Increase Your Creativity With This Exercise

Ink Washes

Here’s a fun way to boost your creativity with water and ink.


  • I used Liquitex Acrylic Ink
  • Watercolor Paper or Mix Media (Any paper that will take a lot of water)
  • Clean Water
  • Paintbrushes


  • Randomly wet the paper using ample water so that an area doesn’t dry before you add the ink
  • Using any paintbrush dip it into the ink and lightly touch the brush to the watered area (I used a round brush); Be mindful of the amount of ink because you don’t want blobs (experiment)
  • Let the ink flow where it wants although you can tip the paper if you like; otherwise, make sure the paper is laying flat
  • You may clip the paper to a surface so it does not curl when it gets wet
  • Using the same paintbrush or a different one look for an emerging scene and push the paint around
  • Add more ink with a paintbrush to make shapes or to define an area
  • You may add more water to the surface or even spray water on an area or use the brush to redirect the ink or get it to flow in new directions
  • There is no right or wrong way here


When the ink hits the paper it spread outwards.  While the ink is wet you may pull it around to make a landscape or whatever shape you see.  The ink will automatically spread leaving various values.  Often all you need to do is to add dark values.  In the samples below I added boats, figures, trees, grass and a hut.  Use your imagination to see an image start to form in the spreading ink; sometimes it’s very abstract.  This is a fun exercise used to get your creative juices flowing and is a great way to come up with original ideas for art.  The result of the exercise is often an interesting art piece by itself.

Black ink results in a great study in values.  If you do use color ink be mindful of colors that will mix well to produce secondary colors and not mud.  You can let the ink dry before working on it or you may start pushing paint around while it is still wet.  I recommend working wet in wet.  Have fun!

A Liquitex Acrylic ink and wash landscape featuring a hut, a boat and figures An ink and wash landscape featuring two sailboats sailing into a storm

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