Best Seller

Watercolor Illustration with Japanese Influence

A course by Flor Kaneshiro
Illustrator. Junín de los Andes, Argentina.
Joined March 2019
, Illustrator

Give your drawings an ancient identity with the Sumi-e painting technique

  • Best Seller Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 99% Positive reviews (1.3K)
  • 35227 students
Watercolor Illustration with Japanese Influence

Give your drawings an ancient identity with the Sumi-e painting technique

Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 99% Positive reviews (1.3K)
  • 35227 students
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Audio: Spanish
  • Level: Beginner
  • 22 Lessons (3h 15m)
  • Available from the app
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German, French, Italian
  • Unlimited access forever

Sumi-e is a monochrome drawing technique based on the use of Chinese ink. Originating from China, it was introduced to Japan in the mid-fourteenth century. Flor Kaneshiro, an Argentine illustrator with Okinawan roots, specializes in this technique and her drawings have been exhibited in Argentina, Japan, China, Peru and the United States. She has also collaborated with publishers such as Quipu, Periplo Ediciones and Winged Words.

In this course, Flor will teach you everything you need to know about Sumi-e; how to create your own illustrations mixing basic notions of watercolor with Japanese-style brushstrokes.

About this course

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Introduction to watercolor with Japanese influence and tools
  • U3
    U3. Watercolor exercises, brush strokes and sumi-e
  • U4
    U4. Project realization
  • U5
    U5. The pixel illustration and its production
  • FP
    FP Final Project
View details

You will start by getting to know Flor, her Okinawan roots and her professional career as an illustrator. She will also show you some of her references – from illustrators to film directors.

You will be introduced to the history of Sumi-e, look at some simple compositions of this style for examples and then review the materials and tools you will be using.

You will make your first strokes by carrying out a few watercolor exercises to experiment, learning to work with colors and whitespace in the composition.

You will begin to familiarize yourself with the Japanese side of watercolor, learning basic brushstroke styles, taking into account pressure, speed and direction. By learning the Four Gentlemen of the Sumi-e - bamboo, orchid, chrysanthemum and plum - you will practice its basic roots.

You will start the production of your illustration by building a reference file, which you will then use as a source of inspiration when making an illustration.

You will create your first sketches, taking into account that your illustration must tell a story. You will go from your sketch to the watercolor paper, drawing the chosen composition with soft strokes to allow for more freedom when you apply color.

After deciding on what paper and colors to use, time to get to work. You will start by painting the very basic elements with high tonal color values, then the background and elements in the foreground, using more saturated colors. Finally, you will paint the characters of your illustration, trying to create a contrast between them and the background using a fine brush to outline those parts that you want to highlight.

Once dry, you will scan your artwork to digitize it and take it to Adobe Photoshop. You will review the basic tools of the program that will be useful for editing your piece. You will clean the illustration and enhance its colors looking for a good digital reproduction that comes close to the original version.

Before the end of the course, Flor will give you some of the advice that she has collected over the years from other illustrators, animators, artists, publishers and friends.

What is this course's project?

You will create an illustration that tells a story, applying what you learned in the course on watercolor and Japanese brush strokes.

Projects by course students

Who is it for?

For illustrators, designers and anyone interested in drawing, illustration and watercolors.

What you need

Previous knowledge not necessary.

As for painting materials, you will need: paper to sketch on, HB, 2B and 5B pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, 250g - 300g watercolor paper, tube or pan watercolors, size 0 , 2, 8 and 14 soft round watercolor brushes, a ceramic or plastic trowel, absorbent cloths, water spray, masking tape and water.

To digitize your pieces, you need a computer with Adobe Photoshop and a scanner.


35227 Students
1337 Reviews
99% Positive ratings
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Flor Kaneshiro

A course by Flor Kaneshiro


Flor Kaneshiro is an Argentine illustrator. She has a Bachelor of Plastic Arts from the National University of La Plata (Argentina) specializing in traditional Japanese style illustration. In addition to her studies in Argentina, she obtained a scholarship from the University of Arts in Okinawa Prefecture (Japan), where she also exhibited her works.

Her work focuses on editorial and video illustration. With watercolor as the main technique, you can see how Japanese culture is reflected throughout by her use of its nature, people, stories and animals.


  • U1


    • Presentation
    • Influences
    • What are we going to do
  • U2

    Introduction to watercolor with Japanese influence and tools

    • Introduction to watercolors with Japanese influence
    • Analog tools and materials
  • U3

    Watercolor exercises, brush strokes and sumi-e

    • Introduction to Watercolor
    • Color passages
    • Stains
    • Japanese brush strokes
    • Sumi-e I
    • Sumi-e II
  • U4

    Project realization

    • Thematic search and reference file
    • Sketches
    • We prepare the sheet and the color palette
    • Elements in the background
    • Background items
    • Elements in the foreground
    • Characters
  • U5

    The pixel illustration and its production

    • Scanning or scanning
    • Digital tools and editing in Photoshop
    • What things should we consider when producing it?
    • Tips and advice
  • FP

    Final Project

    • Watercolor illustration with Japanese influence

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need for completing a specific final project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the instructor and other users, thus creating a dynamic course community.

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Watercolor Illustration with Japanese Influence. A Illustration course by Flor Kaneshiro Best Seller

Watercolor Illustration with Japanese Influence

A course by Flor Kaneshiro
Illustrator. Junín de los Andes, Argentina.
Joined March 2019
  • 99% Positive reviews (1.3K)
  • 35227 students