Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tips for the Göteborg Book Fair visitor

Here are a few tips for the English-speaking visitor to the Göteborg Book Fair (Göteborgs bokmässa or Gothenburg Book Fair) in Sweden. The Göteborg Book Fair is the largest cultural event in Scandinavia with close to 100,000 visitors over four days in 2016.

Göteborg Book Fair
© 2015 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

1. Wear comfortable (and cool) shoes

You’ll be walking miles on concrete floors over the span of several days. It may even be a good idea to bring an extra pair to switch it up with. I also recommend keeping it cool as the temperature at the fair is hot. Nice yet comfortable sandals can be an alternative, too.


2. Wear cool (and comfortable) clothes

This is not your air-conditioned-until-freezing-cold American convention center, but its much warmer European counterpart, so dress accordingly. It may be cold and rainy outside, but inside the mercury will soar as the fair fills up. Leave outdoor clothes in the coatroom and dress in light layers.

Still, you’ll want to be dressed up as this is not just a fair but also a prime networking and mingling event!


3. Bring a shoulder bag for all those books

This is a book fair, so you’ll most likely leave with more books than you came with, especially if you can read Swedish. I would recommend a light shoulder bag or a tote bag, or perhaps a combined tote/backpack such as this lightweight travel tote pack. The most versatile size can fit an A4 (approx. 8 ½”x11”) book or pamphlet.

I would not recommend a backpack, since the space is so tight you’ll risk tearing down a display or someone’s drink.


4. Bring a water bottle and a snack

Self explanatory. Maybe also bring band-aids for sore feet!


5. Bring a physical map and the seminar and floor program catalogs

Yes, there is WiFi, but with 20-30,000 people trying to access it at the same time, signals may be weak so better come prepared.


6. Find out seminar locations ahead of time

For the same reason as above (see 5.) you'd better find out seminar locations ahead of time. They are not listed in the seminar catalog. Ideally, check online the evening before as this is also the way to find out any cancellations or changes to the program.

Write down the seminar rooms and study the map to see if it will be possible to get from one seminar (or program event) to another in time.  

To get from a main floor event in the southeast corner, via crowded floors and escalators, to a seminar on the upper level in the northwest corner can take a long time!


7. Find out the best way to pay

As Sweden is moving toward becoming a paperless society, cash is also on its way out, and credit cards may not be accepted everywhere. Inquire ahead of time about the best ways to pay. Cash and credit cards may still be ok, other options are debit cards and Swish payments.


8. Bring a small umbrella (unless staying at the convention hotel)

As Göteborg is located on the west coast of Sweden, it is bound to rain at least one out of the four days of the fair. As the line to enter the fair snakes around the block, it is not uncommon to see drenched fair goers holding up newspapers for protection.


9. Stay at the convention hotel

To stay at the convention hotel (Gothia Towers) is the easiest way to go, but there are many other nice hotels in the area as well, most of which will involve cab rides to and from the convention center. There is an attached parking garage right next door for those inclined to drive. Remember that thousands of other people also will be needing cabs, parking, or public transportation to get to the fair.


10. Get there early

As in first thing in the morning or the first day of the fair. That’s the way to avoid spending much time in line (both to get a cab and to enter the fair) and to get a chance to browse the exhibits before the people density reaches its high during the weekend. This may be especially important for the introvert or highly sensitive person.


11. Plan your seminar or program event schedule (and buy your seminar pass) ahead of time

The seminars are, in my opinion, the best part of the fair! Here is an opportunity to catch up on the latest in literature for adults and children, discussions related to current events, talks, readings, and debates. The seminar catalog is available in English. You can buy your seminar pass online, about $400 for the four days, $200 for one day. 

While most of the seminars are in Swedish, I counted over 50 seminars in English in both 2015 and 2016, most on Thursday and Friday (approx. 20/day), some on Saturday (10-15) and only a few on Sunday.

In addition to the seminars, there are also many program events held by the exhibitors and on numerous stages around the fair. These are generally noisier than the seminars as there are no walls. However, many seminar topics are often discussed at the program events as well, and the program events are included in the entrance fee, about $30 for one day.

Be aware that the sheer volume of people coupled with lines to get in, to get lunch, buy a snack, have a book signed, go to the restroom, etc., will make it difficult to quickly get from one place to another. Give yourself some extra space in your schedule. I recommend planning your seminar schedule ahead of time, noting seminars that are absolute must-sees, since you may not have time, or energy, to attend all on your list.

It is worth saying again (see 6.): To get from a main floor event in the southeast corner, via crowded floors and escalators, to a seminar on the upper level in the northwest corner can take a long time!


12. Remember to plan time to rest, have lunch, a snack, and restroom breaks

… each of which can easily take 20-30 minutes depending on time and location (see 11.)

There are numerous café options offering sandwiches for sale, a few hotel restaurants right outside the fair area (you’ll show your entrance ticket to get back in) and a larger restaurant, Estrad, on the second level in the southwest corner (you can order lunch tickets ahead of time, get there early to avoid lines).


13. Networking opportunities

Many publishers, magazines, and organizations arrange mingling and networking opportunities, usually on Thursday or Friday evening, some at the fair, some at other locations. Check their social media to find out more and to sign up.


14. If you are a writer with an unpublished script, this is not the time to contact a publisher

They are way too busy and may not appreciate being cornered during one of the busiest weeks of the year. However, you can always look for mingling and networking opportunities (see 13.)


15. And lastly, enjoy yourself!

Going to the Göteborg Book Fair is time well spent! Enjoy browsing the many exhibits, meeting like-minded people interested in reading and literature, going to seminars, and maybe meeting your favorite writers!


You may also like this post, an Introduction and Guide in English to the Göteborg Book Fair.



Översättning.
Tips för engelskspråkiga besökare till Göteborgs bokmässa.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Göteborg (Gothenburg) Book Fair - a guide in English

A short introduction and guide to the Göteborg Book Fair (Göteborgs bokmässa or Gothenburg Book Fair) for the English-speaking visitor.

The Göteborg Book Fair is, with its close to 100,000 annual visitors, Scandinavia’s largest cultural event. Among its program events are literary seminars, poetry readings, and discussions on many topics by writers, illustrators, researchers, Nobel Laureates, politicians, and thinkers from all over the world.

