I’ve been plodding along trying to complete my Canson™ mixed media journal. My pens seem to drag across the paper, which is absorbing the paint quickly and the colors aren’t mingling the way I would like them to. The paper is fine when I paint small areas but tends to buckle when painting larger ones or when trying to attain a rich wash.
Most of this sketchbook 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, as the ordinary details of life are so easily forgotten.
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. The surface of the paper has less tooth and dip and brush 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 gleaming white pages.
If you’re new to illustrated journalling, save time and get better results by experimenting with a few sketchbooks to find out what works best for the style that you are trying to achieve.
Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks
Stillman & Birn make about 7 different sketchbooks, with names such as Alpha, Beta, Zeta, etc. Some prefer the Beta Sketchbook for ink and watercolor as they find the slick surface of the Zeta too challenging. I contacted the company and they sent me a small sample packet of all the sketchbook papers.