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Watercolour, humour, this and that

Saturday, 20 July 2013


I've heard many artists mention Stillman & Birn sketchbooks that I just had to have one as of now!!!  But there are so many to choose from. Got mine from Jacksons Mail Order in the UK, though they are not in their catalogue. I got my beautiful spiral bound Zeta Smooth paper book. So hot here (a British heatwave) that I decided to walk into town and sketch early morning.

 First project was to use my Stabilo 88 water soluble pens black and brown.

(Southport has a lovely wide tree lined main street and they are building a Travelodge at one end.  It used to be an old Station, then the Ribble bus Station now Morrisions at the back.  They were taking down the scaffolding).  The paper reacted really well to the Stabilo and and I got some nice shadows using my water brush. The pen felt smooth against the lovely smooth paper. Was happy with experiment 1.

Second project was to use my Elegant Writer water soluble pen black. The ink spreads far more with this pen than the Stabilo.
I am particulary fond of this pen when I want to work really quickly.  Quick pen lines and a gentle touch with the water brush pen is all you need.  This sketch was a 'whoosh' sketch whilst waiting for the bus (not much more than 5 mins and a touch here and there on the bus (which wouldn't keep still) !  This process was perfect, the reaction of the ink and the brush pen, just what I wanted. Was happy with experiment 2.

Following day (actually this morning) there were some lovely clouds making the temperature a little more pleasant for my 45 min walk into town. Sat down at 8.45 am raring to go. Set out my mini watercolour travel set with my plastic double dipper (used for oils) as my water containers, that I can clip onto my paper, if required.

Third project was to use watercolour and pen.

Lord Street again with it's lovely glass verandahs and this is Costa Coffee. Did quick pencil sketch then put on the watercolour.  Here I came unstuck.  Even though it was hot the watercolour stayed on the surface of the silky smooth paper and wouldn't dry. It was in globules.  I did manage to mix colours on the paper, but my patience was tested even more when I tried to do the peoples clothes, the fine detail just were blobs. Consequently took me longer than if I had used watercolour paper.  Eventually, I added some waterproof ink marks. Good news is it didn't cockle.

Results mean that I will be restricted to my water soluble pens, otherwise the book might be flung to the far corners of the earth! Perhaps I should have ordered the Beta series.  Could anyone give me their opinion on what I thought was the ultimate sketchbook.