Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Suminagashi Paper Marbling

I tried Suminagashi paper marbling yesterday, you have to be very patient. The process reminded me of making a zebra cake, which having made once, I promised myself never again.
I started with quink ink, and then thought I might get better results with calligraphy ink.
I have to say the quink ink worked best, but I still don't believe it was the best ink to use so any tips would be gratefully received.
In this process you use two soft brushes, one for ink and one for soapy water, alternating between the two, gently adding them to the surface of a tray of water. when you have made a detailed tree ring of concentric circles you can use a cocktail stick or other sharp thin implement to draw a pattern through it and then print onto paper by laying the paper on the surface.


  1. Nice result that makes you want to try, thanks for sharing

  2. I like it. Just add legs to make a lovely fat blue sheep.

  3. Suminagashi or ink marbling is a Japanese art form. (Sumi means ink) The best results come from using actual Sumi ink.
    This is because the ink is slightly oily so it sits on top of the water. No need for soapy brushes. You just have to drop the ink onto the water and swirl it very, very gently. If you mix it too quickly you loose the pattern and the water becomes black. I find that each tray of water only gives one or 2 at the most prints before it becomes too inky. I get the best results from using inexpensive hot press watercolor paper.

    Have lots of paper towels to hand. From every batch of 5 or so prints you may only get 1 sheet you like but it makes an incredible background. I like to paint on the marbled paper when dry with watercolor or gouache...

    1. Thank you for clarifying this Hazel. I look forward to trying this technique with the correct ink.