Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sketchbook Review: Two Favorites for Life Drawing

1/25/16 Sailor Nagomi brush pen, Canson All-Media Book (5-min. pose)
In the past few of years since I started attending life-drawing sessions somewhat regularly (at least during the wet-weather months), I’ve tried various sketchbook types and formats. I needed something larger than my usual 6-by-9-inch “Stefano” size, and since I burn through a lot of pages in a typical three-hour session, I wanted the paper to be relatively inexpensive yet friendly to a variety of media. The book had to be bound in a way that would make flipping quickly from page to page easy (during the very short poses that change without a break, it’s critical not to lose time fussing with materials).

A tall order? As usual, yes, but I’m really happy with the two favorites I’ve stuck with the past couple of years.

Canson Drawing Book and All-Media Book
During the one- and two-minute poses, I like using fast-moving non-hairy brush pens and markers, so the Canson Field Drawing Book’s smooth, cream-colored sheets are ideal. ( describes the paper as 80 pound, so the product must have changed over time, as the label on the ones I’ve been using says it’s 90 pound.) I’ve also used some traditional life-drawing media like Conte pencil and sanguine, and it’s a nice surface for those, too.

1/18/16 Zebra brush pen, Canson
Field Drawing Book (2-min. pose)
When the model starts doing longer poses, I enjoy using water-soluble media for shading, so I switch to the Canson Montval Field All-Media Book. The 90-pound sheets have a cold-press texture that feels a little toothier than the CansonXL 140-pound watercolor and Canson XL 98-pound mixed-media paper I’ve been using in my day-to-day sketchbook, and I like it for that reason. My hairy brush pens pick up the relatively coarse texture in a pleasing way. The paper weight is probably too light for a full-wash watercolor (which I’d be unlikely to do in life drawing anyway), but the sizing on it is ideal for washing water-soluble brush pen and fountain pen inks to subtly shade the human form. I’ve also used ink-filled waterbrushes and applied India ink to it with a twig, and the paper holds up well to both.

1/23/14 Conte pencil, Canson Drawing
In both cases, I use the 9-by-12-inch, hardcover, spiral-bound format. If I were sketching on-location, that size would be too big and heavy to carry around or use when standing. But in life drawing, where I always have a chair, the format works well: I prop one edge on my lap and hold it up like a self-easel, and the spiral binding makes it easy to flip the page quickly and turn the book over when a pose changes.

Carrying the two large sketchbooks (plus a case full of pens and pencils) in a tote is a bit heavier than my usual daily bag, but it’s a lot easier than the 18-by-24 portfolio bags I see the other figure-drawing participants hauling around! Compared to them, I’m always traveling light.

1/15/15 water-soluble colored pencil,
ink, Canson All-Media Book
(10-min. pose)
11/21/14 India ink, Canson All-Media
Book (20-min. pose)
11/21/14 fountain pen, Canson All-
Media Book (25-min. pose)

1 comment:

  1. Great to see what you are sketching in and sketching with. Nice figures!!!


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