I first saw Sumi Ink Club art at my brother Ely and Christina’s wedding reception. The party was on the roof of the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and there was a whole room of Sumi Ink Club downstairs. It was striking–densely packed, collaborative, black drawings covering white walls from floor to ceiling. I have to admit I was primarily overwhelmed by it, and that it was Reanna who stayed interested, setting up a Sumi Ink Club party for an issue of her magazine. That’s how I had the idea to do Sumi Ink Club during my advisee group at the first New Hampshire session of Not Back to School Camp.

We started with two picnic tables of almost blank white paper and 14 sharpies. (Sumi Ink Club uses sumi ink and brushes, of course, but sharpies work. I’ll paste in the official rules at the bottom of this post.) We just started drawing and rotated to a new spot every couple of minutes. It was really fun and we were excited about the final product, which we figured took about 26 person-hours to complete:

Full Composition, 5×8′, Paper & Sharpie (Occasional Crayon, Marker & Paint by Anonymous Artists)

Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4

Section 5

Section 6

Sharpie Artists, in Front of Our Meeting Place, the Charles H. Watts Craft House, Camp Huckins, NH, September 2011: McKinley Corbley, Liam Woodworth-Cook, Signe Constable, Justus Joy, Joel Malkoff, Maddie Pryor, Jacob Adams, Rio Nelson, Eve Blane, Hannah Conrad-Reingold, Kiera McNicholas, Nathen Lester, Sophia Kramer, and LarkinHeintzmann in front.

Here are the guidelines for doing Sumi Ink Club, from the website sumiinkclub.com:

sumi ink club rules*:

– anyone can join in (all ages, all humans, all styles)

– everyone adds to the same drawing

– keep moving around, don’t spend too long in one area

– add to what other people have started

– keep the ink pure, don’t dilute with water

– no words allowed, but things that look like words are ok!

* you can experiment with making your own rules and using new materials, of course you can!

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