Most, if not all sketchbooks have the same type of paper throughout. That’s perfect if you work with a single medium meaning you can choose a book with heavy watercolour paper if you intend to include lots of paint, or lovely coloured pastel paper if soft pastels are your favourite thing. Most of us though work with a variety of mediums and techniques and finding the perfect all rounder of a book is tricky. I’d always recommend buying a good quality sketchbook that has pages that will tolerate most everything you want to throw at them! Sadly it may be that that perfect book doesn’t actually exist unless you make it yourself but, you can easily customise pages in a commercial sketchbook to make them suit your intentions.
In the image above notice the rough brush marks. These have been left intentionally when I applied a layer of white gesso to the very smooth and shiny paper. I deliberately made the brush marks change direction and tried my best not to smooth them flat by using a really coarse hog bristle brush.
You can see what a difference the gesso has made to the surface quality. The drawing was made using Derwent Inktense pencils which have picked up and accentuated the rough texture of the surface and where a wash of water was added, the colour has settled into the nooks and crannies created by the ridges of the brush marks.
The texture is particularly obvious here where the image hopefully shows how much character the gesso adds to the final effect. If you love working on a perfectly smooth and slick paper surface this technique isn’t for you but if plain paper is sometimes a little boring give gesso a try -maybe like me you’ll love it!
Enjoy your sketchbook – it’s one of life’s simple pleasures in a world gone mad!
Bye for now – Linda