Part 3 of My Leuchtturm 1917 Sketchbook Review

August 12, 2014

140617_LeucGouacheTestLeft: Direct brush sketching with gouache in the Leuchtturm 1917 Sketchbook. (I used the colors that were already out on my palette for another project. I feel I have to state that because Dick just walked into the room as I was typing this and said, "You really don't care how far you go do you?" And of course I replied, "No, I don't.")

In June I tested the Leuchtturm 1917 Sketchbook. You can read the first part of this review at that link. Keep in mind that I am writing about the SKETCHBOOK, not the notebook!

(Last year for 2013 International Fake Journal Month I used a Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook with a dotted grid pattern on the pages—the paper is lighter weight. I still worked in mixed media in that book but don't recommend you just dive into it without careful consideration.)

I followed up with Part Two of My Review of the Leuchtturm 1917 SKETCHBOOK here

In that review I promised to do a gouache painting on the paper and report back. That's what I'm doing today.

For this sketch I began with a Montana Marker in Shock pink and did a quick contour of the head and put in some pink solid areas on the cheek and forehead. Then I added a few minimal lines with the black pigmented brush pen from Pentel. You actually can see very few of those lines. Most of what you see as "black" here is actually a mix of complementary pigments to create a very dark neutral. The lines at the top of the nose going into the forehead are some of the original ink lines and you can see some of those lines at the top right in the hair near the pink background.

Next I painted in thick layers of gouache, refining the features within the structure I'd created. This is important. I wasn't using a lot of wet-wet washes. I was controlling my water. I did use a bit more water at the throat, you can see some granulation happening. Even there the paint didn't bleed through the paper. I think the pigments in the gouache are just too thick to go through. 

Next I outlined the entire sketch with Montana Marker Shock pink. Then I applied blue gouache over the pink background on the left.

As I've said in other parts of this review, the paper has a bit of tooth and it drags at your brush (this may not appeal to everyone), and while I had no trouble with any seepage of acrylic paint or of traditional gouache seeping through this page onto the next page, that's only because I was very careful with my water usage. In part 2 I explained how traditional watercolors did have a tendency to seep through the paper, inconsistently, but usually where the most reworking or use of water occurred.

I don't mind altering my painting style to accommodate different papers. I do that all the time. So if someone asked me if I'd ever get another book like this I'd say sure! Is it the most fun paper to work on? Nope. And if I were going to work with traditional watercolors I wouldn't select this book.

In fact I spent the rest of the book working in brush pen and acrylic paint markers. I'll show you those drawings I'm sure in the near future. But I wanted first to complete my promise to you.

I still would recommend this book mostly to pencil and colored pencil users, and people working with ink brush pens who don't mind some paper drag on the brush.

The book is exceptionally well made and I have to tell you that about half way through the book I got the crazy notion that it was so well-made I could open it up and pull the front and back cover back so that they actually touched—which of course with most books would cause the binding to crack and ruin the book.

Well, I gave into my hunch and indeed did pull the covers back upon themselves. I could hold them folded back on themselves like that and sketch—just as you would when you fold a wirebound book back.

I was rather amazed.

If this company ever starts making a watercolor journal with as much skill and care and a responsive, quality watercolor paper, they might just create the perfect book. That would really be something to see.

    • Tina
    • August 12, 2014

    I totally agree that if Leuchtturm made a real watercolor notebook, it would be PERFECT! What can we do to influence this?? Throw some weight around with them, would ya?

    – Tina

  1. Reply

    I wish I could. I don’t know anyone at the company. They found my earlier review (probably through a Google-alert) and re-tweeted it. So maybe they will find this and think about it.

    Tina, You can imagine how I smiled when I turned that book on itself!

    And wouldn’t it be fun to have a watercolor sketchbook in portrait orientation! (one that I don’t have to bind that is)?!


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