A technique that I’m asked about on a regular basis is how I get that watercolor effect with my ink drawings. First I start out with a regular ink drawing like the one below. If I know I’m going to use this technique I try and use inks that don’t dry waterproof, eternal or bulletproof.
The next step is to use a waterbrush to pick up ink and move it around on the page. It takes a little practice to get the “right” amount of water and ink to get the value/tone you want but after you get the feel of it, it’s effective.
Stephanie of RhodiaDrive hooked me up with Karen of Exaclair, the American importer of several very fine French made stationary products so I could do some reviews. I received a box in the mail and I felt like a kid at Christmas. There is nothing quite like opening up a box of sketchbooks to get my heart racing, well pen products would be a close second. Anyway, one of the products contained in that wonderful box was a Rhodia Webnotebook. It’s the larger size, 5.5×8.25 inches (I14x21cm) with blank cream colored pages. There are 96 sheets or 192 pages.
When I first opened the covers the color reminded me of oak tag; creamy, warm and lovely. The paper is 90g (roughly 24lb) which seems kind of thin when you’ve been working on 140lb watercolor paper for the last few months. When I ran my hand over it felt glassy smooth. Clairfontaine paper is known for this feature and is sought after by people who use fountain pens.
The cover is black with the Rhodia logo inset into the center of the front cover. Like all notebooks of this style there is an elastic to hold the whole thing shut. The plastic/vinyl of the cover is soft, like fine leather. I have a journal made of deer hide and the feel of this pleather rivals its softness and feel. I handed the journal to someone to check out and she actually said “Ooohhh, that feels nice that feels really nice, what is it?” Like, leather the cover does show greasy fingerprints, unlike leather those greasy fingerprints wipe off with a damp rag. Yes, I tested this by eating French fries at my desk and picking up the journal and having to wipe it clean.
I've written about Eveline before, she took my Old Skool Drawing class and is turning around and appling the concepts frm that class to watercolors. She's testing out her paints, checking out the colros, and most of all studiously painting.
She's gone from using straight colors from the pan to wonderful washy layers of colors mixed on the pallette. Her use of color is lucious and loose. THere is a freedom of expression I adore in her images.
I reviewed the Canson XL Watercolor pad a few weeks back, mostly with inks and scraping of acrylic paint. I determined through that use that it would be #1 a great paper for binding into a journal #2 great for watercolor crayon and acrylic. I didn’t put it through its paces with watercolors.
I did this weekend.
I use a variety of watercolors from Holbein to Academy. This paper holds the colors true. For a cold pressed paper the paint absorbed just enough to dry quickly but allowed for easy lifting of color when needed. Some “student grade” watercolor paper sucks. Its cockles, it’s as absorbent as a paper towel, which is not the case with this paper. It’s good stuff.
Check out some of the images below, all are done on the XL watercolor paper. Vibrant saturated colors throughout.
I can without reservation recommend this paper for watercolors. It’s cheap enough for throwaway sketches and nice enough for finished work.
I picked up a Canson XL 30 sheet pad of CP 140# watercolor paper a few months back with the intent of comparing it to my favorite inexpensive paper, Strathmore 140# CP 400 series. It compares well.
First off, it comes in a glue bound pad which is good for bookbinding not good for art journaling. To me a glue binding is temporary and won’t last, I abuse my art journals and thus this pad would absolutely not hold up to my use. The paper folds in half easily and without cracking. This is a bonus if you are intending to make your own sketchbook or journal. The grain of this paper is along the short side, which again, is perfect for binding.
The paper is thinner and softer in feel to other 140# paper, specifically the Strathmore. It’s still stiff, but is not quite as stiff as cardboard. The cold pressed paper is textured more on one side than the other. The Canson CP is significantly less textured than most other CP papers I’ve used, and I’ve used a lot. The reverse size is significantly smoother than the front. You can feel and see the difference in texture. The amount of sizing is different too. The differing texture and sizing means that when binding you either let the different textures face each other OR you pull the pages out and face them together. It’s an extra step in binding that makes an art journal more pleasurable, versus getting into the journal and realizing each facing page responds to pen, ink, and watercolor differently. I find that annoying.
