My Big Blue-Paged Journal from England

May 9, 2012

View the full post for details and additional images.

120418StandupHairLeft: Portion of a page (the page is actually square) from my big blue-paged journal. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen sketch.

You've already seen this mid-value blue paper in an earlier post on using the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. This is the paper used by John Purcell Paper in the 11-5/8 x 11-7/8 inch book I purchased from them last year. I'm using this large journal for my current in-studio journal, which means it basically stays at home so that I don't have to lug it around. 

I'm not sure what type of paper they have used here, but it is very heavy weight and has a wonderful laid texture on one side and a flat, more felt-like texture on the other side. (Paper surfaces are not matched across the spreads so sometimes you're working on two different surfaces as you work across the gutter.)

I originally pulled this journal off the shelf for work at this time because I was doing a lot of experimentation with gouache. The techniques I was using (swiping the gouache away with a paper towel) are not suitable for this rather rougher paper, but gouache used directly with a brush on this surface is marvelous . You'll see some examples of my paintings on this paper in the upcoming "Project Friday," as well as other regular posts for as long as I'm still filling the book.

The paper isn't a watercolor paper, but I have had no trouble, because of its heavy weight, using gouache on its surface. There is only minor buckling when the paint is wet and then it dries flat, so I wouldn't even call it buckling. The reverse side of the page is not altered in any way that prevents use of paint on it.


Above: Sketches of a pug from this journal. It's a pain to scan this journal as each page is not only too wide but too tall for my scanner, so I have clipped some of the base of the page off to keep it down to 3 scans per spread to knit together.

Note: You can see a detail of the pug sketch on the left in last Friday's Project Friday post. There you can easily see the laid texture of the paper.

120419PugDetailEye2Left: In this detail of the eye from the dog on the right-hand page you can see the texture is more felt-like. This is the reverse side of the sheet used to make this book, and on this spread you would be working on both surfaces as you work across the spread. Since the pages are so large in this book I find that I'm staying pretty much on one page. In a smaller book this might be more of a problem, adjusting my technique as I move across the spread.

Now because the paper is such a dark blue I have been using the paint fairly dry in an opaque manner. I would not expect to slop on watery washes and have great results (either visually or physcially with the paper's structure). I will say that the paper accepts a lot of reworking if I'm conscious of the drying speeds of the paint and keep moisture down when I go back in to rework. 

In short I could see working on this paper a lot in the future, except for the fact that with shipping the book was so expensive (read the link above to learn about the purchase experience).

The book is nicely constructed as described in the purchase post. Upon use, this particular paper does tend to pull apart at the glue seams between the signatures (which are every 8 pages), but because of the way the fabric spine covering has been applied, and the general well-done construction, this is not a disaster. It's simply a function of the paper surface not holding the glue at that point, and not a deal breaker for me.

Again, the deal breaker for buying more of these books is that shipping cost. I haven't traveled to London in a long, long time. If I ever do return I have it at the top of my list to visit the John Purcell Paper store and purchase journals to bring home. If you live in England and don't make your own books you might want to check this vendor out. (I'm not connected in any way except that I purchased 3 journals from them last year.)

  1. Reply

    I love how the texture of this paper affects your marks. I’m working on an art book that I got for 50 cents at the library, it has lovely laid paper, and half of the writing is in Hebrew, makes it even more fun in a way. A one time deal but hey it’s a blast to use the PPBP on. Time to go grab something else out of the flat file though, maybe some of that stipple paper that a certain cunning person encouraged me to buy. Time to go play with paper and PPBP…

  2. Roz — I always enjoy seeing how you draw heads. And birds. And dogs. Well, this head is especially interesting. He’s not from Jersey, is he?

  3. Reply

    Katherine, I think he might be—is that a style in Jersey? I was channel flipping and there was some dance show (reality) with kids (I don’t think it was that one where the woman screams all the time, I can’t even look at her for 10 seconds). I had to draw something and that hair is just too interesting.

    I liked his ear.

  4. Reply

    Margo, I’m glad that you are enjoying your “one-time” book. I think they should be enjoyed. I think you will really enjoy the stipple paper because it is both smooth and textured—it’s like the Certes Mints of paper, two papers in one!

    I’m going to go use some right now (coquille paper, not mints, I can’t stand mints).

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