I’ve been plodding along trying to complete my Canson™ mixed media journal. It’s not my favorite. My pens seem to drag across the paper, it absorbs paint too quickly and the colors don’t mingle the way I would like them to. The paper is fine when I paint small areas but does not perform well when painting larger ones or when trying to attain a rich wash. Creating pictures has been laborious and I find myself choosing to dust rather than draw.
Most of this journal is a record of my trip to Toronto in February. I ventured forth, laden with new furry boots, mitts, scarves and a down coat, to spend time with my daughter and two little grandsons during the coldest three weeks the area had experienced in 40+ years.
The pages about the trip were mostly accomplished after I returned home. Spending my days with a 3 year old and a baby (who woke up two or three times a night, his cries echoing throughout the house), left little time or energy for creative endeavours, so I scribbled bits of our stories on scraps of papers and took photos to remind me of each day’s adventures.
Once home, I enjoyed a marathon of documenting my notes into numerous journal entries, then quickly illustrated them from my memories and reference photos, details so easily forgotten as the months go by.
Since it seemed unacceptable to leave a sketchbook incomplete, I filled the last pages as quickly as possible, cramming them with my favorite colors and techniques and sketching random events that caught my attention.
Realizing that I had bought the Canson™ as it was on sale, and that the sketchbook that I had really wanted to use was quite pricey, I changed my ways, embraced extravagance, and ordered three Stillman and Birn™, Zeta sketchbooks. They are definitely my favorite for pen and ink and watercolor wash. The surface of the paper has less tooth and dip pens don’t catch on the smoother, hot pressed paper. Paint doesn’t absorb as quickly, blending slowly into brand new hues that pop off the pages.
The Canson Mix-Media™ would have been great if I had actually been working with mixed media. If you’re new to illustrated journalling, save time and get better results by experimenting with a few quality brands to find out what works best for the style that you are trying to achieve.
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