Year of the monkey

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Ink and wash drawing of monkeys

With the Chinese New Year approaching, I thought it might be a nice idea to create a drawing of monkeys  in a Chinese brushed ink and wash style for my Chinese friends. I used traditional materials of Chinese ink (prepared using an ink block and slate rubbing stone), calligraphy brush and rice paper. I’d had a short lesson in the technique of drawing with a brush while I was at Shanghai Open University and had some sense of the challenges of this way of working. The paper is incredibly absorbant and unforgiving of mistakes. Mark making is not easy and there is no option other than to be brave and just go for it. After scrapping countless sheets of paper and really struggling I eventually got this pair of monkeys (based on similar drawings I came across in an internet search).

The Chinese characters (hanzi) simply mean, year of the monkey, and were written on plain paper (hence the differing qualities of the brush marks on the drawing and the writing). The drawing and the hanzi were then scanned and assembled in Photoshop.