Art Review: Umezara Indian Ink
This week I have a quick review for you and it is about the Umezara Indian Ink. A lovely little porcelain flower palette that was shipped all the way from Japan!
Japan! Ahh if only packages could speak. I wonder what things they see and hear on their travels.
Disclaimer: This is not a super professional review where I chat about e.g. the light-fastness of the paint or do an extensive test with tons of doodles. For me it’s all about how the paint flows on the paper, how well it layers and the final look when the paint/ink is dry. I’m doing these little reviews to show you that anyone can pick up a medium and use it to paint lovely things with. I always shyed away from using mediums like indian ink or sumi-e ink as I had this specific art style in my mind (Chinese calligraphy, koi fishes, abstract drawings etc.) and I couldn’t capture this on paper. In the end, it’s all about just creating something and having fun with it.
The paint is just a tool to capture your imagination. The tool doesn’t come with a specific art form. Make the paint your own.
Alrighty. Now that little formality is out of the way, let’s proceed! A bit of basic information:
- Paint was ordered from Art Supplies Store. An online Japanese art store. The site is very easy to use and pricing is very reasonable.
- Costs for this palette was $15
- Shipping took around two weeks and I live in The Netherlands. I was a tad afraid that the palette would break as it’s from porcelain, but the package was very well-wrapped. Good to know for future orders.
- I didn’t use rice paper, but I used the paper Canson Montval, 200 grams.
There are six cool (Shibui) dark colors. The ink is dry (obviously…), so I use a spray bottle to wet it. I think you can also add a few drops of water on it, but I prefer a spray as it distributes the water more evenly. Well, most of the time. If your name is TJ, you might spray more water on your desk than the actual palette. This aside. I spritz a bit on the surface and let it sit for a minute or so. Then you can easily transfer some paint to a palette.
Then I added a second layer after the first one was completely dry.
Upon painting, the ink has a very similar feel as White Nights (the watercolor brand I use for most of my work lately). When I transferred the paint to a palette, I could feel the grainy texture of the ink, but when I paint with it, the colors glide smoothly on the paper.
Because the feel of the ink is so similar to the watercolors I use, I decided to create some small paintings and see how well it layered and how the colors interacted with each other. If you’re following me online, you’ve noticed that I’ve been sharing lots of Japanese styled art work aka Geishas (Matcha, anyone? *winks*…well *tries to wink*). So I went with some pagodas and abstract nature surroundings.
The colors have this lovely muted grey undertone and the effect you get in your paintings are very soft and dreamy. I have yet to create some characters with this ink, but for nature surroundings, it’s really wonderful.
Have to admit and say that I did find it tricky to work a limited color palette, one with no yellow or orange. For the painting above I wanted to leave out the red and only focus on the green and brown, but in the end I added a bit of red anyway as it didn’t feel finished.
As for layering of the colors. I did have to wait till the very first layer was dry before adding more color. The colors blend together very easily and it’s easy to lose definition and to have one puddle of color on your paper. It requires a bit more patience, but the wait is worth it in the end.
I shared the WIP image of the above image in my previous post, so here’s a scan! Even with a bit of tweaking, the colors stay soft and quite muted. Of course, it really depends on your drawing/paint style, so I need to do a bit more experimenting to see what else I can do with it.
A quick overview
1. A little bit goes a long way. If you don’t want to waste paint on your palette, start with a tiny bit and add more as you go.
2. The paint is very pigmented, but the colors are soft and not super vibrant. It’s perfect if you want soft and dreamy paintings.
3. The colors are gorgeous and work very well together.
All in all, this is a wonderful palette to have on hand if you love to work with ink. And especially because it’s an array of colors that I personally wouldn’t use. It forces me out of my creative comfort zone and that’s always a good thing.
And this is the end of the review! If you have any questions, just let me know.