The Story of Ink and Water

Dispatched within 14 days.


A celebration of traditional Chinese ink paintings through a story of new-found friendship.


Translated from the original Chinese, this is a lively and imaginative children’s story of how Chinese painting came to be.

The materials used in traditional Chinese painting (water, brush, ink) are personified as Water Girl, Brush Boy, and Ink Boy, who meet and form friendships through the discovery of their talents.


One day, Water Girl leaves her home in the river to explore a new world. She meets Ink Boy who has the ability to turn water black, and Brush Boy who, to everyone’s delight, uses this black water to paint beautiful pictures on paper. Together, they discover that the more ink and less water they use, the darker the paintings - and the less ink and more water they use, the lighter they appear.


The curious three end up creating wonderful paintings of nature, from animals (which come to life!), to scattering clouds that help provide shade from the sun. It’s a delightful introduction to the world of Chinese painting through a child’s eyes.


The ink paintings by Liang Peilong beautifully accompany the narrative and are in themselves perfect examples of the Chinese painting talked about in the story.

The Story of Ink and Water

  • Publisher: Balestier Press

    Format: Paperback

    Text: English

    Number of Pages: 36

    Trim Size: 21.6 x 21.6cm

  • Liang Peilong - Born in 1944 in Guangdong, China, Liang is an artist-in-residence at the Guangzhou Institute of Fine Arts. Liang excels in capturing children and animals in his Chinese paintings and artistic creations. In recent years, ink-and-wash paintings have become his unique style. He is listed as one of China’s top ten outstanding painters in children’s themed art. His works have received numerous awards. The Story of Ink and Water is his first book to be translated into English.

    Li Qingye, the author, is a retired nursery school teacher from Guangdong province, China. She began her career as a teacher in 1962, and published her first children’s picture book in 1973 during the latter years of the the Cultural Revolution. Unusually for the time, her books were not in line with the typical propaganda stories of the Cultural Revolution, instead writing about topics she was interested in. Li continued to write children’s stories after her retirement in the late nineties.

    Chun Zhang is the translator.

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