Another Jack Richeson Recycled Watercolor Paper Test

August 9, 2012

120724DoveLeft: Dove at a nursing home aviary. Test using dip pen and brush with acrylic ink (Ziller Glossy Black) and then washes of Schmincke and M. Graham gouache; on the Jack Richeson Recycled Watercolor paper.

Here's another test on the Jack Richeson Recycled Watercolor paper I reviewed on July 21, 2012.

This is also a quarter sheet, so about 11 x 15 inches. I've been spending a lot of time studying the birds at the aviary in the nursing home where Phyllis is staying. I can't use acrylic ink there because I might spill it! But I took some photos and together with my sketches as reference did this Ziller Acrylic ink sketch (Glossy Black) using a dip pen (with a fine nib and one with a round calligraphy nib, the name of which I forget), and a no. 4 round brush (which I have dedicated to acrylic ink use—don't use your good sable brushes for this).

I wanted to see what ink did on this paper. Since it's cold press paper the fine nib was used gingerly so it wouldn't get clogged with fibers. I liked the way the ink line from the brush broke up because of the texture of the paper.

There are two places in the sketch where the ink bled—but that's because I'd deposited a lot of ink there and wasn't willing to let the ink dry. I could still see it was wet, but didn't care, wanted to start painting. If you wait a moment, the acrylic inks you use on this paper are going to dry nicely and this glossly black is quite vibrant on the paper.

Next I used a 2-inch flat to stroke colors across the drawing. I spread some of that around more with a paper towel. Finally I went in with a no. 4 round to do the darker layers. (The bird's beak really is that long.)

Again, I had great fun with this paper. It took the multiple washes well. I worked over some of the wet bits without pilling or roughing up the surface. I let my fingers smooth out some strokes. In general I just had a lot of fun. I think I'll be doing a lot of ink sketches on this paper, with some gouache washes. That's good—since my last post I purchased 100 sheets of this paper (so I was able to get it for 99 cents a sheet); I'll be able to play around with it at home, in the field, and in life drawing. 

    • Miss T
    • August 9, 2012

    How fortunate that Phyllis is staying in a place that has an aviary!!

  1. Reply

    When she had her knees replaced she was in a recovery nursing home that had one of these as well. Watching them is something we both enjoy! I think it must be a common feature.

    • Catherine Hubbard
    • August 13, 2012

    Roz, I too have been looking for an inexpensive watercolor paper to bring for the longer poses at life drawing sessions and agree with you that this can be it. After reading your first review, I ordered a bunch of it and have been testing it in various ways compared to more standard types of professional WC paper. It’s better than any “student” grade paper I have tried – they’re all horrors. I’m delighted with this paper for use in life drawing (I already dried it there and the person next to me whipped out her iPad and orderred 50 sheets of her own!) and for studies, to break that ever-present intimidation barrier.

    Here are my observations, using standard watercolors rather than gouache:
    1. LOW COST!
    2. Easy to make smooth washes – very hard to get backruns
    3. Very easy to lift, either wet or dry – only a soft wet brush plus blotting is needed, and I’d be concerned about using one of those bristly scrub brushes
    4. Resistant to buckling
    5. Takes pencils or drawing chalks really well
    6. Erases with no problem when using a soft plastic eraser
    7. Both sides usable, though one side does have a fairly marked parallel grain.
    8. Liquid resist (Pebeo Gum) was OK (but see below about tapes)

    1. For regular, mostly transparent watercolors, this paper does definitely dull the colors. I think this is both because the surface is a matte absorbent material and is very pale gray. (This effect should be minimized when using opaque media like gouache.)
    2. This paper did not tolerate any of the four resist tapes I tried and tore every time. These ranged in tackiness from masking tape down to the otherwise totally reliable transparent “Watercolor Washout Tape.” So doing watercolor paintings with lots of linear elements would not be a good idea on this paper unless the artist is deft at painting around the whites.

    So overall, this is a great find and I thank you for pointing it out. But people using standard watercolor should be aware that though it is great for informal situations like life drawing or studies, it may not be a good choice for their more formal projects. But at 99 cents a 22×30 sheet (in quantity), what more can you ask for?

  2. Reply

    Catherine, I’m so glad that you got some and that is has been useful for you. We seem to have done parallel tests. I haven’t tried to erase on it so that’s good to know. Besides the bristly scrub brushes I think the Bristlton (sp?) line would also be too stiff for this paper.

    I’m finding it lovely for watercolor and gouache (the gray-ish tinge when compared to other watercolor sheets doesn’t bother me at all.

    Keep having fun and sharing the word.

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