Ink grinding is an art. Chinese calligraphy ink (墨) is traditionally prepared by grinding it with water on the inkstone. It looks easier than it really is. Here are few basic, but also very important things to bear in mind.
The things you should n o t do:
1. Do not leave the ink in the pool of ground ink on the inkstone. One of the ingredients of ink used for Chinese calligraphy is animal glue (although other types of glue are also used in its production). If you leave an inkstick on the inkstone grinding surface (i.e. the "ink temple" / 墨堂), as shown in the middle picture below, it may stick to the inkstone and ruin it permanently.
2. Avoid grinding ink at steep angles (as shown in the left-hanbd side picture, below). Although some calligraphers prefer to grind ink at a steep angle to the grinding surface of the inkstone, it is much easier to control the pressure during grinding while the ink is ground. The old saying goes: "wield the brush with the power of a warrior, and inkstick with the power of a withered man". Finally, when the inkstick becomes too short to be held by hand, you can glue two types of the same ink together. If you grind ink at a steep angle, there is no way to join both pieces.
3. Do no press the inkstick with force against the inkstone temple. If you think it will help you to grind ink faster, then Chinese calligraphy is not for you. By doing so, you may not only ruin the inkstone, but also damage ink. The chipped particles of ink may then ruin a brush, or even tear paper. Also, the finest the particles of the ground ink, the easier it will be to write. So, be like a withered man.
4. Do not use a lot of water. A few drops will do. Grinding ink is a time consuming task, and it supposed to be a meditation, not a race. Again, if you are impatient, or you seek quick solutions, then Chinese calligraphy is not for you. Using too much water will result in lower quality ink liquid. Preparation if ink is all about consistency, colour and dryness / wetness of the ink. You need to consider the paper type you use, the brush (types and size), what script you write in, and also your personal preference. All those come with practice. The more you grind, the more you know how to grind. If you rush, you will not learn anything.
The above video shows the proper way of ink grinding. Each ink (even the same type from the same factory) has different proprieties. There are all kinds of ink and all kinds of inkstones. Both are closely related. It is important to keep searching for a match between the ink stick and the inkstone. It is a quest on which every calligrapher is alone.
Ponte Ryuurui (品天龍涙)