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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Working on Toned Paper

Have you tried toned paper in your journal?  All those in the montage above are from various of my own journals, and as you can see, it is an interesting and very dimensional effect!  I bind my own journals so I can have paper I enjoy working on, but you can buy toned paper sketchbooks or journals too.  (Fabriano makes one that has REALLY bright colors in it!)

Gouache works well on toned paper, of course...I have a small kit I carry with me that lets me work on the spot.  This is a wild geranium in our local park (I can never see the detail from a photo as I can in person.)

This is Prismacolor colored pencil on black...my spoiled kitty Merlin!

Watercolor pencil makes an interesting effect on toned paper too...it's a bit translucent, but nice...

I used a bit more color on this fountain sketch, but not much...again, this was colored pencil, with a bit of white gouache for the water.

You can use only two sketching tools, a dark and a light, to make your images pop!  These were just quick sketches at a family birthday party.  That's what I used on the sketch of my husband, wearing glasses in the montage--a dark colored pencil and a white one, from Prismacolor--and on the little parking-lot people at lower left in that same image.

And of course, you can tone your own paper, with watercolor, ink, or acrylics, if you're working in an existing journal!  You've got even more freedom in that case...

A very quick way to bring your journal sketches to life!  Give it a try...

*Note:  By the way that bottom sketch was from a live concert we attended, Acoustic Eidolon!  Here's the link to their webpage, with a bit of their music...wonderful.


  1. Lovely sketches on toned paper....love your work!

  2. I always love your toned paper art - and get enthused to buy some. Then I forget! It is going on my list for the next trip to the art store

  3. Thank you both...I really love working on toned paper, it's magic! Almost like sculpting, pulling that simple image off the page...

  4. Nice! I especially love the geranium and Merlin (I'm quite partial to cats and you capture them so well). :)

  5. Your sketches on toned paper are so dramatic and beautiful, Kate. It would be interesting to know which papers you are using, and which ones you prefer to work on.

  6. Thank you both! (I'm pretty fond of cats myself, Rita!)

    Maria, the black is Stonehenge, the fountain one is Nideggan I think, and the birthday party boys are Canson MiTientes, I believe.


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