「Sumi-e Drawing Video」カテゴリーアーカイブ

Saury Fish – Sumi-e

Saury, san-ma in Japanese, is one of Japanese favorite fish in autumn for dinner. It has a strong thin body and silver and blue colored. It is like sharpened swards. San-ma is depicted by three Chinese characters which means Autumn, sward, fish.

水墨画 秋刀魚 "Sanma"

Tips :

Eye and face :

Draw the eye first.
Make a brush for thin line drawing.
Then, draw the outline.

Back top :

Put the very black ink into the brush.
Then, draw a big and strong line from the point above the eye to the tail.
This line is the very important part of the saury drawing.

Fin :

Again, prepare your brush for the thin line drawing.
Add tail fin and other fin.

Back :

Put “no ink” into the brush. Your brush has only water here.
Then, hold the brush horizontally.
Lower the brush into the black line drew before.
Bring down the brush with keeping your brush horizontally.
Keep your brush position and bring it down.
So that you can get bleeding effect.


Make your brush for the thin line drawing.
Put the very black ink in the brush.
Then, just put down the brush on paper in order to stump the ink.

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 🙂

Waterfall Sumi-e


How to draw a waterfall in sumi-e technique

1. Rocks drawing

Outline with the thick line.  First, lighter black (and lots of water in the heir of the brush. ) is used.
Then, the black ink (with not much water) lined along with the lighter lines. This black line depicts the shadow.
So, you have to think of which way the sun light comes from to this water fall scenery.

2. Waterfalling drawing

Flat the hair of the brush. then draw the square stroke.
Remember, you always have to shape the brush good before start drawing. A good shape and carrying the appropriate volume of water deliver the great sumi-e panting.
In this case, waterfall is water so the brush is better to be moisturized more than usual.
The top of the waterfall must be the square shape because there would be thr river runs over there and the surface is flat.

3. The basin (water pool) of the waterfall

The blank of the water pool shows you there is spray of the water.

Enjoy 🙂

Three hour Sumi-e Basic Course Tokyo

Hi there, for some requests,
I build up a very basic hands-on private sumi-e course.
You don’t bring anything.
Just jump in this sumi ink smoky world 🙂

Price: 10,500 JPY –
All supply included (ink, paper, brushes)
Three hour course
Available from one person
English spoken (I will teach 🙂

Please feel free to contact Cognoscenti Japan by e-mail ( info@cognoscenti.jp ) . They will help you set up the time schedule.

Sumi-e Basic Course

Sumi-e is the simple minimalism way to depict the nature around.

With the black lines and the gradation of sumi ink on the white paper, you can relax and refresh with the deep breath.   
This three hour basic sumi-e course allows you to achieve the
sumi-e drawing technique and also the way of thinking of Japanese

1. Sumi-e Introduction (30 minuts)
Learn how to load the sumi ink into the brash hair appropriately
① Sumi Tsukuri
② Fude Tsukuri

2. Line Drawing Technique (60 minutes)
Learn the basic three kind of line drawing technique which allows you to depict the bamboo.
① Choku-Hitsu
② Soku-Hitsu 
③ Sen-Byo

3. Draw the bamboo (90 minutes)
Learn the traditional composition of sumi-e art with the bamboo drawing
① Leaves
② Trunk
③ Small Branch

Diamond Dog with Tarashikomi Technique, featured in YouTube on the Day of the Dog

Sumi-e Kazu Shimura Tarashikomi

November 1st is the day of the dog in Japan. There is some twists trick.. I am going to unbundle it.

November 1st is depicted by the numbers of three in a row "1". so we got three one.

The dog barks ‘wan, wan, wan’ in Japan. What about your place??

Then, now you got it. The combination with English pronounciation of 1 to dog barking in  Japanese have mixed and someone sets the dog of the day on Nov. 1. I didn’t know it was the day, though. YouTube featured some of dog related video in associated with the dog day including my vid. 

■ たらしこみ Tarashi-komi ■

I used ‘tarashi-komi’ technique in drawing dog in this video. Trashi-komi technique originated Sotasu Tawaraya, 17 century’s painter. He painted a dog with this technique. My try in this video is inspired with him. ‘Tarashi’ means ‘drop’ or ‘weep’ in English and the conjugation of ‘tarasu’. ‘Hana-tarashi’ boy is a kid with always nose running.(hana is nose) 🙂

‘Komi’ is used for emphasis.

