Art on paper – Ink Washes & Watercolors

Aquarelle et Lavis - Ink washes and Watercolor - Numerique creation By Yoantra (2)

Watercolors & Ink Washes

Ink washes and Watercolors


Ink wash is a pictorial technique of using only one color (watercolor or Indian ink) which will be diluted to obtain different intensities of color. The artisanal black ink sticks then offer mono chromatic color shades related to the medium. “Monochrome” in ink should not be understood as pure black. White is obtained by the whiteness of the support or sometimes by white highlights (chalk, gouache or white ink for example). The Chinese also use Chinese ink sticks in different colors (red, yellow, green, blue, etc.).

By extension we use the word “Ink wash” to designate the works made with this technique (for example “lavis de Victor Hugo” – (Ink wash of Victor Hugo)).

The use of natural cuttlefish ink or sepia, gives light brown tones characteristic of ancient ink washes. Another extension, “Ink wash” is used to designate a way to work a very diluted color as opposed to a denser work, for example a watercolor consists of successive lavis ‘’washes’’enhanced with details.