Instead of going for ink directly, I decided to do most drawings in watercolor pencils, which can construct strong lines, but would be easy to blend if needed. From here, I got more experimental, which is risky as I needed to use these pieces as examples for my show in the beginning.
I went with the background wash next as I needed to set the overall tone, and could not stray far from using the sepia as it reminds me of the waters of Vietnam. The color also fits the motif of retrospection like looking at old photography.
The next stages were to tone the figures in a light wash from the watercolor pencils (which I later went back to redefine the lines), and add some color to lemon piece. By sheer accident, the water cup that I was using had some residue gold gouache that mixed with the color, so the lemon is faintly glimmery. Luckily, it' not an obnoxious shine, so it actually aids the art work in a subtle way to emphasize the "precious" nature of that piece of fruit.
The final stages are a combination of chine-colle of joss and daoist papers, white acrylics, and lots of charcoal rubbings and marks to create the texture and water movements.
These stages became a rough foundation for a lot of my other pieces in the show.