Wednesday, 1 May 2013

All Change!

There has been a flurry of debate amongst my botanical chums and colleagues recently about, paper! Yes, it's paper again. It is important to get this thing right as the kind of paper you use can have a dramatic impact on the work you do. Since beginning the SBA DLDC, I have used Fabriano Classico 5, as this is the paper provided in the course materials. Although I am pleased with the results and quite like using it, I feel now is the time to try something else. Some things however, will always stay the same.

Favourite kit.
These are some of  the things I cannot do without.
My lovely jewellers loupe, (bought for me by my brother);
My old and trusted Rotring technical pens in sizes .25 and .35
Faber Castell H pencil; ceramic palettes and of course brushes.
These are Rowney 'Diana' size 3 and da Vinci Maestro 35 size 1.
I have also started using Rosemary & Co. brushes. 
There are loads of paper manufacturers that make Hot Press paper and most are available as either blocks or loose sheets. many botanical artists prefer to use the loose sheets and I too feel this is the way to go. After reading Katherine Tyrrells recent posts about the recent RHS Gold Medal winners in London, Fabriano appears to be the make of choice, considering how many mentions it gets by the artists' she spoke to. Their Artistico HP paper is very popular and comes in two finishes, Traditional and Extra White. There has been some confusion with which side is 'the right side' to use when Artistico is bought as a block and there has been some suggestion that the factory sometimes stack the paper upside-down. Apparently there is a fine mesh pattern on the paper and this should be treated as the back-side. Handy to know but why don't they say that.

The Fabriano Classico 5 'Fat Pad'.
These pads saw me through the SBA course.
A3 for the assignments and A4 for the sketchbook
Saunders Waterford from legendary paper manufactures St. Cuthbert's Mill has just made available a greater range of papers. The new 'High White' is now available as the heavier 300lb (640gsm), helpful is you have a tendency to work quite wet. I have heard that Saunders paper can be quite difficult to work on, but I am willing to 'test-drive' the surface and see how it goes. Arches Aquarelle is another top choice and this paper is available in all of the weights and all of the sizes, going up to 400lb in full imperial sheets. Arches is the classic 'step-up' for those of us looking to try something new from our student materials. Again I have heard this one to be a tricky surface for some, but like the others, I will give it a go and feedback later.

Also on the horizon for a test run, are some gorgeous new sketchbooks from Stillman & Birn. These will have to go some to beat Moleskine's watercolour sketchbooks. If they are good enough for Hemingway, they are good enough for me!




enjoy using different papers ... fabriano HP is beautiful to work on .... i also love the paper of moleskine sketchbooks

Debbie Nolan said...

Thank you so much for sharing your insight on the different papers. I enjoy using Arches HP when working with pen and ink - will have to try Fabriano's HP - I love their cold press for watercolor painting. Anxious to here if you like Stillman and Birn - I see Daniel Smith has them in their inventory. Thanks to for stopping to visit my yours are beautiful as well.