In 2016, there were more than:
  • 4,000 program events
  • 800 exhibitors on 12,000 square meters (130,000 square feet) of exhibition space
  • 400 seminars
  • 800 authors and lecturers at the seminars
  • 38 countries represented at the seminars and 28 countries represented at the exhibits
  • 56 international agents and publishers at the International Rights Centre

The Göteborg Book Fair takes place annually during four days, Thursday through Sunday, at the end of September. Its host city, Göteborg (Gothenburg), is Sweden’s second largest city with 550,000 inhabitants (990,000 in the metro area) located on the west coast of Sweden.

The event is held at Svenska Mässan (The Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre) on the east side of Göteborg. Svenska Mässan is a 148,000 square meter (1.6 million square feet) facility with 41,000 square meter (440,000 square feet) of exhibition and congress space and an attached 1,200-room hotel, Gothia Towers.

The logo of the Göteborg Book Fair, a mermaid, is an illustration from the first printed book in Swedish from 1483.

Göteborg Book Fair before opening
© 2015 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

History


The Göteborg Book Fair was first launched in 1985. Aimed at schools and libraries, the first event had around 5,000 visitors. Already then, they set the trend of inviting well-known authors and saw among others Nobel Laureate in Literature Isaac B. Singer and author Michael Ende among the illustrious guests. In 1986, they opened the fair up to the general public.


Göteborg Book Fair
© 2015 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Visitors


According to a 2016 survey of about 600 people, 33% of visitors (35% in 2015) are cultural sector professionals, representing education, libraries, documentation, information, and culture. This includes authors, publishers, media and photographers, graphic professionals, illustrators, translators, bookstores, museums, and more. Within the cultural sector, teachers and librarians are the two biggest groups of visitors.

According to the survey, 79% of the professional visitors were women (67% in 2015).  

1% of the professional visitors came from abroad (4% in 2015).

Of the general public, most visitors came from Sweden and 82% were women, (67% in 2015).

Note that the survey sample size was small enough that there is a margin of error.


Themes


Each year has a theme. The theme for 2016 was Freedom of Expression, commemorating the 250-year anniversary of the Swedish 1766 Freedom of the Press Act, the first in the world.

In 2015, the theme was Hungary with a special focus on Iceland, and in 2014 Brazil.

For 2017, the theme is set to be Bildung (language, reading, and literature), with a special focus on Finnish literature as Finland celebrates its centennial as an independent nation.


Seminars


The Göteborg Book Fair can be said to have two main parts:
  1. The exhibitors and their program events on the main and second floors
  2. The seminars on the second floor

There are about 400 seminars offered each year, with over 800 authors, scholars, and lecturers taking part. To attend, you need to purchase a seminar pass (about $400 for the four days, $200 for one day).

Topics include authors discussing their latest book or a related topic, children and youth literature, illustration, translation, the annual theme, and debates related to current events.

On Thursday and most of Friday, there are many seminars geared toward education, schools and libraries.


Exhibitors and program events


In 2016, there were about 800 exhibitors on a floor area totaling close to 12,000 square meters (130,000 square feet), the majority being publishers, companies, and organizations. They, too, arrange numerous program events featuring authors and other speakers, all included in the entrance fee (about $30 for one day).

The exhibitors also offer evening mingling and networking opportunities, which you sign up for through each company's or organization's social media. 

The total number of seminar, exhibit, and stage events at the book fair are over 4,000 and include over 3,000 participants.


International Rights Centre (IRC)


The International Rights Centre is a place for publishers and agents to meet and buy and sell rights, meet international colleagues, and get a feel for the market in the Nordic Region.

In 2016, there were 54 international agents and publishers at 74 tables (63 agents at 79 tables in 2015).


For the English-speaking visitor


While most seminars and events are held in Swedish, there are several held in English as well. In both 2015 and 2016, there were about 50 seminars held in English, most on Thursday and Friday (about 20/day), some on Saturday (10-15), and only a few on Sunday.

In general, if the invited speaker is from a country other than Sweden, Norway, or Denmark (the Scandinavian languages are quite similar), then the seminar or event will be held in English.

In 2016, 38 countries were represented in the seminars. In addition, 28 countries were represented in the exhibits.

Also, if you need assistance, most Swedes speak English very well!


You may also like this post, Tips for the Göteborg Book Fair visitor, a must-read if you are a first-time visitor!



The official site for the Göteborg Book Fair can be found here.


The 33rd Göteborg Book Fair will take place on September 28-October 1, 2017.



Översättning.
En introduktion till Göteborgs bokmässa för engelskspråkiga besökare.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Comparing watercolor papers – conclusions

I have now tested and compared 32 different watercolor and mixed media papers and here are my results. See this post for introduction and photos of all papers, as well as links. Did I find a watercolor paper that did not cockle? Read on for the answer!


Paper color


All papers tested were some shade of white. Despite its name, Arches Watercolour Bright White is a slightly warm and creamy white, whereas Fabriano Artistico Extra White is whiter. Strathmore 500 Series Gemini was the only natural white paper tested.


Watercolor brightness


Watercolors remained bright on all papers except the darker papers (colors on Strathmore 500 Series Gemini looked a bit subdued due to less contrast between paper and watercolors), the most absorbent papers (colors on Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II looked more pale), and also Winsor & Newton Cotman 200 lb. (colors looked a bit darker).

In general, I recommend not to use too much water on hard sized papers (such as mixed media papers and Canson Montval) or the color will look washed out, nor to use too much paint or it will remain on the surface looking pasty.


Paper texture


When using granulating colors, it is important that the texture is neither too prominent nor too smooth.

Most rough textures looked very prominent (especially Fabriano Artistico rough and also Winsor & Newton Cotman 200 lb.) whereas hot press textures looked too smooth (Arches Watercolour, Fabriano Artistico and Canson Moulin du Roy). Note that Arches Watercolour rough does not look very rough once painted upon and is a good, if more absorbent, alternative to Arches Watercolour cold press.

I like the Strathmore paper textures, such as Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor and Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut, cold press (harder sized). Strathmore 500 Series Imperial is another hard sized paper with a similar texture. In comparison, Arches Watercolour cold press has a rougher surface and Canson Moulin du Roy cold press is smoother.


