Dec 26, 2018

The end of Sketchbook #118 and my review of Hahnemuhle Watercolor Book

I just finished my Sketchbook #118 and decided to write some notes to myself about it - and share them here. It was a Hahnemuhle Watercolor Sketchbook 8' x 11.5", horizontal, 60 pages of 200 g watercolor paper one and I worked in it for a month and a half.

Most of my notes are in the image below but if you don't want to zoom in and read all that - here is a shorter version: it's a great landscape-oriented book which I loved and hated at the same time. So much space is amazingly inviting! But if you work in a crowd or in a small space or if you are sketching while standing it is very hard to manage. Keeping book open even with a minimum of other materials became a struggle and I ended up layering pages with sketches done in other books and later taped or glued in.

I loved the cover - it's almost a musical instrument when you scratch it with your nails :) Round corners were nice for tucking the book in my body and backpack. It opens flat very nicely. And paper withstands a lot - from acrylic to gouache to pencil to ink to watercolor and markers - it survived it all.

At first, I was disappointed with the surface - see my comments on the first page of the sketchbook where I painted my two mini palettes from expeditionary art. One on the left was purchased empty and filled with my "play" colors what I change often and one on the right was created by Maria Coryell-Martin and Marc Taro Holmes for Direct Watercolor Sketching.

Paper seemed sleek for my taste of working with the flexible and/or soft nib and it took a long time for the ink to dry (I was using Platinum Carbon Ink). But opened up some possibilities for mixing colors on the page as paper (because of the slickness) was not as absorbent. I switched to Uni pens, felt tip pens and then ballpoint pens. Overall I tried to use less amount on ink with fountain and dip pens and even though it took me some time to figure out what works best, I had fun and got used to the combination pretty fast.
I think I would love to try this book in the vertical format at the same size! And might use this one if I have a project that is calling for the wide and happy spreads and I have a place where to work on it.