Handmade Sketchbooks, Paint and Pencil works – Colours From Our Long, Hot, Australian Summer

*The beginnings of a work on A3 size watercolour paper: charcoal pencil, acrylic and gouache…

Back from my annual blogging break. When I left I mentioned the fires that were already burning – they continued on…with with many more to follow. My overseas visitors may well have heard about this on the news.

A few landscape artworks
The top painting is acrylic and gouache. 8” x 10”. Bottom left is coloured pencil and watercolour on “Toned Blue, Strathmore Mixed Media“ paper. A6 Size. Bottom right, a tiny sketch and watercolour, in a book I made. A page is 7cm by 10cm. I describe these further along.

Sadly, so much loss and destruction; the fires came too close to us for comfort.

We had weeks of heavy smoke; and I couldn’t see much of the landscape. However I did these from memory and imagination. With the ever present fires a definite influence on my colour choices!

A tree drawing

Lately I’ve enjoyed doing more work in coloured pencil, as well as: ink pen, watercolour/gouache, and using my Inktense ink palette. Often mixing them all together within the one work.

I often like to draw and paint in small, miniature sizes; and made some A6 size and under, sketchbooks.

To make them I used a long-armed stapler – such a handy tool! – to staple together various types of paper; using a common binding method called a saddle stitch. I would also like to make some using a needle and thread. I’m filling them up quickly – a fun addition for daily (draw most days) drawing/watercolour practice. And a convenient way to try out various papers.

I may make more of my little hand-made, illustrated poem books with a stapled, or a cotton sewn saddle stitch. I’ve worked out a “template” in the “Pages” app, to print the pages via the iPad.

Some sketchbooks
A few of the papers I’m using are: cotton, 300gsm Art Spectrum paper, for some of the covers. Thinner but strong papers for inside pages, eg: Canson Mi tientes (coloured) paper 160gsm, Canson Montval 185gsm watercolour paper….The sketchbook on the far right is only 7cm x 5cm.

It’s difficult to find a paper which works well with both dry and wet art media. I’m also trying Fabriano extra white, hot pressed, cotton paper – so far I like it a lot, but it’s fairly expensive.

Landscape drawing
Pencil, watercolour and gouache…in a tiny home-made 10cm x 7cm sketchbook. A green pastel paper, can’t find the cover with the name on it…however, I was concerned it may not be eco friendly paper – pity cos it’s rather nice.
This delightful little book, roughly A6 size… was given to me by a friend. It’s made with Elephant dung and post consumer waste paper! Love it’s unusual flecked appearance. Takes pencil and ink pen well, and although it doesn’t let the watercolour run, I can still make some interesting marks with it. More info here.

The fires are finally out, we’ve also had some fierce winds, and now we have almost an over abundance of rain! A wild month or so of weather… but much to be thankful† for.

Enjoy your day!

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