Paper sizing and absorbency


Similarly, there needs to be some sizing but not too much or too little. That way I can keep adjusting the colors for a while but it does not take hours for them to dry and they do not keep spreading causing backruns (too much), and they also do not sink in too fast (too little sizing, too absorbent).

To me, the papers mentioned above have the right balance, with Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut being harder sized and Arches Watercolour more absorbent.


Paper cockling


Did I find a paper that did not cockle and that would not need prewetting and stretching? The short answer is no!

All of the papers tested cockled to some degree, some more than others, such as the rough papers and hard sized papers including hot press and mixed media papers. Fabriano Artistico (rough, cold press, hot press) cockled the most for me, with Arches Watercolour (rough) coming in second. Not even the 300 lb. papers were immune to a slight waviness. Note that I used a lot of water for my tests and did not stretch the papers.

The only paper that did not cockle is technically not a paper but a board, Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board and Illustration Board for Wet Media. (There is also an even thicker illustration board available that I did not test.)


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


In short, I would say that on rougher papers, pencil lines also look very rough, whereas hard sized papers may feel less responsive to the pressure of the pencil lead or pen.

A few good papers for pencil work in my opinion are Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor, Fabriano Artistico soft press, 140 lb and 300 lb, Canson Montval 140 lb, Arches Watercolour hot press, Canson Moulin du Roy hot press, Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board, Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet Media, Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media, Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media, Canson All-Media Art Book (containing Canson Montval 90 lb) and Moleskine Watercolor Album.

Pens work better on hard sized papers, but when there is too much sizing the ink will take longer to dry and will smear if you use watercolors or attempt to close the sketchbook before it has dried. If there is too little sizing, the paper will absorb the ink too fast and the lines become uneven. In the same vein, on very absorbent as well as hard sized papers, brush and ink strokes may look uneven.

There are variations between pen brands as well, as some brands are more prone to feathering than others (such as Pigma Micron, in my experience). In general, I prefer Uniball Vision Fine and Staedtler Pigment Liner. In these tests Uniball worked best with most papers, with black and glossy lines, whereas the linework of Staedtler Pigment Liner often looked a little gray. Still, Staedtler Pigment Liner rarely, if ever, feathers.

Good papers for pen work in my opinion are Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor, Fabriano Artistico soft press, 140 lb and 300 lb, Canson Montval 140 lb, Winsor & Newton Cotman, Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board, Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media, Canson All-Media Art Book (containing Canson Montval 90 lb), Moleskine Watercolor Album, and Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic paper. I also thought these worked well with brush and ink.


“Joy factor”


A few of these papers felt extra fun to paint on! This is of course personal, but for me, the 300 lb. watercolor papers, the illustration boards, and the acrylic paper score high in the joy department. Yupo (not tested) would fall in this category as well. These are all papers that have something special and that I do not use regularly.


Cost and availability


This varies a lot between the different papers and also depends on where you live. My advice is to find a paper that works with your pocketbook! If the paper is too precious, you may not dare to experiment as much as you would on a cheaper paper. Some of my best drawings have been done in the margin of a cheap lined paper! Still, if the paper is too cheap, then your art may not reach its full potential but be limited by the material.

For a good student grade paper, I like Strathmore 400 Series watercolor. Canson Montval is harder sized and works well with pen, though I found it a little more difficult to work on as colors take longer to sink in. (I preferred the smoother block surface.) Both are acid free but not 100% cotton.


History and continuity


As I researched each company, the most interesting thing I noticed was that most of them belong to larger corporate groups, often with some fluctuation in ownership and manufacturing locations. I believe that Stillman & Birn, at the time of this writing, is the only small, privately owned company of this lineup.


Final conclusions


Of all the papers I tested, these are the ones I liked the most for watercolor painting:

Student papers



Artist papers



Mixed media papers


Boards


“Fun” papers



Översättning.
Nu har jag testat och jämfört 32 olika akvarell- och mixed media-papper från Strathmore, Arches, Fabriano, Canson, Winsor & Newton, Moleskine och Stillman & Birn. Här kommer mina slutsatser. Se detta inlägg för introduktion och bild på de olika papperen samt länkar.

Papperets färg -  Alla papperen jag testade var vita, men Arches
Watercolour Bright White lutade mer åt det varma hållet medan Fabriano Artistico Extra White var betydligt vitare. Strathmore 500 Series Gemini var det enda naturvita papperet som jag testade.

Akvarellfärgens lyskraft – Akvarellfärger hade störst lyskraft på de vitare papperen. På ett lite mörkare papper som Strathmore 500 Series Gemini såg färgerna dovare ut pga mindre kontrast mellan papper och akvarellfärg. På ett papper med hög absorptionsförmåga som Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II såg färgerna blekare ut. Och på Winsor & Newton Cotman 425 gsm såg färgerna mörkare ut.

För störst lyskraft rekommenderar jag att använda vitt papper, färg av konstnärsgrad (ej student) samt varken använda alltför mycket vatten (då kan färgerna se blekare ut) eller alltför mycket färg (då kan färgen klumpa sig).

Papperets ytstruktur – Om man som jag använder granulerande färger så är det viktigt att papperets ytstruktur varken är alltför grov (Fabriano Artistico grov gräng, Winsor & Newton Cotman 425 gsm) eller alltför slät (Arches
Watercolour, Fabriano Artistico och Canson Moulin du Roy fin gräng) för att färgpigmenten ska komma till sin rätt. Se nedan för rekommendationer.

Limning och absorptionsförmåga – Det är även viktigt att hitta balansen mellan alltför hård respektive alltför lös limning. Då kan du fortsätta justera färgerna ett tag men det tar inte alltför lång tid för dem att torka och de sprider sig inte alltför mycket (alltför hårt limmat) samt färgerna torkar inte in alltför snabbt (för löst limmat). Se nedan för rekommendationer.

Buckling – Alla de papper jag testade bucklade utan fuktspänning. En del bucklade mer än andra, tex de i grov gräng samt de hårdast limmade (fin gräng och mixed media) papperen. Fabriano Artistico bucklade mest, Arches
Watercolour kom på andra plats. Till och med de papper som var av 640 gsm vikt (jfr 300 gsm) bucklade lite. Obs att jag använde mycket vatten!