So, What I drop emphasisly, or so much is water. ‘Tarashi-komi’ technique use the water a lot. Fisrt, you put only water directly on the paper. Then, put sumi-ink on the water teritory. The sumi-ink will diffuse until the boader line of the water penetration area.

In tarashi-komi technique, you need to controll the uncontrollable water movement. The water spreads out in slow. So, drop the water then take a breathing, relaxing. It goes forward step by step in watching the water drop pervasive.

The volume of water is necessary to take care. That affect not only on the water itself penetration area, but also on the sumi-ink soaking which decides the tatste of painting. The part where you drop the water a lot would be the veichle which carries and spreads out the sumi-ink around. The light water area would be the slow car. The speed of the move is faseter than you might expect. Your dog will be growing to the cow.. It is no use craying over spilled milk ::)

Now you might know you have to watch out the volume of sumi-ink drop. Yes. It would be better that the first sumi-ink drop make it a small portion and observe the spread speed of it. 

I guess I put too much attention note.

The joy of the tarashikomi is on the unpredictable sumi-ink spread. The exuding of sumi-ink enable to depict the fluffy hair of dog, like toy poodle. Overglaze sumi-ink with the water can express uncountable things.

It is no necessarry to draw the accurate line in order to get what is real. The tarashikomi technique gives you the cuteness of what you saw. It is 2 dimentional manga way of thinking. 2D can express much more than 3D can sometime.   

so, please enjoy the tarashi-komi.


1. Water job

 Draw the shape with the water only brush. Drawing line will dissapear when dried. The line will become the dizzy Long Wall when the tarashikomi sumi-ink spread. Sumi-ink invasion is supposed to stop on the line.

 Put only water in the brush, then paint the water on the far away point from the line. That avoids the water going beyond the line.

 Please remember the area wet becomes the drawing shape in the tarashikomi technique. The sumi-ink won’t go beyond where the water carried it away.

 Now you got the water job done. 

2. Sumi-ink Job

Then we are in the sumi-ink process.

■ Please don’t drop or paint the sumi-ink near the water boader. Sumi-ink spread power is huge. It is more than you think. So, you need to handle the sumi-ink process with care. Otherwise, your sumi-e will grow like balloon.

■ Put sumi-ink and take a breath until it stops diffusing. The next sumi-ink drop will be done, then. Need patience. Be calm. 

■ The edge of exuding sumi-ink might be the good expression of fluffy hair. You can levarage it.

Enjoy 🙂


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 🙂


Cicada! have you run after it with a net in hand? Cicada and beetle are
kings that kept entertaining me during summer holiday.

Cicada’s buzz is
not buzz. it is summer symphony or rain shower in woods.

Matsuo Basho,
17th haiku poet, made famous one, going like

‘Silence, Cicada’s voice,
Sorbed into rocks’ <- make sense?


Body: Use the brush body so that you can get vague gradation naturally. It gives the cicada body color.

Eyes: The eyes of cicada is located on the edge of the body (or face). Make it the most black sumi ink.

Wings: Each cicada has different color wing. Some has dark brown one and some has trasparent one. I like to depict very soft thin wing here. Put very light sumi ink on the brush and draw softly.

Legs: black and thin

Cicada lives only seven days after the emergence. Before that it keeps sleeping seven years in the earth. wow

Bodhidharma Sumi-E Drawing

I was believing Bodhidharma was Japanese. Because I played a game called "dharma-san" a lot. This is said "tag" in my dictionary. (as always no idea for the right words) anyway, everybody knows a tag called dharma-san ga koronda. and lots of designed dharma figure coloured red are here. even I loved to have a "dharma box lunch" at Takasaki station which was on the way to the country house. It futures the dhrma face(see the link). So my image of dharma is from this box lunch and thought evry kind person like a priest in the cinema.

The real bodhidharma was not like today’s deformed one. He was very stubborn and severe. He was from India, so he got large eyes and long nose. I was surprised at Hakuin or Sesshu bodhidharma paintings because they have very severe dharma san.


1. Front neckband is the key to draw the tradional asian figure wearing kimono style clothes. I made the hard line first which was inspired by the Hakuin’s line and Sesshu’s cave rock line.

2. First, light black (more water than usual) is on the eyebrow, then before getting dry fully, put more black stroke added. So you can get some depth, profound expression.