At the sumi-e book store artist Nadja Van Ghelue offers you a hand picked selection of sumi e books. The short review on the sumi e books and the artist’s insight will guide you to buy the best books online.
To practice sumi-e you need a good technique and a philosophical background of the esthetics of Chinese and Japanese painting. I have covered the manuals in my sumi e book selection below and the books about the aesthetical and philosophical background at Japanese sumi painting books.
The manuals chosen introduce you to the materials and tools of sumi e painting: brush, ink, pigment and ink stone, and teach you how to use them in different styles and techniques.
A classic Chinese manual, used for ages in traditional Chinese painting, is the Mustard Seed Garden. Some people regard this book as old-fashioned. In my opinion, it is a reference work that you should have. It shows the traditional techniques and brush work of dozens of old masters as they have been copied and transformed by generations of sumi e painters. There is also a Chinese Version of the Mustard Seed Garden available. It is beautifully edited with some of the illustrations in color. A fine piece to have in your library.
A comprehensive book on Chinese painting is Wu Yangmu’s book The Techniques of Chinese Painting. It introduces you to all the different features of Chinese Painting. The book has a lot of pictures which illustrate very well the different techniques and painting styles of brush painting.
Saito Ryuku’s Japanese Inkpainting is a classic on Japanese brush painting. It was first published in 1959 and has now been reprinted. It gives a very comprehensive and complete view of the various techniques and how to practice Japanese sumi painting.
You can start learning sumi e painting with any of the books listed in the sumi e book store below. The best teacher of course is your own eye, to see by yourself how a sumi painter handles brush and ink.
Try to find a good teacher. If that is not possible, you can rely on DVDs, in which case I recommend Henry Li’s Brush Painting Lessons. The painting DVDs and downloadable classes cover a large variety of subjects, are very instructional and well done.
Beginner’s Guide to Japanese and Chinese Watercolor Painting
Check out these interesting beginner’s guides that cover some of the traditional subject-matters of Chinese and Japanese watercolores.
This sumi-e book store makes it easy for you to buy your sumi-e books online and bring this great art into your life.
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