Det enda papper som inte bucklade var tekniskt sett inte ett papper: Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board and Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet Media.

Blyerts/tuschpenna/flytande tusch – På ett grovt papper ser blyertslinjer också grova ut, medan hårt limmade papper kan kännas alltför okänsliga för pennans tryck.

Tuschpennor fungerar bra på hårt limmade papper men om limningen är alltför hård kan det ta ett bra tag innan tuschet torkar, vilket kan vara ett problem om man vill färglägga sin teckning. Är papperet alltför grovt, poröst eller löst limmat absorberas tuschet snabbt och linjerna kan se ojämna ut.

Tuschlinjerna kan även sprida ut sig om papperet är alltför poröst. Jag tycker att vissa pennor sprider sig lättare än andra, tex Pigma Micron, medan Staedtler Pigment Liner sällan sprider sig och Uniball Vision fine (min personliga favorit, SPL kommer tvåa) sprider sig på vissa papper.

På alltför hårt limmade papper samt papper med hög absorptionsförmåga kan större ytor med flytande tusch se ojämna ut.

“Glädjefaktorn” – Jag tyckte att ett par av de papper jag testade var extra roliga att måla på: de tjockare 640 gsm papperen, Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board och Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet Media, samt Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic paper. Även Yupo, vilket jag inte testade här, tillhör denna kategori. Dessa är är annorlunda jämfört med de papper jag vanligtvis målar på.

Pris och tillgänglighet – Detta varierar ju mycket mellan olika papper och beror även på var man bor. Om papperet är alltför dyrt så vågar man kanske inte experimentera, medan om det är alltför billigt så kommer kanske ens målningar inte till sin fulla rätt.

Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor är ett bra, billigare papper, liksom Canson Montval, vilket är hårdare limmat och kan ta lite tid att vänja sig vid.

Företagens bakgrund – Det var intressant att få reda på att de flesta av pappersföretagen tillhör större grupper, ofta med viss fluktuering i ägarskap och tillverkningsplats. Stillman & Birn var det enda mindre, privatägda företaget.  


Mina rekommendationer

 

Akvarellpapper av studentkvalitet

  • Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor – ett ganska mjukt papper med bra ytstruktur och limning.
  • Canson Montval, fin gräng – ett hårdare limmat papper som även fungerar bra till tuschpenna. Jag gillade speciellt det block som var kantlimmat på fyra sidor, vilket var slätare än det block som bara var kantlimmat på en sida  


Akvarellpapper av konstnärskvalitet, 100% bomull


Mixed media-papper


Illustration board



Papper med “glädjefaktor”

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Selecting papers for watercolor ACEOs

As I now have tested 32 different watercolor and mixed media papers, here are a few tips for selecting papers for watercolor ACEOs. Painting small format art is for me a way to awaken my creative flow! So of course I also tested how well suited these papers are to small format art, or in this case ACEOs.

ACEO stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. It is a small piece of art, only 2.5”x3.5” (64x89 mm), the same size as standard trading cards such as baseball cards. An ACEO may be sold, whereas its subcatecory ATC (Artist Trading Cards) may only be traded.

Testing papers for watercolor ACEOs
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Two of the most important factors to consider when painting watercolor ACEOs are paper cockling (a distortion of the paper in areas with a lot of water or paint; curl, warp, waves, etc.) and texture.


Cockling


I generally cut my ACEOs to size prior to painting. If the paper cockles too much during painting, it will curl around the centerline or diagonally, causing the paint to pool either in the center or along the edges. If you cut the paper after painting, you may instead be dealing with waves or ripples across the entire sheet unless you pre-wet and stretch it.

Most papers cockle during painting, often in relation to the amount of water used, but the main question is which papers curl too much. Note that I used a lot of water for my tests, so if you use less water, your results may be different.

The following papers curled the most during painting causing paint to pool along the edges: Arches Watercolour rough, Fabriano Artistico rough, cold press and hot press, Canson Moulin du Roy hot press, Canson Montval, Winsor & Newton Cotman 200 lb., and Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media. Again, note that I used a lot of water - and note that this applies specifically to ACEOs, not larger format art!

In general, the papers that curled the most were rough papers, hot press papers, thin papers (less than 140 lb), and hard sized papers.

Several of these unfurled once dry, but the Fabriano and Arches papers remained the most curled, especialy the rough and hot press.

For a rough surface with less curl, try Strathmore 500 Series Gemini rough or cold press or Arches Watercolour 300 lb. (640 gsm) rough or cold press.

For the least amount of curl, I recommend Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board or Illustration Board for Wet Media. An alternative is to try to keep the amount of water down!


Texture


Texture is another important factor as a distinct grain will look even more prominent in a small format. Some art may benefit from a more textured look, but there were a few papers I thought had a texture that distracted from the art itself. The papers I thought had too prominent textures were: Fabriano Artistico rough, Arches Watercolour 300 lb. hot press(!), and Winsor & Newton Cotman 200 lb.

The paper textures that I thought worked well with a small format were:
Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor, Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut cold press, Strathmore 500 Series Gemini rough and cold press, Arches Watercolour cold press, Canson Moulin du Roy cold press, Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board, Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet Media, and Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper.


Conclusion


Of all the papers I tested, the following are the ones I would primarily recommend for ACEOs, having less cockling and less prominent textures:

For best results, use less water and keep removing paint or water that cause pooling. Good luck!


Översättning.
En ACEO är ett litet konstverk, bara 64x89 mm, samma storlek som ett idolkort. ACEO står för Art Cards, Editions and Originals, och kan alltså vara antingen ett original eller ett print i begränsad upplaga. En ACEO får säljas, medan en ATC, Artist Trading Cards, enbart får bytas.

När jag testade akvarellpapper så testade jag även hur de fungerade till detta lilla format och fann då att två av de viktigaste egenskaperna var papperets ytstruktur samt tendens till buckling. Notera att jag använde mycket vatten till mina tester och skar till formatet innan jag målade, dvs jag fuktspände inte papperet.

