Here’s another graphite and watercolor portrait from my series “learning a face.” It also happens to be in the Seawhite of Brighton Sketchbook which is 8 x 8 inches square (the one I’m working in). (Click on it to view an enlargement.)
Continue reading as I review working in watercolor in the Seawhite in this post.
I drew a quick sketch in graphite and then glazed in colors as earlier layers dried. I’m experimenting with some different colors for my skintones to suit what I’m seeing.
In the detail of the image you can see the graphite marks of my sketch. I didn't note down which pencil I was using. I think it was one of my Palomino Blackwing pencils.
Left: Heres a detail of the watercolor and graphite sketch so you can see what's going on.
Palomino Blackwing: Great pencil or simply a design fad because of a revised product? I don't know. I didn't use them when they were original. All I can say is they work well for me and I have them around because I use them for my sudoku puzzle in the morning! Typically I draw with Faber-Castell Graphite pencils in anything from 9H to 9B. But lately I've been using some lead holders and mechanical pencils. The reason it hasn't mattered too much to me is that I'm making only a very light sketch and not trying to build anything up. I just want some shapes down before I go in with watercolor—I could do that with a golf pencil.)
How is it to paint on this paper compared to watercolor paper? It doesn't flow the same at all as it isn't sized to flow wet media. But the smooth surface of the paper (it has some tooth, but is a fairly smooth surface, with a tight tooth) holds washes where you put them, soaks in (but not through) typically before you can deal with your edges, allows a little bit of reworking to reblend, also allows you to pick up too much with too little effort so you need al night touch glazing. I think it's fun to paint in these books, but then I typically don't paint on watercolor paper anyway. If you love watercolor paper this paper will drive you crazy. Oh, I also find it's easier to work small and puddle things.
With too much water and reworking you can actually work quickly through the paper and create weak spots where the paper will give way. But what's "too much"? You'll have to discover it for yourself. I have found that I can actually work a lot on this paper, and HARD, as long as I let areas dry solidly before I go at them again. Sometimes this is frustrating because I sketch quickly, but I find I can slow down if I concentrate on that. I think it's a useful paper.
If you go and look at my William Talman portrait here, you'll see a page spread that was really worked over with lots of different media. There isn't a lot of moisture in the Montana Markers compared to watercolor brushes, but I worked the page more too. A couple areas that I didn't let dry first were worked through. Just do some test pages and you'll find out what works for you.
If you work in pencil, color pencil, or pen, with light washes of watercolor that you don't go back into to change or glaze, than I think you'll find this a fun sketchbook to work in with your mixed media choices. (Recall my earlier comments that it is difficult to get this book to open flat on your scanner, if that matters to you.)
Below: See the full spread with my debriefing notes on the recto page when I finished the sketch.