Part Two of My Review of the Leuchtturm 1917 SKETCHBOOK

June 16, 2014


Above: A page spread in my Master (largest size) Leuchtturm 1917 Sketchbook using wet media detailed below. It takes me 6 scans to capture one of these spreads so I simply took a photo tonight in interest of speed. Click on the image to view an enlargement—then you'll also be able to see the order of application of different media.

Since I published the first part of my review of the Leuchtturm 1917 SKETCHBOOK (note this is not one of their Notebooks which has lighter weight paper—the SKETCHBOOK has 180 g/m2 paper) I was able to play around a little more with the paper and some wet media—specifically some pigmented inks and watercolor.

140614_YellowInk0849Left: The finished pen sketch with the strokes of Indian Yellow FW Acrylic ink, applied loosely with a 3 inch wide brush, undiluted, but there was light misting on the page.

First I sketched the direct brush portrait with a fine tipped Pentel Brush Pen which contains pigmented ink. Next I used FW Acrylic Inks in wide brush strokes first. It's a pigmented ink. No bleed through, even though I first lightly misted the page to aid with the spread of color.

I followed this with layers of M. Graham watercolors and Montana and Sharpie Poster Markers. No bleed through on any of it.

I dried each layer with the hairdryer, within a couple minutes of each wet application (i.e., not immediately, because some layers I ran out of the paint on my palette and I let the colors pool on the paper while I got more out).


Left: Here's a detail of the brushwork and the first layer—Indian Yellow FW Acrylic ink, applied loosely with a 3 inch wide brush, undiluted, but there was light misting on the page.

One drip of pure water fell near a watercolor area early on and was wet for a long time there and a tiny bit of color (pinprick) seeped through, but that's all on this entire spread.

I suppose one could say, well the acrylic ink created a film that prevented the watercolors from seeping through—however, that can't be the reason.

The place where I put the wettest, heaviest amount of watercolor paint was at the throat and there was no yellow ink to protect the page there. There was no seepage there.

So pigmented media do alright so far. The moisture from the wet media does buckle the paper a little, but it's on par with other papers in its weight class and I'm not put off by it.

I hope sometime to do a gouache painting in this journal and see how it works on this paper.

Other watercolor approaches on this paper:

I did do one other test with watercolor—I sketched a quick figure and applied some washes mostly wet-in-wet. The results weren't great. The paper takes the paint where you put it and holds it there. (With watercolor papers you can float the paint around a bit.) So the results were a little streaky. Also where I blended and added new colors wet-in-wet the paper was starting to wear under the action of my brush—you cannot be agressive with this paper when it's wet, hence my approach when I did the yellow-ink portrait to dry each layer before continuing with the next.

I don't have a scan or photo of that small sketch because it's boring and the above paragraph gives you all the heads up you'll need.

If you want to work with watercolors using all the traditional techniques of wet-in-wet, glazing, etc. you are probably going to be frustrated with the paper in this journal.

If you don't mind adapting your watercolor techniques and working with a different amount of water than you might usually do, using your brush in a different way, and even letting the paint dry before you go on (which you may or may not do already) then you'll be able to have some fun with the paper and create some interesting wet media pieces.

But if your goal is to work on your traditional watercolor skills, or if you enjoy always really beating up a paper by applying lots of paint wet-in-wet and scrubbing out, don't jump into this book until you already have a catalog of techniques and approaches you'll be comfortable using and adapting. Save yourself the frustration.

Check back another day for Part III of this review.

  1. Reply

    LOVE the color scheme and dramatic sketch today!

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