De papper jag tyckte bucklade mest var Arches Watercolour grov gräng, Fabriano Artistico grov, fin och slät gräng, Canson Moulin du Roy slät gräng, Canson Montval, Winsor & Newton Cotman 425 gsm, och Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media. Obs att detta enbart gäller ACEOs, inte större format.

I princip kan man säga att de papper som bucklade mest var de i grov gräng, slät gräng, papper tunnare än 300 gsm och hårt limmade papper.

En del av dessa slätade i viss mån ut sig igen, men de papper som behöll mest buckling när de torkat var Fabriano och Arches, främst grov men även slät gräng.

De papper jag tyckte hade en alltför prominent ytstruktur var
Fabriano Artistico grov gräng, Arches Watercolour 640 gsm slät gräng(!) och Winsor & Newton Cotman 425 gsm fin gräng.

De papper jag tyckte passade bäst till ACEOs, dvs bucklade minst och hade en inte alltför iögonfallande ytstruktur var:


För bäst resultat, använd lite vatten och torka snabbt upp vattenpölar på papperet med penselspetsen. Lycka till!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Compare watercolor papers: Strathmore Acrylic Paper, 400 Series

This is the last part in my series of twelve watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper - using watercolors! See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper


  • Finish and weight: Linen surface, 246 lb (400 gsm)
  • Composition: Acid free
  • Website


Paper color


This paper is a beautiful creamy white that works well with its linen texture.


Color brightness


Yes, but in larger washes it is important to keep the watercolor saturated to avoid it looking diluted.

Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic paper with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture


This is not a watercolor paper, but it nevertheless has a linen texture that takes watercolors quite well!


Paper sizing and absorbency


Very hard sizing, so it will take a few tries to get used to in order to avoid backruns, especially on larger size papers. Use less water and saturated paint for a wonderfully textile effect.

Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic paper with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


This paper also cockles when wet, but straightens mostly out again as it dries.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


This paper is fun to draw on, both with pencil and pen. The pencil shows off the linen texture with a responsive line that deletes well. With pen, you get a glossy black line and smooth flow despite the texture. The ink brush also glides smoothly over the paper even if the ink may dry unevenly.


Joy factor


Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of trying out a completely unexpected surface to paint on – such as this acrylic paper with a linen surface!


Cost and availability


Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic paper is available in sheets and pads.
  • List price for a 9”x12” 10-sheet pad is $11.79, online it can be found for about five dollars less.
  • List price for an 18”x24” 10-sheet pad is $40.35, online it can be found for a bit over $20.
  • List price for a 20”x30” sheet is $3.65, online it can be found for about one dollar less.


History and continuity


Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper was introduced in 2006. For more information about Strathmore, see this post.


Conclusion


I enjoy watercolor painting on Acrylic Paper on occasion, just as I enjoy painting on Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board or Yupo. It gives me a fun challenge to keep exploring and keep things interesting!


Översättning. Här testar jag Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper, ett papper med linnestruktur som egentligen är avsett för akrylfärg men som tar akvarell förvånansvärt väl!

Detta papper är hårt limmat, så det kan ta ett tag att vänja sig vid då mindre vatten och mer färg är att rekommendera. Det bucklar en del när det blir vått men slätar till största delen ut sig igen när det torkar. Det fungerar bra med blyerts, tuschpenna och flytande tusch (tuschet torkar dock lite ojämnt).

Detta papper är, liksom Yupo, ett papper som jag tycker om att använda då och då för att utmana mig själv och för att lära känna nya material.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Compare illustration boards: Strathmore Illustration Board and Illustration Board for Wet Media, both 500 Series

This is part eleven of twelve in my series of paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing illustration boards: Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board and Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet Media. See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board 


  • Finish and weight: Lightweight vellum, 42 pt.
  • Composition: 500 Series drawing sheets mounted to both sides of an archival, lignin-free white board
  • Website



Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet Media 


  • Finish and weight: Heavyweight vellum, 78 pt.
  • Composition: Not known
  • Sizing: Internally sized
  • Website 


Paper color


Both illustration boards are white.


Watercolor brightness


Yes, watercolors retain their brightness, but watch out for using too much water and keep your colors saturated or the resulting colors may look pale and diluted.

Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet Media with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture


The Illustration Board has a silky smooth texture whereas the Illustration Board for Wet Media is a bit more textured, more like an albeit fairly smooth watercolor paper.


Paper sizing and absorbency


The Illustration Board does not soak up water quickly, which means that you can keep adjusting and moving colors around until you are satisfied. In comparison, the Illustration Board for Wet Media is more absorbent. Both have a tendency for backruns, so watch out for using too much water and keep your colors saturated.

Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet Media with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


No, in fact these two boards were the only substrates that did not cockle in my tests!

Though, if very wet, the thinner Illustration Board may get a very slight wave to it. There is another illustration board available that is almost twice as thick, 72 pt. (20-ply, 0.064”) as compared to the 42 pt. (10-ply, 0.032”) board tested here. The 72 pt. board handles similarly but I personally find it too thick to comfortably cut.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


Both Illustration Boards work well with pencil and pen and delete well. The Illustration Board for Wet Media is more absorbent so the pen needs to supply quite a bit of ink or you need to draw slowerfor the lines to appear black.

The Illustration Board works well with brush and ink in even, black strokes, whereas the Wet Media Board again is more absorbent so the strokes look more dull and less even.


Joy factor


These are both fun, smooth surfaces to paint on!


Cost and availability


Both Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board and Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet media are available as boards in a few different sizes.

  • List price for a 22”x30” Illustration Board is $10.39, online it can be found for about $8.
  • List price for a 22”x30” Illustration Board for Wet Media is $17.89, online it can be found for about $13.


History and continuity

Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board was introduced in the early 1900s whereas the Illustration Board for Wet Media is a more recent addition introduced in 2009. For more information about Strathmore, see this post.


Conclusion


These illustration boards are good options to watercolor papers and worth testing as an alternative. If you are looking for a more conventional watercolor surface, go with the Illustration Board for Wet Media.

If you like a smoother (and also thinner, which translates to easier to cut!) surface and do not use excessive amounts of water, try the original Illustration Board, 42 pt., which is my personal favorite! If you use brush and ink, the Illustration Board is for you.


Översättning. I detta test så jämför jag två olika underlag: Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board (42 pt.) och Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board for Wet Media (78 pt.).

