Saturday, 26 October 2019

Experiment with Indian Ink

I've been trying an experiment.... this definitely works on absorbent watercolour paper, but does it work on a canvas board? I wanted to find out.
First I used water soluble blue gouache paint to sketch out a negative image on a cheap 4" x 6" canvas board from the Dollar store. I didn't want to waste a bigger more expensive canvas.  Everywhere I wanted the canvas to stay white I painted with the gouache.

When the gouache paint was absolutely dry, I covered the whole canvas with Indian ink, taking care to spread the black ink lightly so I didn't smear the gouache underneath. The canvas was a black rectangle, nothing else showing. Uhoh, what next?
Then when the Indian ink was completely dry, it's time for the experiment. I held the canvas under the tap and scrubbed gently with a soft paintbrush. When the gouache started to soften in the water, it washed off the canvas taking the ink with it, and leaving black ink where there was no paint.
I may have rubbed too enthusiastically as some of the ink came off the canvas too.
So I darkened some of the greyed out lines with more ink and added a light colour wash of ink and gouache paint. It doesn't look too bad. Sort of what I intended.
This was on plain untreated cheap canvas. Perhaps the ink might stick better if I had used some gesso.... maybe I'll try that next week.


  1. Now that is clever. And I really, really like the image (and the final result).

  2. The process is beyond my comprehension but the result is great.

  3. It seems like a fun experiment.

  4. Wow, I am impressed. Its a terrific experiment and I really want to see some more of this kind of art work.
    Just wanted to know how you cook Fiddleheads and what do they taste like? Sounds fascinating.

  5. Oh well done Shammi, looks fantastic! Looks like a haunted house, perfect for Halloween 😉

  6. It really works well. I love the look of it. It looks like an image out of an Enid Blyton book somehow.


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