Testing Papers for the 2018 Minnesota State Fair

September 24, 2018
A pen and watercolor sketch on Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper.

Before I go to the Fair each year I test a bunch of papers to see which bound book (containing that paper) I want to take and work with, or which loose sheets I want to carry and work upon.

On this sheet I also worked with a Niji Waterbrush. I knew that for some of my Fair visit I wouldn’t be able to use my portable monopod table because of the narrow spacing between crate aisles. Without the portable table I would have to use a Niji Waterbrush, so I wanted to make sure I was feeling happy with the way I could push the paint around with that tool on this paper. (I was holding the sheet at an angle, hence the drip down the page.)

At this point I knew I wanted to carry journal cards. I would be using 300 lb. paper.  These would be stiff enough to hold alone or with a light piece of board on days when I wasn’t using my portable monopod table.

This sketch made my mind up. I marched upstairs with some 22 x 30 inch sheets of this paper and trimmed them down to 8 x 11 inch pieces which would be the journal cards I carried and used through my 2018 Minnesota State Fair visits. (I’ll be posting a gallery of pages at the end of the month.)

Detail from today’s sketch.

At this point I’ve spent the summer testing a bunch of papers in the course of my normal daily drawing process. I have a sense of what I want to do this year at the Fair, the size I want to work in, and then it’s a matter of deciding which paper I want to live and work with for 9 hour days during the Fair. (This year I only went for 3 nine hour days, but you don’t know that when you’re making your decision.) Overall I was very happy with my decision as this paper works well with the pens I’d been working the most with over the summer. (I’ll discuss those when the pages go up.)






    • Ann Bodkhe
    • September 24, 2018

    Hi Roz,
    What do you use for a monopod and how does it attach to your board? I’ve been using a coroplast folding board for a few years now but have never thought about mounting it to something. Thanks!

    1. Reply

      There’s a photo of me somewhere on the blog with the whole set up but I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s under. And it doesn’t pop out at me when I search the blog for MN State Fair.

      So I can’t show you a photo, but basically it’s an inexpensive and lightweight monopod that has a ball head so that I can rotate it flat or at an angle (great for when I’m painting). And on the top of that there is a standard camera thread that can go into a camera. You need the female thread that matches that.

      I have a coroplast table top right now because 1. the first prototype was lost and we had too much eldercare to do anything about it until this year’s Fair when we made a new prototype also of coroplast. Both have simply had a thin block of wood (deep enough to hold the female screw bit—I don’t know the technical name for that and Dick isn’t here, that you’ll screw the thread from the monopod into.)

      You can simply take your monopod to the hardware and tell them that you want the matching female thread bit for the monopod. They’ll show you which one to get.

      Then drill a hole into your wood mount to insert that thread bit and attach the wood block to the back of your table. Then when you want to use the table simply screw the monopod into the mounting board you’ve just made.

      You might also be able to get pre-made mounting boards to screw your monopod head into. I would take the monopod to the photo equipment store and ask them. That might save you some trips. And some trouble. I find that living with an engineer sometimes things get much more complicated than they need to be because he wants to make everything from scratch.

      When we have some breathing room, I hope at the end of the year, we will make the final table top and there will be a blog post detailing everything (with the proper names of things), but our lives are too “crazy” right now to do that.

      This should get you going since you already have your coroplast top. Unless you’re going to use a really heavy sketch book you may find that you don’t need anything else.

      You might also go over to James Gurney’s blog Gurney Journey. Several of my students and friends have made travel easels based on the design of Gurney’s and he has all the info about the different parts he used, the hardware etc. There might be something there that you want to do for your stand.

      And basically it doesn’t matter if you put it on the monopod or the tripod because both those devises, as well as all standard cameras, use the same thread size and need the same female thread to screw into.

      Have fun building a your table top.

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