Paper for Sumi-e beginner

Welcome Forums Product Questions Paper Paper for Sumi-e beginner


Viewing 3 reply threads
  • Author
    • #19981

      I am looking for some papers for sumi-e but I am feeling a little overwhelmed with all the choices. Do some of you have some recommendations for good starting papers?

      I was thinking about getting the sample pack but I think I would like to get some more papers with my first order, any recommendations? 🙂

    • #19995

      Hello. To have a precise answer, you need to formulate your question differently. Indeed, what distinguishes the papers, it is not that they are made for “beginner” or for “expert”. It takes a hammer to plant a nail and a screwdriver to drive a screw (and not the opposite), no matter whether one is professional or amateur!

      Sumi-e is the Japanese name for a school of painting originally from China dominating at the time of Muromachi (between 1336 and 1573), which is technically characterized by black ink washes and is philosophically close to Zen Buddhism.
      As a result, in terms of material and media, it is identical to what is used in Chinese “xieyi” (spontaneous expression) painting, so you have to give preference to “raw” or “partially” papers. raw / partially cooked “, ie more or less absorbent papers, this is the first point.

      But what will determine more precisely your choice, and which explains the multitude of papers available, are other criteria, which you do not mention:
      1. What are you combing? Small flowers (orchids), large flowers (peonies), bamboo, birds, landscapes?
      2. Do you leave the white background, painting the main subject in one sitting, or do you make successive washings (clouds, mists, background atmosphere) that require to wet the paper several times?
      3. What is the format of your works? 20 X 30 cm or rather 70 X 100 cm?
      4. Do you make copies of old works that ask for “aged” papers or not?
      5. Are these exercises that you will throw or keep in a drawer or works that you intend to mount on roll or frame and that you hope for several centuries of longevity?

      Depending on your answers to each of these questions, it is possible to guide you to the best paper.

    • #19988

      Bonjour. Pour avoir une réponse précise, il faut que vous formuliez différemment votre question. En effet, ce qui distingue les papiers, ce n’est pas qu’ils soient faits pour “débutant” ou pour “expert”. Il faut un marteau pour planter un clou et un tournevis pour enfoncer une vis (et pas le contraire), peu importe qu’on soit professionnel ou amateur !

      Le sumi-e est le nom japonais d’une école de peinture originaire de Chine et dominant à l’époque de Muromachi (entre 1336 et 1573), qui se caractérise techniquement par des lavis à l’encre noire et qui se rapproche philosophiquement du bouddhisme zen.
      En conséquence, pour ce qui est du matériel et des supports, c’est identique à ce qu’on utilise dans la peinture chinoise de type “xieyi 寫意 [expression spontanée]. Il vous faut donc privilégier les papiers “crus” ou “partiellement crus/partiellement cuits”, c’est à dire des papiers plus ou moins absorbants. C’est le premier point.

      Mais ce qui va déterminer plus précisément votre choix, et qui explique la multitude de papiers disponibles, ce sont d’autres critères, que vous ne mentionnez pas :
      1. Que peignez-vous ? Petites fleurs (orchidées), grandes fleurs (pivoines), bambous, oiseaux, paysages ?
      2. Laissez-vous le fond blanc, en peignant le sujet principal en une seule séance, ou bien faites vous des lavis successifs (nuages, brumes, atmosphère de fond) qui imposent de mouiller plusieurs fois le papier ?
      3. Quel est le format de vos œuvres ? 20 X 30 cm ou plutôt 70 X 100 cm ?
      4. Faites-vous des copies d’œuvres anciennes qui demandent des papiers à l’aspect “vieilli” ou pas ?
      5. S’agit-il d’exercices que vous jetterez ou conserverez dans un tiroir ou d’œuvres que vous destinez à monter sur rouleau ou encadrer et dont vous espérez plusieurs siècles de longévité ?

      Selon vos réponses à chacune de ces questions, il est possible de vous guider dans le choix du papier le mieux adapté.
      Enfin, une dernière question : n’avez-vous pas un professeur pour vous aider à choisir votre matériel ?

      Eric Marié
      Enseignant de peinture et de calligraphie chinoise

    • #20571

      Even if the topic was some time ago, what I have to write here may also interest others

      Japanese papers are usually less absorbent than Chinese ones. The popular Gasen-Shi paper is made in China and Japan and is therefore Xuan paper. Chinese varieties are more absorbent than Japanese varieties because of the different development of ink painting styles.

      I would use at least half-sized or slightly thicker paper so that it doesn’t run as much and is easier for beginners to handle, which is more similar to Japanese Gasen-Shi. The luminosity, transparency and the diverse nuances of the ink are supported by Gasen-Shi.
      In general, it can be said that in Japan there is more experimentation with different plants and there are more different types of paper.

      Otherwise, there are basic types that I know from the description:

      Kozo is a mulberry plant and from the bark of it this paper is made when painting slightly rough dry areas which express force or fast movement and speed. This paper has only a moderate absorbency and is therefore easier to handle, although in comparison to untreated Gasen-Shi it has the disadvantage that colours cannot be reproduced so richly.

      Ma means hemp and Dosabiki means preparing the paper with alum and glue. The more this paper was treated, the less the nuances of the ink come into play. Since the paper is very tough, the ink or colour can be layered and blurred several times

      Torinoko-Shi is made from Gampi fibres and has a smooth surface and is used for detailed images. It absorbs liquid poorly and this means that contours can be blurred with water afterwards, creating smooth transitions. The ink is less intense and transparent on this paper and fine shades of tone are not so easy to produce.
      This paper is very similar to hot press watercolour paper only thinner.

      In general, it can be said that with papers that represent the ink well, the colors are poorer, either the one or the other both do not seem to go together.

      Wa-Shi simply means Japanese paper, the prefix Wa is used as an abbreviation for Japanese, otherwise it can mean peace, harmony or a mathematical sum. Another name for Japanese paper is Wagami.

      Han-Shi is 26×34 cm in size and is a paper form that is used for practice and not a special type of paper.

      Shiki-Shi are mounted papers on paperboards and are often presented as a gift.

      These Japanese papers are quite difficult to get in Europe and often there are only very special ones to buy and not these standard types. As far as I know, Japanese paper is imported by the company Römerturm in Germany. The website of a paper manufacturer so you can see what kinds of Wa-Shi existed.

      I think it’s sad that there is no major Japanese calligraphy and painting shop in Europe, even if a smaller company like Kremer-Pigments manages to have a shop in New York in addition to the shop in Germany.


Viewing 3 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.