I was inspired to do this when I saw that my friend, Shana Rowe Jackson, who runs the channel, Caution: Artist At Play, uploaded a video of herself doing a project in India ink to her channel.
This is day one of working on the jellyfish. I wanted to have a very light wash to start with. I layered some darker, but still fairly light shapes on top of this light wash. The thing I’m having the hardest time with is getting the right ratio of water to ink to get the value I want. My ink keeps going down way darker than I want it. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. This is my very first piece in this medium. I’m finding, though, that I can lighten a mark that’s already on my paper by layering water on top of it with a wet brush.
My friend Shana, who inspired me to do this told me India ink is a good way to get those really stark blacks that are hard to get in watercolor. I think she’s right. Even when I don’t think I have a lot of ink on my brush, my values still end up being a lot darker than what I had in mind
Today was day two of painting my jellyfish. I learned to use the dropper to put out just a little bit of the ink onto my palette, but it was still going on way darker than I wanted it. I continued to paint shapes, copying my reference photo. I utilized a tissue to dab the ink and lighten it. Then it dawned on me to use my spray bottle, the same one I used to mix water into acrylic and watercolor paint, to spritz water straight into the ink! That really helped to lighten it and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.
Anyway, I thought the piece really started to come together when I added the tentacles, which I did with a combination of my smallest watercolor round brush and my liner brush. I started with a lot of ink in my brush at the top and purposely kept going without reloading my brush so I the lighten would get lighter going down. For some reason, painting those and those little loops at the top was the most fun part for me of this whole project so far.
I made sure to have the tentacles overlap each other. The last thing I want is for them all to be in a neat row. In the water, the tentacles would be moving. After all, that's how the jellyfish catches his pray.
Today I painted more smaller shapes on top of the bigger ones I’d painted. I can see the texture coming out more and more. I put some marks down too dark like before, but I used the excess ink for more marks, rather than going back to my palette.
Today I painted the leaf on the side and even more shapes on the jellyfish. The process of painting this guy's body has been painting a shape, then paint a smaller shape on top of that, then paint an even smaller shape on top of that,etc.
I figured out that I can use the excess ink from a too dark spot to paint other marks and lighten the spot in the process.
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Painter of portraits and wildlife