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I Love My Watercolor Sketchbook

I've always had a sketchbook on hand to toss a doodle in if the moment struck me. At least, for as long as I can remember I have. They've all been sketchbooks geared towards pen and pencil sketches as far as paper weight, quality, and such goes. I leaned towards the cheaper drawing pads and such for a while because I figured that would be the best way to go. Until I finally spent a little extra money on a two pack of watercolor sketchbooks.

I abused my previous sketchbooks.

It was actually pretty brutal, now that I think about it. These were lower-end sketchbooks designed for graphite, charcoal, and MAYBE ink on a good day.

Do I stick to using those mediums only within these budget sketchbooks?

No, no I do not.

I've slapped markers, acrylic paint, watercolors, gauche and just about everything else

under the sun at these little suckers. They've held up relatively well, to be honest. Sure, some stuff bled through the pages pretty bad, and some feathered out so badly when applied that a crisp line was not an option, but what did I expect from cheap paper? All in all, they took whatever I threw at them. So I can't say that I've been disappointed, just that I've been unkind to these books.

The Revelation

The day I decided to get sketchbook that said it was specifically for watercolor was a day that forever changed the way I approach my sketchbooks. Being able to sketch,

doodle, and experiment with "wet" mediums like fluid inks and paints in my sketchbook, without it protesting, has been a truly eye opening experience.

Not only does the paper hold up better to paints being thrown at it, but the colors for my watercolors seem to look more vivd. Not sure if that's actually legit, or not, but I think it has something to do with the types of pigments used in paints and how they lay onto, or absorb into, the paper.

My Conclusions

I feel like my main takeaway from this experience has been that the paper you use matters more than you'd realize. There's a reason some sketchbooks or paper pads cost a little bit more than others. It's also important to make sure you're using the CORRECT paper or surface for the medium you'll be throwing at it. Alcohol markers, for example, will burn through TONS of ink on watercolor paper. This is because the paper is designed to soak up massive amounts of moisture. So, it will literally suck the SOUL out of your markers. Alternatively, watercolor wouldn't work well on marker paper, because the very wet paint would just roll around on the surface and take forever to dry.

I think making smarter choices with the types of paper we use for what projects could really help a lot of artists. It certainly helped me!



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