Chrysanthemum Sumi-e

Chrysanthemum - 菊 -

Chrysanthemum, wow we call it ‘Kiku’. Too long word to remember in English 🙂

Anyway, the chrysanthemum recalls me of the funeral. At the funeral, the photo of the dead is displayed surrounded with lots of small yellow chrysanthemum.

The word for ‘kiiku’, chrysanthemum in Japan, was used for the name(both boys and girls ) until seventy or eighty year’s ago(the grand father age). There is a Kitano’s film called ‘KIKU-jiro no Natsu’, the summer of KIKU-jiro. Jiro is often used for the second sun’s name.

So, what I want to say here, the chrysanthemum is not pop or cute flower which you might not choose ones for the girlfriend’s birthday gift.


1. Petal :

  • Light ink with small squared the tip  of the hair of the brush(fude-saki). You squeeze fudesaki after dipping the ink.
  • The squared fudesaki depict the round tip of the petal.
  • Draw the center part of the flower. This part of the flower still like a bud, so the drawing stroke must be  short and hard touch. It has little curving and sweeping at the last part of stroke.
  • You take a half breath at the first touch of fudesaki on the paper. That moment gives the round shape of the petal tip and more importantly the blacker color of the tip.
  • Eight strokes for the center part.

2. Surrounding petals :

  • Petals around the center are longer and winding.
  • The shape of fudesaki is the same as well.
  • Every stroke must be toward the center. Think the real petals are connected at the center and each petal grow from the one point.

3. Leaves :

  • Almost the same as asagao leaves drawing.
  • One leaf is depicted by eight strokes. Top left, middle left, the bottom, the middle right, then top right.  Two for each small part of leaves.
  • The bottom part ; You bring the body of the brush (jiku) down toward yourself at the last move of the stroke. At that time,  the body part of fude hair must touch on the paper. You pull fude up, then the round shape will show up. That is the tip of the leaf. Use fude as a stamp.
  • Wash fude.
  • Bend the fude hair on the cloth.
  • Put the very black ink on the ink stone on the behind of the bent fuse hair.
  • Then, draw the thin vein line on the leaf.
  • The line won’t show up until the ink becomes dry.
  • Draw lighter black leaves behind very black one.  Remember, draw black one first.


  • Wash fude and bend the fude hair on the cloth.
  • Put the very black ink on the ink stone.
  • Draw stem lines. 

Enjoy 🙂

Cosmos Sumi-e Drawing

Cosmos 秋桜

Some might think cosmoses are pretty slightly flower because we see them dancing in the Autumn wind.

But if you see carefully, you notice cosmos has thick petal. So, when you draw cosmos, you have to have heavy touch on petal part, and soft and thin touch on the stem.

Tips :

1. Petal

  • Heavy black ink.
  • Fork the tip of the hair so that you can depict the divided top of the cosmos petal. To folk it, squeeze, or press only the tip after putting the ink.You can give two strokes for one petal.
  • Shape the tip square. (Remember, you always must have good shape of the brush hair before starting to draw)
  • Drawing direction : Top to the center. Use only the tip part of the hair. You start to draw at the very light touch and keep lightly while moving.
  • At the end of stroke, you pull the brush up little to express the petal end edge shape, which is the connection part with each petal and stamen(the body of the flower).
  • Eight petals in one set. Top two petals first, then the both side of the top and the bottom. The length of the bottom petals are shorter than the top ones. You can accent the length depend on which side the flower face turns in.
  • The flower face direction is important to give your drawing the sense of the flow.
  • Don’t refill ink during the petal drawing. One supply for one set of the flower. You can get good gradation in the one set of the flower.

2. Stamen

  • Need the very black ink. Bend the brush hair. The same shape as the line drawing.
  • Then, just point on the paper, making circle.

3. Stem and leaves

  • Light black ink. Bending hair shape.
  • Both the stem and leaves of the cosmos are so slim.
  • You don’t need to be careful about stem and leaves.

Enjoy 🙂

Plum in Sumi-e, drawing technique

Hi, there.

We are having great blooming days. Plum is my favorite 😀

Painting Tips:

Drawing in order: To depict the strength of each of stamen, it is good idea to draw the stamen first. Then petal is followed.   

Stamen: Plum has strong straight stamen. Most of those are longer than the petal. That’s the symbol of plum and differentiate plum from cherry blossom. If you draw stamen very softly, people would think it of cherry 🙂

Petal: Plum petal is small in real. I draw little bigger than what it is. Five pieces of petal are in a package. 

Branch: Flower roots directly on the branch.

Complete one


Plum on pot in the Metropolitan museum in NYC

Plum pot in Metropolitan museum


Hi, we have lots of hydrangea here in Tokyo, Kakigara town. This area is the old town where you can feel the five decades ago atomasphere. Few young girls but lost of active old ladies dominates 😀

So, I think neighbors have so kind mind that they enjoy us by gardening flowers on roads. In the Western world, you use ‘street’ as the name of your living area, which we don’t. We use just Kakigara town, or Ningyo town.. so we don’t have the name for the small roads for the residence area. I get across the small road, it is Ningyo town. Anyone knows what Ningyo means?? It means ‘doll’. Cool, isn’t it? In Edo era (1603- 1868,

Shogun era :D), lots of doll maidter lived in this area, that is named after. Kaikgara means ‘shell’. I guess it used to be the fisherman’s warf in Edo..

anyway, I am enjoying hydrangea all over the town in June. The image of hydrangea is directly connected to rain, umbrella, or snail.


I try a line drawing this time. What I want to depict is the hydrangea in the soft vague humidity. It has been raining, that rain streak is very thin like silk. Imagin the purple hydrangea is popping up over the road beyond the silk rain.

First, put water and very little sumi ink into the brush, and just pain as you want.

Setal: It is sepal that you might think of petal, four squared purple coloured. Draw with thin and thick line to express the setal’s twisting

Petal: Petal of hydrangea is tiny, located at the center of the four petal. Usually you will miss to see. Just point with the top of the brush hair to depict the petal. Be careful putting too much petals. The location of petal (or small black dot) indicates to the viewers where the flower is and which direction it faces.

Leaves: Four leaves support the flower. Each leave has right angle to the neighbor leaf -> I mean leaves shape like cross when you see them from the up. The leave is knd of

thick. Draw the thick line for the leave, compared with the setal.

Frogs: Use very black sumi ink

Eyes and mouth: Just two dots and mountain shape line

Legs: It would be better that you draw from the top for the finger. Put the brush on the paper and take one breath, you would get the little round shape which should look like frog suckers.

Take care 🙂

Lotus Sumi-e Paiting

Hi, there,

.Have you seen lotus before??

The lotus is really huge and elegant flower. It is tall and its leaves are big as well.
is until the first of August that the lotus bloom on the surface. There
are lotus full over the water on the lake in Ueno, Tokyo.
Most of
the lotus sumi-e drawing is depicted by the line. but I wanted to draw
this flower’s meteculaous shading with one stroke. work well??


the petal is reall big and round deep. You need to depict it with the ratio of front part and back part.

The pistil part would be better drawn the most black. and hairs surrounded.
here’s what I saw in the summer: