I learnt about sumi-e so far.
Clean after yourself. It takes longer to prepare your workspace – and clean it when you are done – than to actually draw. Going through the hassle of covering your room in newspaper when it takes five minutes to draw a bamboo branch may be off putting, but think about it this way: since you went through the effort you will want to make the most of your drawing session and draw for a long time. Also, working as clean as possible will save you a lot of time when tidying up!
Look at the whole picture. Composition is everything. Even if you obtain perfect color shadings and nice shapes, sometimes the final result just does not feel ‘right’. That’s because you need to gain enough experience in order to create a balanced and vivid picture. Spend time looking at others’ people work carefully, trying to figure out ways to convey a natural, dynamic result. Don’t focus on small details, but rather try to get the general feeling by staring at the pictures you love until they are impressed in your mind.
Be Stingy. Japanese rice paper is really expensive. So when you finish a drawing and you don’t like it, don’t throw it away! Use the blank spaces to practice more . When all the paper is filled, turn the paper on its white side and fold it twice. Use it as palette to try the colours before you use them.
Don’t lose confidence. As soon as you will finally nail a tough subject there will be no time to indulge; because you will start learning something new, giving a blow to your self esteem. The first time I tried to draw a bamboo leaf it looked like a rotten banana – it was heartbreaking. But the more you try, the better you will get. Commonplace? Totally. But totally true.
Remember to breathe. Sit in a comfortable position, don’t curve your back towards the paper, try to loose the muscles of your shoulders and don’t be nervous. You should feel relaxed, light hearted and remember to enjoy\1