Sumi-e Artists of Canada





Sumi-e Art

Sumi-e Books

What is Sumi-e?



Contact Us

Year of the Pig with Baoxing Zhang - January 13th, 2007

2007 is the year of the pig. Whatever preconceptions you might have of the pig, in oriental cultural the pig is held in high regard. Its character symbolizes tolerance and, believe it or not, the pig, symbolically anyway, displays impeccable manners and taste. Did you know that those born under this Chinese astrological sign are often admired and considered trustworthy by others?

Baoxing Zhang led workshop participants in understanding the significance of the pig in oriental culture and how to paint it.

Baoxing Zhang begins workshop on Year of the Pig

Baoxing began by demonstrating the character for pig.

Calligraphy for pig

The character is itself similar to the picture of a pig. Baoxing also wrote the pronunciation of the word pig in Chinese.

Calligraphy and pronunciation for pig

Several reference books and sketches were brought by Baoxing to show how different artists painted pigs.

Examples of pig

The first sketch showed the structure of the pig, necessary to understand the proportions for the head, body and legs.

Structure of pig

Using a dry brush of horse hair, Baoxing Zhang demonstrated how to paint the pig in a detailed precise way.

Dry brush pig

He then returned to his structural diagram to show how the two-toed hoof was drawn.

Pig hoof

Baoxing completed the dry brush pig by adding skin tones with a wider, softer brush.

Dry brush pig with skin tone

Next, using the larger, softer goat-hair brush with its natural point, Baoxing Zhang demonstrated how to load the brush correctly by first adding water to the brush and then tipping the point in black ink.

Abstract pig goat hair brush

In a single stroke, Baoxing created the head and back of the pig.

Head and back in one stroke

Baoxing then added the eyes, nose, mouth and legs.

Legs added in a single stroke

With the smaller brush, Baoxing added the hoofs.

Adding hoofs to legs

The completed pig was a smoother version of the animal.

Completed abstract pig

Piglets were added to demonstrate the creation of the smaller pigs.


The completed pig with two piglets made an interesting composition.

Pig and piglets

Baoxing Zhang then demonstrated how to quickly paint piglets in a manner similar to painting chicks.

Demonstrating painting piglets

Six piglets shown from behind were painted.

A collection of piglets

Baoxing then painted a simplified, cartoon-like pig.

Cartoon-like pig

Participants then had their chance to paint these animals, which proved challenging. Baoxing, however, graciously helped us out one-on-one.

One on one help

Some hands-on suggestions helped the participants.

Baoxing Zhang shows how to create the pig in a few strokes

This sketch by Baoxing Zhang make it look easy.

Helping a workshop attendee get the right strokes

In another session with a participant, Baoxing Zhang demonstrated painting the pig from behind.

Baoxing Zhange shows how to paint the pig from the back view

The second part of the workshop had participants eager to learn more from Baoxing.

Workshop attendees gather for part two of workshop with Baoxing Zhang

The boar, the wild version of the pig, was the subject this time. The head indicated this wilder nature. The nose, for example, is more sharp.

Head of the boar, a relative of the pig

The boar's body is rougher and its demeanor is fierce.

The boar has wilder appearance than the pig

The completed boar in running form was highlighted by adding a landscape about it.

Boar with landscape

One final pig was painted by Baoxing Zhang from behind.

Pig beneath banana tree

Baoxing added his seal to this painting as well as a seal for the pig. Baoxing has created his own seals for all 12 animals in Chinese astrology.

Adding seal of the pig with regular seal of the artist

The finished painting showed a pig beneath a banana tree. Baoxing Zhang added leaves with a stone green colour. The stone green ink can be applied over wet black ink.

Pig beneath banana tree with seals of artist and pig

Baoxing brought some of the following examples with him to the workshop. In this painting, a pig with many piglets makes an entertaining composition.

Piglets and pig

A realistic sketch shows nursing piglets.

Dry brush sketch of nursing piglets

Two cantankerous pigs make a comical portrayal of the pig.

Two pigs with detail dry brush techniques

The abstract style using a few strokes created some memorable pigs and piglets.

Pigs and piglets in astract style

These detailed, dry brush technique pigs attract the viewer's interest by their expressions.

Pigs in dry brush style

You can find more information on Baoxing Zhang in our links section.