The paper handled ink like a dream. Even my fine and extra fine pointed fountain pens floated on its smoothish CP surface. Noodler’s bullet proof ink bonded with it well and other inks gave me a wonderful watercolor effect. The pages handled watercolor crayon like a dream and scraped acrylics like it was made for it. I noticed even with repeated brushing and scribbling layers of ink no pilling or pulling up of fibers. Either side handled them well. The reverse and smoother side was much more absorbent, so an even pull of credit card scraped acrylic got less coverage but was decent. The paper is heavy enough that I did not notice any wrinkling. Watercolors of course gave a cockling effect that soon relaxed as the paper dried.
This is a budget friendly pad of paper. I purchased it on sale for around $7; regular price is around $13 for the 11×15 in size. It’s not a bad price, especially for a pad that is easily folded up for making an art journal. I found it on Amazon (see below) for $4.59 in the 9×12 size, which is not bad at all. I was unable to find the 11×14 on Amazon but did find it on the Blick site for about $7.
By now you are all well aware that I enjoy creating portraits. I’ve worked really hard to have my own style but retain a sense of realism. I’m excited to now be able to work on commissioned portraits. If you are interested in having me create you a portrait please email me.
More information: I work in a style that is very me, so be sure you have browsed the gallery of my art to be sure you like my style. I work in black ink and create sensitive cross hatching to create areas of shadow. The background of the portrait will be painted in one or two colors, which you may leave up to me or specify. If you have me working on a portrait of your daughter and her favorite color is violet I’ll mix a shade of violet and have you okay it.
As the work progresses I’ll email you progress shots and include you in the process as much as possible. If I’m able to do so I’ll record the process and create a video. When you see the finished piece you won’t be surprised but simply overjoyed.
I like to keep my pricing reasonable. The prices are based on size and materials used. Pen and ink with single color watercolor background on acid free archival paper, single portrait:
Trading Card: $20
All sizes except the trading card size are matted and bagged in a KrystalSeal bag. The trading card size will arrive in a standard trading card sleeve. All pieces will come with a certificate of authenticity.
I also create unique one of a kind portraits in mixed media. The background is a combination of collage and acrylic paint with sketching and writing within the layers. In the area I would like to create the face I scrape an ultra thin layer of white paint, on which I draw the portrait. The portrait is drawn in a variety of colors. You can request that I work bright and I’ll use a bright color to start the portrait instead of gray. The image is built up of layers of gray, white and black. Around the portrait I’ll layer more stencils and more layers of bright acrylic paint. I may add a variety of other media to the portrait if I feel it needs more texture or particular pops of color. These portraits are 11×14 in size, come with a 16×20 mat and ready to be framed in a standard size frame. Each will also arrive with a certificate of authenticity. These portraits are $75+shipping.
This blog has a great idea on how to make a watercolor or gouache pallet out of an altoids tin and old milk caps. It's seriously very cool. I was thinking and I think I've seen out there a blog with instructions on how to dome something similar with sculpy or fimo clay. The milk caps are the fastest I've seen thus far though. How easy is it to simply hot glue those in? I've also seen one where the guy used tin snips and created dividers with sheets of metal.
Check out these sweet little sketches on Linda T’s Sketches and Drawings blog. She clearly spends a lot of time drawing and coloring those drawings. I’m a big fan of this style- lines drawn in ink and then watercolor or color applied after. However the activity of her black and white lines is what makes the images come alive. Either way these are some fantastic sketches- lively colorful and enjoyable. What a great way to spend an hour!
All images this post Property of the artist Linda T.
Earlier this year I went to Maine to visit my family and take a brief vacation from work. I had made a sketchbook filled with 140lb 100% cotton paper. It was awesome to work with, the combination of the paper and the handmade book made it easy to draw what I wanted to and add the color I wanted. See below for few pictures of the book.