCEDURE: Using cups or plastic containers, mix a few drops of black, waterproof ink into a few ounces of water. Into a second container, mix a slightly greater amount of ink (e.g., six drops of ink instead of three) with a few ounces of water. Repeat this step a third time with an even greater amount of ink (e.g., twelve drops instead of six). You should also prepare a container that has a small amount of pure, undiluted ink in it and one large container that is filled with fresh water for rinsing your brush. Paper towels or rags should be kept nearby for mistakes that require blotting excessive solution off of the work and for cleaning your brush.

It's a good idea to begin by doing a few sketches; either in a sketch book with watercolour paper, or on a larger sheet of watercolour paper that has been divided into smaller sections. Use a hard pencil and lightly sketch a gesture of your still life. Dip your brush into the weakest wash. Begin your drawing by working the areas close to the highlights (the highlights themselves must be left alone because they will be represented by the whiteness of the paper). Lay down strokes in areas that contain the light values and work in a methodical way toward the darker values. The darkest areas of the still life will be the last values that you lay down. Linear elements can be added at any point using your fine, bowl-shaped nib with the undiluted ink or any of the washes that you've prepared.

TECHNICAL: Your drawing should depict a full range of values from white to black and many shades in between. This is easier to achieve if you proceed slowly and allow each layer to dry before adding more washes on top of them.

AESTHETIC: Be aware of Emphasis, Variety, Movement, Balance, Unity and Rhythm while you create your work.

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© 2016, Terry Reynoldson