Things You Find in Your Digital Archive

July 27, 2022
A quick sketch made with Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pen and watercolor in a Hahnemühle Travel Journal. (Photo reference from Sktchy by Museum App.)

I thought I started using the Hahnemühle Travel Journal well before 2019, but my journals are all in storage for the downsizing.

I’m just now going through some digital files trying to rebuild my archive.

It’s fun to take a quick look at the past with these scans.

Today I found this sketch and I’m pretty sure it’s the first one I did in my first Hahnemühle Travel Journal. The bent crease at the gutter confirms this is the first page spread of the book. (I always leave the first recto page to add a date span and volume identification when I start a new journal so this would be the first working page.)

I remember too, that I was tentative about working with watercolor on this drawing paper filled book.

If the journal was going to work for me going forward it would have to be amenable to some sort of dashed off use of watercolor at the bare minimum. And here I am with tints of watered down color trying to see where the pushing point of the paper is.

I didn’t reach it on this day and I embarked on a wonderful journey with these books. I always have one in progress sitting in the studio. Something I can pick up for jotting down ideas, making thumbnails of large projects, or picking up to sketch something while watching TV.

Often I don’t use watercolor at all. I just enjoy the tooth of the paper creating just the right amount of drag with my favorite pens.

Since this time I’ve definitely pushed the paper past this point, into pilling and bleed through. But I’m always amazed at how strong the paper is given that it’s a drawing paper and not sized for wet media.

Sometimes when I’m out of sorts I realize that what I need is to draw and paint on this paper, make some quick notes, think some things through. Then, after a few moments energy is restored, thoughts cleared and it’s full speed ahead.

Note: One of my friends tried this book on my recommendation and didn’t like it for painting at all. I have promised, with his permission, to post that as a full review of the book, but I’m still trying to locate that material in my disassembled archive. When I do I’ll post it.

Do you have a favorite non-art paper you like to paint on, despite the disagreement and urging of your art friends (who think you’re crazy to paint on it)? I’d love to hear about it.

I think everyone needs a book that can center and ground them. For me this book reminds me of books I used when I was younger and couldn’t buy watercolor sketchbooks. It is smaller, though, at about 6 x 8 inches, and therefore more compact and portable. That’s a plus. No reason not to have it with me all the time. A comfort blanket in the form of pages I can “curl up” with.

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