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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

new year, 2 new journals (a post from my blog)

new year, two new journals by vickylw
new year, two new journals, a photo by vickylw on Flickr.
My latest hand-bound journal is filled with Niddigan print paper, which works better with gouache or ink work than watercolor. The paper is very light-weight, with an interesting texture -- I'm not sure if I can paint on both sides of a sheet or not yet. I bought two full sheets, the normal amount used per sketchbook, but the paper is so much thinner than the watercolor paper I normally use I added some pages of toned Fabriano Tiziano paper.

I also started a watercolor Moleskine, bought very cheaply at Border's ending-business sale, for those times when I want to use watercolor. It fits in my purse easier. The paper makes watercolors look a bit dull, but it's just to play in.

updated gouache palette

The above is the first page of the Niddigan journal -- I always include a palette sketch on the first page of each new journal. It seems to make the journal less "new" and easier to pick up for simple sketches. This shows my updated gouache palette, with some recently purchased colors. I especially love the cool red (quinacridone rose) from M. Graham, but it seems to stay sticky instead of drying in the pan. My other color choices were largely inspired by those of Roz Stendahl -- she does amazing gouache works in her artist journals!

 Using gouache is so different from watercolor, but I am determined to learn more about using it this year. I bought two teaching DVDs from talented artist Sandy Williams. I'm looking forward to learning from Sandy . . . just as soon as I shake this horrible head cold with it's blocked ears and headaches.

UPDATE: Taking the advice of others, I went ahead and painted on the back of this page . . . works great! And watercolor seems to work fine also; the toned paper just adds an "antique" feel. Fun paper!


  1. I look forward to seeing what you do with the gouache, Vicky! I have some but I rarely use it. Love that green journal too!

  2. I've definitely painted on both sides, Vicky! It's fun...LOVE that green journal!

  3. Thanks, both of you. The green paper is pretty and has an interesting texture -- sort of goes with the Niddigan.

    Kate, I was hoping you'd let me know re: painting on both sides. Thanks! When I was applying the paint, I wasn't sure . . . but it seemed to dry very smooth. So I guess I will.

    Something I'm not sure of is how to know if the paint is going to dry lighter or darker than planned. Guess that knowing comes with using it.

  4. Nideggen is my absolute favorite paper to use in a journal. I like the way watercolor looks on it--earthy and soft, but if I want the color to pop, I use gouache. Watercolor paintings turn out rich and "antique" looking with the tan background. But if you're used to the brightness of watercolor paper, it could be a jolt. It will surprise you how well Nideggen holds up to painting on both sides--it's a pretty tough paper. And ink washes look stunning on it. Glad you are trying it out, Vicky.

  5. Thanks, Maria, for such helpful information! I hadn't thought of using regular watercolor on this paper -- and I love the "antique" look! Your comments make me want to experiment. I think ink sketches with water-soluble inks, washed out some here and there, will be fun too.

  6. Vicky, I've used Nideggen for years in my own journals and I paint on both sides of the page all the time. I love the wavy laid texture and the little flecks of fiber in the paper. It is so lightweight that it does buckle a bit, but it that doesn't bother you you'll be fine. I hope you have a great time with your new journals for 2012!!! Thanks for the shout out in your post. Your travel brushes look cool. Since you're using Schmincke gouache as well as M. Graham you might want to try Titanium Gold Ochre sometime. I use it all the time instead of Yellow Ochre in my travel palettes. It is pretty opaque though, even more opaque than Yellow Ochre, but then that might be another reason I like it so much. I wish you great fun with the gouache. Look also for old illustration books from the 30s and 40s because they often talk about using gouache.

  7. Hi, Roz -- Thanks for all the info! I continue to learn quite a lot from you.

    The brushes are travel brushes from Cheap Joe's -- the handles were short, but I cut them even shorter to fit in this re-purposed Cotman WC Deluxe Sketcher's Pocket Box. Keeping brushes with the gouache reminds me to use separate brushes, not those for watercolor.

  8. Great post. I'll have to try out the paper. Lucky me, Daniel Smith is on my way home from work.
    I just checked out the Artist's Journal Workshop from my library. I might have to get my own copy...

  9. Gwen, you are fabulously lucky! How wonderful it would be to live near a Daniel Smith supplier -- near the real thing, even better!

    And I HIGHLY recommend the book, of course! *GG*


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