Strathmores Illustration Board introducerades i början av 1900-talet medan Illustration Board for Wet Media är en nykomling från 2009. Av dessa två så är det Illustration Board for Wet Media som mest liknar ett akvarellpapper i ytstruktur, medan Illustration Board är slätare då det från början var tänkt till tuscharbete.

Illustration Board tar god tid på sig att torka vilket innebär att du kan flytta runt färgerna tills du är nöjd. Illustration Board for Wet Media är mer absorberande. Båda kan få blomningar om för mycket vatten används.

Blyerts och tuschpenna fungerar bra på båda underlagen, även om Illustration Board for Wet Media absorberar tuschet snabbare. Till flytande tusch passar Illustration Board bäst med jämna tuschytor, medan tuschet på Wet Media torkar snabbt och ojämt, återigen pga sin absorptionsförmåga,

Av alla papper testade så var det bara dessa två som inte bucklade! Dock så kan det tunnare Illustration Board bli lite vågigt om du använder alltför mycket vatten. Det är dock lättare att skära till, vilket ju är en fördel då det kommer i stora ark.

I korthet så kan man säga att båda dessa är bra alternativ till akvarellpapper för den som är sugen på att testa något nytt.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Compare Stillman & Birn paper samples

Stillman & Birn offers 4”x6” paper samples* of the six paper types of their journals, named Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta, and I did a quick comparison between these. For more about Stillman & Birn, see this post.

These are all hard sized papers in bright white, or in the case of Gamma and Delta, a natural white, called ivory, that is really a soft yellow. They all work well with pencil and pen and I did not notice any feathering. However, due to the hard sizing, areas with brush and ink may turn out uneven.


Alpha Series: Medium grain surface, white, 100 lb. (150 gsm)


The Alpha paper is a thin and fairly smooth paper with some texture. It takes some time to dry and cockles extensively if water is used (only light washes are recommended, but it will still cockle). It is quite responsive to pencil and pen despite the hard sizing.


Beta Series: Cold press surface, white, 180 lb. (270 gsm)


The Beta paper has similar characteristics to the Alpha paper but is considerably thicker and heavier and cockles less. This paper, too, takes time to dry if you use juicy washes.

Stillman & Birn Alpha and Beta with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.


Gamma and Delta Series: Same as Alpha and Beta, but ivory instead of white


The Gamma and Delta papers are ivory colored (natural white/light yellow) counterparts to the Alpha and Beta papers. Because of the paper color, watercolors to me look a bit less bright since there is less contrast between paper color and watercolors.

Stillman & Birn Gamma and Delta with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.


Epsilon and Zeta Series: Smooth surface, white, 100 lb. (150 gsm) and 180 lb. (270 gsm)


The Epsilon and Zeta papers are the two smoothest papers in the lineup. These are two even harder sized papers that work well with pencil or pen but less well with watercolors as they are prone to blotchy backruns as color pools in the valleys of the paper.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon and Zeta with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

*I would love to see a sample pack with 9"x12" paper samples of each surface texture and color offered for sale in addition to the small 4"x6" samples currently offered for free.


Översättning. Jag fick tag i 10x15 cm pappersprover av Stillman & Birns sex olika papper och gjorde en liten mini-test av dem. För mer om Stillman & Birn, läs detta inlägg. Deras papper är alla hårt limmade i vitt eller gulvitt. De tar blyerts och tuschpenna bra, dock kan större ytor med flytande tusch och pensel se ojämna ut.

Alpha-serien – medium ytstruktur, vitt, 150 gsm
Alpha är ett tunt och ganska slätt papper med en del ytstruktur och hård limning.
En del granulering framträder men akvarellfärg tar lång tid att torka. Då det är tunt bucklar det mycket med akvarellfärg och Stillman & Birn rekommenderar att använda lite vatten. Trots den hårda limningen känns papperet responsivt med blyerts och tuschpenna. För mer om Alpha, läs detta inlägg.

Beta-serien – kallpressat papper, vitt, 270 gsm
Beta är ett betydligt tjockare papper som passar bättre till akvarell, med liknande egenskaper som Alpha. Det är hårt limmat och tar lång tid att torka.

Gamma- och Delta-serierna – motsvarar Alpha och Beta, men i gulvitt
På dessa papper ser akvarellfärgen dovare ut pga mindre kontrast med papperets färg.

Epsilon och Zeta-serien – slätt papper, vitt, 150 respektive 270 gsm

Dessa två papper är släta och ännu hårdare limmade papper som tar blyerts och tuschpenna bra. Dock tycker jag att de är alltför släta för att passa bra till akvarellfärg.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Compare sketchbooks: Strathmore Mixed Media, Canson All Media Art Book, Moleskine Watercolour, Stillman & Birn Alpha

This is part ten of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing five mixed media papers, journals, and sketchbooks: Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media paper, Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Hardbound Art Journal, Canson All Media Art Book, Moleskine Watercolour Album, and Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardbound Sketchbook. See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media paper


  • Finish and weight: Vellum surface, 140 lb. (300 gsm)
  • Composition: Acid free
  • Website


Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Hardbound Art Journal 


  • Finish and weight: Vellum surface, 90 lb. (190 gsm)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, acid free, lignin free
  • Sizing: Internally sized
  • Website


Canson All Media Art Book with Montval 90 lb paper (185 gsm)


  • Finish and weight: Cold press, 90 lb. (185 gsm)
  • Composition: Acid free, no optical brightness additives, mold-resistant treatment
  • Website


Moleskine Folio Watercolour Album 


  • Finish and weight: Cold press, 135 lb. (200 gsm)
  • Composition: 25% cotton, acid free, no chlorine
  • Website 


Stillman & Birn Alpha Sketchbook


  • Finish and weight: Medium grain, 100 lb. (150 gsm)
  • Composition: Acid free, chlorine free, lignin free
  • Sizing: Internal and surface sizing
  • Website 


Paper color


Of these five papers, Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media is the coolest white and Moleskine the warmest white. Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media is a very slightly warm white, whereas Stillman & Birn Alpha is bright white. Canson Montval 90 lb, the paper in the Canson All Media Art Book, is a medium white.


