Japanese Art Experiment

I recently experimented on a new painting style (new for me!)… I tried to reproduce a Japanese painting, finding inspiration in Ito Jakuchu’s painting “Tiger” and adding some other Japanese elements including Japanese writing (apologies for all the Japanese-speakers out there: I have no clue how to write / speak Japanese so I simply copied some characters I liked, trusting the website’s translation). Here’s the original painting by Ito Jakuchu:


The first phase was about learning how to use black ink. Thanks to YouTube, I followed the amazing 3-part course by Anna, an Italian art teacher – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NutpxPq99RA. I highly recommend her course, although you will need to understand Italian to follow it! I was stunned by how quickly I learnt by following her clear directions and instructions. These were my first attempts:


I then decided I would start off by drawing the contours of the main image by pencil:


Next, I used both traditional watercolours and water-soluble pencils (Caran d’Ache) to obtain a nice variety of yellow-brown nuances for the tiger.


Finally, I reached the stage of using the black ink for the first time! I was rather nervous, I must admit. I had spare paper with me and I was prepared to have to start the entire work all over again, being aware a little drop of ink could quickly ruin the entire picture. Happily, things went very well and I saved the painting when two drops came out rather heavily by using kitchen towel and then slighlty adapting the image to cover-up my little mistake. I don’t think it shows too much and I absolutely love the resultImage

Next I added some personal touches: I added a butterfly (again inspired by another Japanese painting, of which I cannot recall the name / author), a Japanese background with Mount Fuji (inspired by Hokusai) and Japanese characters (supposed to mean “Live, Laugh, Love”) . And here’s the final result:


I absolutely loved painting this and I hope you like it too! I can’t wait to experiment some more with ink which is definitely a new tool I’ll add to my painting instruments.

3 thoughts on “Japanese Art Experiment

    • Thanks! I’ve always painted – drawn but more so during my school years. Now it’s a pretty rare thing to be honest, but I love it when I do it and I should get back to it more often I guess. I have some pictures of another painting in progress I’ll put up soon! Any ideas for more ‘experimenting’ with art? 🙂

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