What’s on the Table?—The Curl of the Paper

December 11, 2017
The large, about 9 x 11 inch Japanese Lined Journal that I love to sketch in with the Pentel Brush Pen and Acrylic Markers. Carl Too is standing around watching the paper dry.

I just love working in my favorite Japanese Lined Journals from APICA. The paper loves the Pentel Brush Pen. Sometimes I work in gouache on this paper, but sometimes I leave the sketch as is and turn the page. Other times I put in an acrylic marker background.

I used an orange 15mm wide Montana Acrylic Marker (waterbased—not solvent!) marker to put in the background after I’d finished my brush pen sketch.

The paper in these APICA journals is lightweight so any wet media will crinkle and warp the paper, but the acrylic marker bends the paper in really fun ways, and puckers it across the spread. I love that. And of course the journals, when full make the most amazing sound when you leaf through them. 

Close up of the curl. It doesn’t curl tight until I finish applying the background—the drying paint pulls the paper into a curl.

In the second image on the left here I give you a close up of the curl. Yes it is intense. You have to be careful when unrolling it and closing the book.

Of course it has to be completely dry.

I then close the book and weight it for about 30 minutes. After that the page is flat enough that you can open and close the book without worrying that you’ll fold an edge over. And it’s also flat enough that you can write on the page—or paint on it with gouache if that’s what you’re interested in trying.

The canned image “flattened” out—but there will always be some crinkle left on the pages even after it is scrunched into a tightly fitting shelf for years and years! After scanning this I wrote on the recto page about my day.

If you go to my category list and scroll to “Japanese Lined Journals” the blog will shoot out a long list of other examples of my work in these journals.

A large 50-page journal like this costs under 9 bucks, has sewn signatures, paper great for dip pen and brush pen (and of course fountain pen if that’s your preference), and will also work for gouache and acrylic marker. That’s a lot of fun.

(And nope I don’t have any stock in the company. You can find these locally at Wet Paint in St. Paul, or online at Jet Pens if you aren’t local.)





  1. Reply

    Wow, you embraced the wrinkle! I find that a daring approach that embraces the messiness of life.

    1. Reply

      I certainly did. I’m always telling my students to embrace the mess and this is one of the many reasons why. I just think this paper is so fun to work on why would I let a little thing like paper curl deter me???!!! (It doesn’t always curl that much—sometimes because I have more sketch distributed over the spread there are larger areas that are unpainted and that holds the curl down. And some of my markers aren’t always as full as this one was. And the working conditions (humidity) will also make a difference.

      It all dries very quickly and I did a painting on the following spread with no difficulties. BONUS—on the next spread that first page (verso) is bubbled because of the paint you see on this spread. It allows me to get interesting textures on that page if I want to when I paint on it!

      Have fun.

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