Friday, September 18, 2020

Boku-Undo Fun

9/16/20 Boku-Undo sumi ink on Canson XL 140 lb. paper

I’m still not over the shock of using a wet medium again after several years of sketching mainly with dry ones, but it didn’t take long to see the fun in Boku-Undo tinted sumi inks (see yesterday’s post for my initial shock). A blend of traditional sumi inks and dyes, they come in a lovely range of “shadow black” colors that granulate beautifully. I love these intense off-blacks. (My full review of Boku-Undo will be published at the Well-Appointed Desk, but I’ll be playing with them for a while, so you can consider these sneak previews.)

In yesterday’s post, I played with purplish-black and brownish-black. The value studies shown here were made with bluish-black and greenish-black. I haven’t tried mixing them with a full palette of traditional watercolors, but I bet they would all make interesting shadow colors to complement them.
Boku-Undo's "shadow black" colors

Yesterday’s tomato got eaten, but I needed a third thing in my still life for the darkest value, so I grabbed an avocado from the counter. Aside from the basic challenges of using watercolors again (it’s not like riding a bike; I did forget!), I realized after I’d been working a while that I was unconsciously going direct-to-paint without drawing first! What??! I didn’t intend to make it so hard on myself, but once I got my brushes wet, I guess I lost my mind.

That’s what made these exercises so much fun, though! These tonal studies are diametrically different from the much slower renderings of form that I have focused on for several years now. It’s good for me to shake up my brain now and then with something entirely different.

If you’re curious about my brushes, I’m enjoying using my Escoda travel set that I purchased shortly after I began urban sketching. Fairly soon afterwards, though, I was seduced by the convenience of waterbrushes and never looked back, so I’ve only ever used these at my desk.

(The ongoing thick wildfire smoke is distressing and oppressive, but it is keeping me in the house with an opportunity to try new things. A tiny glass of sweet lemonade made from horribly bitter lemons.)

It's been a long time since I've made this kind of mess!


  1. Those look fantastic. I love their desaturated colors. I look forward to your full review. I don't know about drawing with a waterbrush because it's so hard to control the water but drawing with a small watercolor brush is lots of fun.

  2. I really like the shades of black and grey you get from these! I laughed to hear that you found yourself working directly in paint. Yay!

    1. I thought of you and all my friends who did the direct-to-watercolor challenge a few months ago! Whew, it's tough!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...