8 Sketchbooks to Fill (Part 1)

8 Sketchbooks to Fill (Part 1)

This Artist’s Sketchbooks

It’s very hard to leave an art shop without spending money, there are always so many things you’d like to try or things you need to stock up on. And things you don’t need to stock up on but end up buying anyway!

I’m certainly guilty of the latter, here is my pile of ‘to be filled up’ sketchbooks:

A Pile of Sketchbooks
A Pile of Sketchbooks

I’ll take you through them starting from the bottom of that pile.

Seawhite Plein Air Sketchbook

Seawhite A4 Sketchbook
Seawhite A4 Sketchbook

This Seawhite A4 sketchbook is supposed to be my current sketching workhorse. It’s the first time I’ve got an A4 sketching book, I usually use A5 but want to be able to tackle bigger sketches. The book is spiral bound in a landscape layout to suit it’s target plein air sketchers. I would prefer a portrait layout but there was nothing that size with that grade of paper.

Pink Ice-cream and Orange Hair
Pink Ice-cream and Orange Hair – Watercolour

I like sketchbook paper that can take most of the mediums I like to use: pencil, pastels, ink, watercolour, acrylics, oils – a bit of everything. Smooth enough to take an ink nib but not so smooth it doesn’t provide tooth for anything else, able to take a wash or two but not so thick there’s only space for a few sheets.

I find cartridge paper of at least 200gsm is ideal. This one is 220 gsm and handles perfectly, they’ve been very miserly with the paper though, there are only 20 sheets so quite a thin book. Very early days with this book, I’m only 3.5 sheets in but I’m enjoying it already.

A4 Watercolour Pad

Cold Press Watercolour Pad
Cold Press Watercolour Pad

I got this cold press watercolour pad from the Turner exhibition at the National Maritime Museum some years ago (2013/2104). You can just about make out ‘Turner and the Sea’ debossed onto the cover in the image above.

After a few sad attempts at watercolour sketches I cast this sketchbook aside. I subsequently discovered it was a wonderful surface for casein and I now use it for casein sketches such as the old man in the feature image. Off-topic but notice, on the old man image, how I’ve used gloss medium on the right hand side of the page. It gives much deeper colours but you lose the lovely matte of casein.

Ballerina – Casein
Girl and Flower – Casein

There are 25 sheets of which I’ve used 7. The paper is a very sturdy 300gsm so I’m able to painting on both sides (I don’t go very wet with casein), 36 sides left so there’s some way to go.

Saunders Waterford Cold Press Pad

Cold Press Watercolour Pad
Saunders Waterford Cold Press Watercolour Pad

When the Turner Pad is finished (ha, the distant future!) I’ll have another 25 sheet, 300gsm pad ready to use for my casein sketches (I prefer to watercolour on smooth Hot Press paper).

I don’t remember when or where I got this pad, it’s completely empty. It’s a bit smaller than A4 size (19x28cm compared to 21×29.7cm). The sheets have deckled edges and the Saunders stamp embossed in one corner, I’m not sure I want their stamp showing up on my paintings/sketches, maybe casein will be thick enough to cover it.

Black Sketchbook

Black Card Sketchbook
Black Card Sketchbook

Next we have this black sketchbook. Another landscape layout, spiral bound book. There is no branding on it at all, the pages are about 6*8 inches and are fairly thick and sturdy. I’ve seen artists on YouTube creating stunning pieces on black (and other toned) paper and was probably excited at the thought of joining them. This excitement must have fizzled out as soon as I got home because I can’t remember a thing about the time or place of purchase. The 40 leaves in this book remain unused, I think this one is going to take a while to fill up!

More Sketchbooks to Come

We’re half way through the sketchbooks, a good place to end this post I think. I’ll continue with the last four books in a future post (and give myself some time to get some sketches in them!)

To be continued…

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