Color brightness


Yes, but avoid using too much water on thin, hard sized papers such as these. Colors on the Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media and Moleskine appear slightly more subdued to my eye, as these two are the warmer whites of the five.

Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Canson All Media Art Book with 90 lb. Montval paper with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Moleskine Watercolour with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Stillman & Birn Alpha with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture


Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media is the smoothest paper of the five but still shows some granulation in washes.

Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media feels softer to the touch, its texture just a little reminiscent of Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II, but smoother, less thirsty and colors more vibrant. It makes for lovely washes with a little texture, but be aware that as a thinner paper it will cockle just like the other papers. A good alternative to regular watercolor paper!

The texture of Canson Montval 90 lb is quite prominent in granulating washes, a somewhat diagonal alligator pattern. Moleskine also has a visibly directional texture pattern but less prominent. In terms of Stillman & Birn Alpha, granulation looks similar to Moleskine, but without any directional pattern.


Paper sizing and absorbency


All of these papers react similarly to watercolors. The paint sits on the surface for some time due to the hard sizing, allowing for some reworking until it sinks in and dries out. The paper cockles and paint gathers in puddles where it dries as a thicker layer, mostly without backruns.

The Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media is the hardest sized of the five papers. I do not recommend using too much water on this paper, nor too thick of paint layers as the paper repels water a bit and the paint can take on a pasty look as it sits on the surface. Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media, having less sizing and more texture, is more suitable to watercolors in my opinion.

Canson Montval 90 lb is another hard sized paper, with a smooth surface that allows for the brush to flow easily. Moleskine is similar, but with slightly less sizing, and Stillman & Birn Alpha again is harder sized.

Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Canson All Media Art Book with 90 lb. Montval paper with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Moleskine Watercolour with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Stillman & Birn Alpha with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


Yes, all of these papers cockle with watercolors. Except for Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media, they are all thinner than regular watercolor papers (this paper still cockles a lot).


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media has a smooth surface, great for drawing. It feels responsive to both pencil and pen and pen lines turn out black and glossy. Brush and ink take time to dry because of the sizing and larger areas look uneven and a bit blotchy because of this.

Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media has more tooth to it, feels more responsive and pencil lines appear darker than on the 400 Series. Pen lines, however, are less smooth as the paper is more textured and also thirstier, so draw slowly to give the ink enough time to sink into the texture. Brush and ink dry a bit unevenly here too.

Canson Montval 90 lb is a harder sized paper with a smooth surface that allows for the pen or brush to flow easily. Indents remain after deletion as with the prior two papers. Pen lines are relatively smooth and turn out black and glossy. Note that brush and ink on heavily sized papers take time to dry, so also on this paper, and there is risk for uneven areas.

The Moleskine watercolor paper is easy to draw on with pencil or pen, responsive and smooth, deletes well, slight ghosting visible. The smooth surface yields thick dark pen lines. Brush and ink takes some time to dry but dries nice and glossy.

Stillman & Birn Alpha is hard sized and has some resistance in its surface, which makes for coarser pencil and pen lines. Still, pen lines turn out black, although brush and ink look subdued and dry blotchily.


Size and portability


I have to add a category here, as size and portability are important factors when it comes to sketchbooks and journals. After all, if you don't take the sketchbook with you, it will be of no use!

Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media used to come in a hardcover wire bound journal but is now only available in pads. Thus, if you do not feel inclined to take with you a glue bound pad of 6"x8" or 9"x12" (the two most portable formats) you will have to cut the paper to size yourself and bring with you loose - or bind into a new journal.

Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media, on the other hand, is available in both softcover and hardbound journals in a few different sizes, although my favorite binding, wire binding, is not available. I prefer wire binding as it allows you to flip the pages over completely, which makes it easier to hold in my opinion. I tested the hardbound 8.5"x11" journal, which is a good format, not too heavy and the spine is not too wide at ½” (important!) Still, if I am standing up and holding this book, my hand tires quickly of holding up both the entire spread.

Canson All Media Art Book is only available in a 9"x12" spiral bound hard cover journal, but the hard covers and the wire binding are so perfect that Canson gets points for those alone! In my opinion, Canson does make the best black hard covers in my opinion, with a pebbled texture that is a bit glossy, sturdy, does not get fingerprints too easily, and can even be washed off (lightly, but still!) if needed. This book is, however, heavy to hold for a long time if you are standing up.

Moleskine Watercolour is available in four sizes, a pocket size, a so-called "large" size of 8 1/4"x5" (21x13 cm), A4, and A3. It is the only journal tested that is landscape oriented (it opens horizontally, wide) and I find it very hard to hold if I stand up as I generally prefer a vertical format. But the smaller sizes pack easily, are well designed with pocket and elastic closure, which are definite plus points, although I personally wish the books were a bit wider.

Stillman & Birn's sketchbooks are available in hardbound, wirebound, and softcover and many different sizes, portrait as well as landscape, including my favorite format 7”x10” (approx. 18x25.5 cm). They come with three different papers; medium grain, cold press, and smooth, and two different colors; white and ivory (a light yellow). I tested a hardbound Alpha journal with medium grain paper but would probably use a wirebound Beta journal if I did it again, as the paper is thicker.

The hardcover journals need to be broken in before use, which means that they need to be opened wide, 360 degrees, first in the center and then throughout the book, in order to lie flat, a deterrent to me. I like the hardcover material, but find the sketchbook heavy to hold and too thick to easily fit into my bag, approx. ¾” (2 cm) thick, compare this to Moleskine’s and Strathmore 500 Mixed Media Journal’s ½” (14 mm).


Cost and availability


Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media is available in rolls and pads.
  • List price for a 9”x12” 15-sheet pad is $10.79, online it can be found for around $4.

Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media is available in sheets, rolls, hardbound and softcover journals.
  • List price for an 8 ½”x11” 32-sheet hardbound journal is $31.99, online it can be found for a bit over half of that price.
  • List price for a 20”x30” sheet is $4.29, online it can be found for about one dollar less.

Canson Montval 90 lb is available in sheets, rolls, blocks, pads, and the All-Media Art Book.
  • List price for the 9”x12” 50-sheet hard cover wire bound book is $32.45, online it can be found for about half of that price.
  • List price for a 20”x30” sheet is $3.00, online it can be found for about the same amount.

