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The Sound of One Hand: Reaching Beyond the limits of Traditional Ink Painting

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

5 Kinds of Ink Stick

Color Ink Sticks

You have decided that the meditation and grinding process before starting a sumi-e painting to center your mind is for you. OK, now you ask yourself, "What kind of ink stick should I use?" I have grappled with this issue and did some research to try and gain some knowledge on this subject. I pleased to share here with you what I found. Here are 5 kinds of ink stick.

The above color ink sticks are very beautiful.  Chinese ink sticks have been used for thousands of years to create ink for calligraphy and watercolor paintings. This Chinese calligraphy ink stick set includes fifteen ink sticks. Each one features an image of a Dragon. Significant since we are currently in the year of the dragon. These sticks may be used for writing calligraphy or watercolor painting. To create ink using one of these ink sticks simply add a little water to an ink stone and rub the ink stick on the bottom until the desired amount of pigment is released.This adds bits of color to your composition and these are very fun to use.

Shanghai Premium Ink Stick


This ink stick is made from coal oil creating a shiny brown-black finish that is smooth. It's highly regarded as one of China's finest quality in ink sticks. It has markings of "101" on the side of the stick to differentiate it from others. Expensive at about $30 US

Oil Ink Stick


Made with coal oil, this ink comes close to the standards set by the Shanghai Premium 101 Ink Stick, without the hefty price tag. Price is about $10 US

Yellow Mountain Pine Smoke Ink Stick


This ink stick is made from pine soot creating a matte blue-black finish that is gritty in texture. Some artists use this ink for bird feathers to show a subtle variance from the intense line work of the beak and other outlines. Price is about $10 US for small stick and about $25 US for large stick.

 Premium Blue-Black Ink Stick


This ink stick produces a matte, gritty texture blue-black tone finish ink. Expensive: about $30 US. This ink stick is my personal favorite. I can get rich deep tones and light soft grey tones using this ink stick. I also like the gritty texture it produces.

Whatever ink stick you decide to use, do not forget to find the right grinding stone or slate for you. These stones will enhance your experience so choose your stone carefully..

 Collectors Slate "Plum Blossom"

This slate is a 'rare and one of a kind' grinding stone. Multi-colored mineral deposits each become fine plum blossoms on a grand and glorious plum tree, embracing the well.

Director North American Branch of ICCPS
International Chinese Calligraphy and Ink Painting Society

国際中国書法国画家協会アメリカ支部:Ms. Casey Shannon アメリカ現代水墨画家

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