The gifts of Sumi-e

This post is about inner peace and the joy you can find in practicing the beautiful art of Sumi-e painting. But, heads up. I’m not a Sumi-e expert of any sort. I’m an illustrator who loves this art form and wanted to try it as a gift for herself.

The kind people from generously sent me a beautiful Sumi-e kit that included: three brushes, a Suzuri stone, three ceramic dishes, a stick of professional Sumi ink, and a pad of Hosho paper. They packed a little surprise, a cute origami dog. How nice! 

I set up my kit on a piece of felt. It’s essential to protect the surface you’re working on because the ink tends to bleed.

The first thing you need to do to start your Sumi-e journey is to grind some ink. I have to say that I love this part. I enjoy it so much because of the scent of the ink. I’d describe it as the smell of rain or moss. It takes me to a meditative state, a total delight! 

To begin, you need to pour some clean water on the Suzuri stone, starting on the flat area and letting the water flow to the concave side of it. Then, gently and slowly rub your ink stick on the flat area using a circular motion. It’ll create a beautiful shiny puddle. You’d need around 15 to 20 minutes of grinding to get a dark ink.

Then, pour some water on your small dishes and create two shades of grey; a medium dark and a lighter one.


Now it’s playtime! Let yourself paint freely, for the joy of doing it, without judgment or perfectionism. One of the qualities that attract me the most about Sumi-e is that you create an image building up from single strokes, so you need to trust yourself and be brave to let your brush flow and express itself full of energy and emotions. What is in you will show.

Sumi-e is a gift to your inner peace. From grinding the ink to the moment the tip of your brush touches the paper, it’s a complete experience of serenity and relaxation. 

Thanks, Yasutomo, for making available a fantastic array of products that make easy and affordable the experience of Sumi-e.


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