Moleskine Watercolour is available as sketchbooks in four different sizes, called notebook/album for the pocket size and 8 ¼”x5” size, and folio/album for the A4 and A3 sizes.
  • List price for an 8 ¼”x11 ¾” (A4) 30-sheet hard cover book is $29.96, online the price remains similar.

Stillman & Birn Alpha is available as sheets, hardcover and softcover journals.
  • List price for an 8 ¼”x11 ¾” 62-sheet hard cover book is $25.99, online it can be found for about $20. For a mini-test of their other papers, see this post.
  • List price for a 20”x30” Alpha (medium grain, white, 100 lb) sheet is $3.25, online it can be found for about half a dollar less.
  • List price for a 20”x30” Beta (cold press, white, 180 lb), Delta (cold press, ivory, 180 lb) or Zeta sheet (smooth, white, 180 lb)  is $5.25, online it can be found for about a dollar less. 
  • List price for a 20”x30” Gamma (medium grain, ivory, 100 lb) or Epsilon (smooth, white, 100 lb) sheet is $3.50, online it can be found for about half a dollar less.


History and continuity


The Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media paper was introduced in 2011 and the 500 Series Mixed Media paper in 2012. For more information about Strathmore, see this post.

The Canson Montval All-Media Art Book was introduced around year 2001. For more information about Canson, see this post.

Moleskine is the name of a notebook that was reintroduced in 1997. Since 2006, Moleskine (the company) is owned by France-based Syntegra Capital and they went public in 2013. The Moleskine Watercolour Album is manufactured in China. The watercolor paper was redesigned in 2014.

Stillman & Birn was originally founded by Viennese bookbinder Philip Birn in New York in 1958. The company was then relaunched in 2010 by Philip Birn's nephew, Michael Kalman, and his co-founder Oscar Hernandez, and is now based in New Jersey. Their sketchbooks are bound in the United States.


Conclusion


Selecting a sketchbook is very much a matter of personal taste and also how you are using the book. Do you sit or stand up when you draw, do you work inside or outside, do you draw large or small, what media do you use, etc.

Still, in terms of the papers in these sketchbooks, I found that the Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper worked very well with watercolors and it is also 100% cotton. In fact, this could be an alternative to regular watercolor paper and I will definitely explore this further.

Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media is the smoothest paper and the hardest sized of the five but still has a little texture. Note that pens as well as brush and ink may take longer to dry on hard sized papers and may dissolve if you add watercolors too soon.

The papers in the Moleskine Watercolour Journal, Canson All Media Art Book, and Stillman & Birn are all a bit similar in that they are hard sized papers that take watercolor relatively well. Moleskine is more yellow, more prone to backruns (which does not have to be a disadvantage), Canson more textured and harder sized, Stillman & Birn less textured but also hard sized.

My personal preference when it comes to sketchbooks is to cut both watercolor and drawing paper to size and bring with me loose between the covers of a taken-apart 7"x10" wirebound black hardcover journal!


Översättning. Jag jämförde fem olika papper och skissböcker för mixed media: Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media, Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Art Journal, Canson All Media Art Book (med Montval 185 gsm papper), Moleskine Watercolour och Stillman & Birn Alpha Sketchbook.

Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media finns bara som block limmat på en sida och är ett slätt och hårt limmat papper som tar blyerts och tuschpenna bra. Flytande tusch ser däremot grått och lite ojämnt ut i mina test, vanligt för hårt limmade papper (liksom papper med hög absorptionsförmåga). Till akvarell rekommenderar jag att för bästa resultat att använda mindre vatten och inte alltför tjock färg då färgen annars lätt klumpar sig på papperet och vattnet kan ta tid att torka in.

Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media finns med hård och mjuk pärm samt i lösark och är ett bra, tunnare (190 gsm) alternativ till vanligt akvarellpapper, 100% bomull dessutom. Det tar både blyerts och tusch bra, dock kan flytande tusch bli ojämnt då papperet är ganska absorberande. Den bok jag testade hade 32 sidor i format liknande A4 och var ca 14 mm tjock vilket jag tycker är en bra storlek.

Canson All Media Art Book innehåller Canson Montval 185 gsm akvarellpapper och finns endast i ett format lite större än A4, en tung och tjock bok på 50 blad, men spiralbunden vilket jag gillar då man slipper hålla hela uppslaget öppet och kan vika bak ena halvan av boken. Papperet är hårt limmat med lite väl distinkt ytstruktur. Blyerts och tuschpenna får bra flyt. Tusch med pensel ser jämnare och svartare ut på detta papper än de föregående.

Moleskine Watercolour är ett papper i en lite varmare ton som tar blyerts, tusch och akvarell bra. Flytande tusch ser jämnare och svartare ut även här. Moleskine finns i fyra storlekar, fickformat, 21x13, A4, och A3, och är alla smala om ryggen, 30 blad och ca 14 mm, vilket gör att de mindre lätt kan fås ner i en väska. De öppnas dock i landskapsformat istället för i porträttformat, vilket jag tycker gör boken svår att hålla under någon längre tid om man står upp och ritar.

Stillman & Birn kommer i tre olika slags papper och två olika vikter, ett tunnare papper med medium ytstruktur (150 gsm) i vitt eller gulvitt, ett kallpressat papper (270 gsm) i vitt eller gulvitt, samt ett slätt vitt papper (150 eller 270 gsm). Finns med hård och mjuk pärm, spiralbunden och som lösark. Jag testade Alpha, det tunnare pappere med medium ytstruktur, men hade nog fått bättre resultat med Beta, det kallpressade papperet, då Alpha är tunt och bucklar mycket vid akvarellmålning. Jag tyckte även att den bok med hård pärm som jag testade var lite för tjock och tung för att lätt ta med sig, 2 cm och 62 blad. Dock framträder granuleringar bra även på detta tunnare papper, men jag kände motstånd med blyerts och penna då papperet är hårt limmat. Tusch med pensel blir ojämnt även här.

Vilket jag föredrog? Jag tyckte att jag fick bra resultat med akvarell på Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media som dessutom är av 100% bomull. Ett annat papper jag gillade som var betydligt slätare var Canson All Media Art Book, dvs Canson Montval 90 lb, vilket dock inte är 100% bomull.