Goldilocks and the 3 Sketchbooks

I’m a fickle lover. One day I’m passionately in love with the one right in front of me. The next day, I’m on to a new one. I’m talking about sketchbooks of course.  As evidenced by this photo, I’ve tried a lot of different kinds over the years.

For a while, I was hooked on the Fabriano Quadrato Artist's Sketchbook.  the Ingres laid drawing paper in neutral earth tones took ink with ease. The large, square shape fit perfectly in my lap while I was stretched out on a beach lounge. The paper is made for dry media however, warping and waving at the touch of watercolor. The soft covers didn’t really support sketching on the move.  My love faded and I moved on.

I discovered the Moleskin Japanese Pocket Album: one long piece of heavyweight paper folded into 60 accordian pages. I loved the travel-friendly size and the “story” that seemed to organically arise, connecting one sketch to the next, as the album unfolded.  It took ink easily but seemed to almost resist my watercolor. The heavy paper didn’t warp, but watercolor slid around the slick pages and and drying time frustrated me.  Like a grown-up-Goldilocks, I was ultimately unsatisfied and I moved on.

My current love is the Stillman & Birn Epsilon: hardcover; white, smooth, heavyweight paper accepting both ink and watercolor with ease.  Almost perfect!  But the price of this wonderful book makes me fearful of making “bad” sketches or to “waste” paper.  I’m feeling the “itch” to try something new.

A large bound stack of handmade Papier Canal I picked up at the mill, Papeterie Saint-Armand in Montreal, last year is now tempting me with its siren song. .Up to now, I’ve resisted its lure;  using it only sparingly for Zentangle projects.  However, I now find myself daydreaming about its its smooth handmade surface and lovely neutral gray and tan colors.  As I said above: I’m a fickle lover.

Anne Dana