How do you make Japanese Calligraphy paint?

Calligraphy is a traditional art, done in ink. Sumi writing uses paint. To create calligraphy ink, you must first avail yourself of the Four Treasures: the brush, the ink stone, the ink stick, and your choice of rice paper. As warming a pot is so vital for a traditional Tea Ceremony, so the Four Treasures are a preparatory function in the discovery and unfolding of your writing skills. (Making the ink for each use requires you to focus, which translates into a transcription of your very best creative self.)

The process for making ink is basic, and much the same for all sticks and stones, although each writer finds his or her own way that works best. This is the procedure as it is written in one of the more common calligraphy lessons:

Place the ink stone in front of you and pour some water in it. Keep the ink stick upright; hold it with the thumb on one side and the index and middle finger on the other side. Press the ink stick on the ink stone very lightly and start describing circular movements with the stick. After a while the ink becomes blacker and thicker. You can add some water during the grinding if necessary.

You have to grind the ink stick until the ink is thick and deep black. To know when the ink is thick enough take one drop of ink with the stick and put it on the rim of a white saucer. When the ink does not run down the saucer, it is ready for your session of Japanese calligraphy. If the ink is too thick, the writing will not be fluent, because the ink does not flow smoothly from the brush. On the other hand if the ink is too thin, the ink will flow down too fast. Only with practice will you learn to determine the perfect thickness of the ink that you want. The type of paper you use, the style of Japanese calligraphy, your brush, the pressure you make on the paper, and even the weather are factors that should be considered when judging the thickness of your ink. The process is pretty much the same with Sumi painting. You simply grind a water paint stick against your stone instead of ink. (Fineartstore.com has a nice assortments of primary calligraphy and Sumi supplies if you cannot get them in your hometown, or there are some very dedicated shops like Silverdragonstudio.com, artmam.net, Paragon-art.com, and Orientalartsupply.com where you can find some really great items to assist you in developing your own way with the Four Treasures.