Wow I was re-reading my blog and not only am I ashamed that I've lapsed in posting, but I can't believe I haven't totally swooned about the new Moleskine Watercolor notebooks! I have to restrain myself from waxing poetic about my love of all things Moleskine, and just stick to the Watercolor notebook for the moment.
Usually I woork on good old Arches 140 cold press. It is the best, but you really can't beat the Moleskine for portability. And now I can have all my watercolor sketches neatly together rather than in little shards pinned to my board and falling on the floor in my studio. I'm also interested in trying to do some polaroid transfers on the MW, but I don't have any film at the moment.
As much as I love the Moleskine sketchbooks, they are pretty crappy for painting. The journals are way too thin take anythng harsher than a delicate pen, and the sketchbook pages don't take water well at all. The Moleskine is definately less toothy than the Arches cold press, but this actually works out fine, since I have found that it's a little less fussy to draw on since the page is so small. I was a little worried that with the buckling, the pages would pop right off the perferation. This didn't happen; they're in there nice and snug. There is still some buckling of course, but I can't say I care really since I am one of those lazy artists who never bothers to stretch her watercolor paper anyway. It really takes the paint nicely and dries quickly enough to make sketching on the go a breeze!
On the fourth of July, my hubs and I went to Longwood Gardens. It was almost a no-go because of some vicious thunderstorms, but it turned out to be a beautiful day.
Just a quick sketch of the caladium growing in my patio garden.
Now I talk about pencils:
The Longwood Gardens sketch was done in the larger Moleskine with some student-grade Faber-Castell WC pencils, which I admittedly bought because: 1. I wasn't that into watercolor at the time and didn't want to cough up a pile of money and 2. I liked the metal tin they came in. After playing in my new book, it was immediately obvious that I needed better pencils. As you can see, the colors are a little cartoon-ish. Unfortunately, this is not just a problem with the pigment, but with the pencil itself. It really moved around when I wet it at first (creating really nice washes, actually), but when it dried, the initial layer was utterly unworkable, and it seemed to sort of seal the paper to make it virtually impossible to layer more color. Anyway, I still really enjoyed sketching at Longwood Gardens.
The caladium was done in the pocket sized Moleskine with my brand spankin' new Prismacolor WC pencils. These were immediately better to work with because I not only had more colors, but I had them in the familiar Prismacolor hues that I already know from the regular colored pencils. As you can see, the Primsacolors are way more saturated than the Faber-Castells. I have way more control over layering with these. The Prismacolors draw more like an actual colored pencil, even a little greasy, and I had to work a little to get a wash. This worked to my advantage, and I was able to build up color much better. Also, by wetting the paper first, I could get fantastic boldness and detail out of the pencils.
So now I have my Prismacolors in my old Faber-Castell case, and also carry a waterbrush and I'm ready for watercoloring all over town! What fun!