Gongbi Book

Gongbi work is painted on sized paper or sized silk and is a very controlled technique.  It can produce some exquisitely beautiful paintings. Gongbi painting is now not widely taught in the UK.  It is therefore difficult to learn the technique.  We have been unable to find any books that give a detailed explanation of the techniques in the English language.  We are therefore gathering what we have learnt from Cai Xiaoli, Kaili Fu, Li Jia and Qu Leilei in a series of books for our members.  They will be provided free to members while supplies last.

Marion Dearlove has written  the first of these books, covering  Bai Miao – line work – and Mo Ran – ink washes.  It provides a detailed step-by-step guide to this technique. Three books are planned in the series: the next will cover use of colour.

Marion has generously made available the underdrawings and final versions of her line work and ink wash step-by-step illustrations in Gongbi 1. You can print these for your own use.

Camellia underdrawing
Camellia complete
Bird underdrawing
Bird complete


Figure underdrawing
Figure complete
Landscape underdrawing
Landscape complete

Note that the painting on page 43 is by Xia Gui, not Li Tang.

Xia Gui (fl 1195–1224) – Enjoying dialogue in a snow-covered hall

Xia Gui, another of the 4 great Song dynasty landscape artists, further developed the traditions of Li Tang; also focusing his
landscapes on detail rather than on scale.