Saturday, March 20, 2021

Paper Pleasures


3/18/21 Iroshizuku Yama-budo ink, Cd'A Museum Aquarelle pencils and Boku-Undo
sumi watercolor on various Legion Stonehenge papers
As you know, I always enjoy trying out new art materials and tools, but paper is one category I’m less apt to experiment with willy-nilly. Although paper is an integral part of the art medium equation, as an urban sketcher, I have other factors to consider besides the paper quality itself that may require tradeoffs: Most critically, the sketchbook size and format. Even if I fell in love with a particular paper, if I didn’t like the book it came in, it might be a deal-breaker. It’s been two years since I stopped hand-binding my sketchbooks, so I generally don’t consider unbound papers anymore.

I’m working on a review of the Legion Stonehenge paper sampler set for the Well-Appointed Desk, and it’s giving me a fun paper-testing fix that I don’t give myself often. All of the papers seem high-quality and mixed-media friendly, which makes the testing all the more pleasurable. As I test, my favorite Stillman & Birn books are my personal yardstick against which all other papers are measured. An unbound Legion paper or a sketchbook containing Legion paper would have to leap high to reach that (metaphorically mixed) bar. I hope I don’t fall in love with any sample, or it will throw me into a new paper tizzy (I haven’t had one of those since I returned from the Netherlands nearly two years ago!).

On the other hand, I must remind myself that I still use plenty of paper at home and in the (real and virtual) classroom regularly, so portability is not always a factor. I wouldn’t hesitate to spring for a fresh pad of unbound paper if it was the right paper. My mind is open.

The Legion samples are 2 ½ by 3 ¾ inches, so these tiny paper pads are stretching my sketch-scaling muscles. Fortunately, my trusty head of garlic fits just right.


  1. Legion used to give an entire box of about 5x7 sized papers. I'll send a photo if I still have it on the shelf.

    As you may remember, for some years now, my favorite watercolor paper is Legion Stonehenge Aqua, 140#, 100% cotton. I last bought a pack of 10 (or 20?)22x30 sheets at Daniel Smith store so I've been working through it for a year now. I either use loose sheets or I punch it to fit my disc bound sketchbooks. For a couple trips, I did sewed a 4 folios into a one signature sketch pamphlet.

    1. I'm hoping I won't fall in love with it, but I'm tempted to buy a 9x12 pad of the lighter weight cotton and try making a few signatures. It's got such a nice surface.

  2. I love tiny sketch papers...but then what do you do with these tiny treasures you've created?

    Blogger is giving me problems posting on other people's blogs, so if I don't post on yours every day please forgive me. It is frustrating!

  3. It seems if you are the first blog I respond to after doing my post it usually goes through. Otherwise it usually won't.

    1. Oh, that's weird! As you know, I couldn't use my PC to make comments for months. Then suddenly I could again! I kind of hate Blogger! ;-)


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