Paper!If there's one thing I find it hard to stop accumulating, it's good drawing paper. I tend to throw a bit of everything at my papers: ink, charcoal, watercolor, etc., so I look for good weight as well as good surface.
I've been a long-time fan of Borden & Riley's Paris Bleedproof Paper for Pens, but sometimes I find it to be too bright a white. Not too long ago, we brought in 11"x14" 110 lb Paper for Pens by Pentalic, actually having meant to bring in their watercolor nature journals. Well, it was one of our happier 'accidents,' and I was intrigued by the comparatively warmer tone of this paper.
Here it is on my desk, with my models Buzzy and Purple Easter Man waiting on the right:
My first few attempts on this paper were pen & ink with watercolor.
Put one too many wash layers on (even ink layers with a brush and no additional water) and I found the paper buckled too much for my liking. I also tried a few vintage multi-tip nibs that apply a lot of ink at once, and those were not a good match with this paper, as the ink just soaked right in past the plate surface. Pentalic Paper for Pens really is best with a lighter hand at first!
You'll also find this paper works nicely with pencil, though as with nearly all plate surface papers, it isn't as forgiving as you might like if you make a mistake. Even though I used a soft 2B graphite, there are several ghost lines & dents on this drawing. (Not a big deal, as I was just figuring out the pose and didn't intend to ink over it.)This portrait of Buzzy was mostly done with a crow quill nib, using non-waterproof Higgins ink (black) over a light pencil sketch in 2B graphite. If you've drawn lightly, you will find it easy to erase your lines with a kneaded eraser after the ink is dry. (If you want zero pencil showing, use care. Graphite is shiny, and if you ink over it with broad lines or washes, it usually will show through a bit.)
Here's Buzzy again, with bolder ink work. This is when I started outlining and shading with a large round tipped nib (Speedball #B-1.) Round nibs can puddle the ink quite easily, and even with this 110 lb paper, there were still small spots of bleed-through to the next sheet. I almost forgot to mention my new-found technique for fixing small ink smudges: gently scraping the dry ink off with a very fresh #11 x-acto blade. If the thought of scraping your paper sets your nerves on edge, Daler-Rowney's "Pro-White" has a good reputation for fixing mistakes, but test it with your paper color first. Even better: remember to give your ink time to dry before you stick your hand on the paper again.
Alright, one final shot of my desktop. The drawing on the lower-right (P.E.M. sitting in a chair) was too big to fit my scanner, but this is one where I really went over and over again building up texture and using a variety of nibs. The surface of the paper held up well, with minimal bleed-through happening only in three spots where I really layered the ink. All in all, a pretty decent paper, and certainly one I'll keep using, in addition to the Borden & Riley version.
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Drawings and dolls are copyright 2009 Sweet Enemy Art