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A portrait by Laura and some sketches on recycled paper

November 4, 2009

Sometimes Laura and I get together on Skype – it’s wonderful to be able to sit and chat with a good friend, even while she’s on another continent.  I’ve heard that some of the big telephone operators in Europe are working hard against skype – for example, you can’t access it from an iphone over here – and I really hope they don’t succeed.  Anyway, two evenings ago, during an intense discussion, she sketched me.  I love the way she caught that concerned look I must have had – I’m sure I smiled at least a couple of times during the conversation, but you can’t draw two expressions at once!  Here’s the result :

Casey on skype_edited-1

Thanks Laura! It’s amazing the way she can capture a likeness in a few lines, and yet her portraits all have an elegance which is pure Laura.

Last weekend, I bought a sketchbook from a local card shop which I just love – the owner had been promising to get these in for months, but they are made by a disorganized local company better known for their envelopes.  Anyway, I chose two with a brown cardboard color paper.  I took the small one for  a sketching outing last week – I brought watercolor, ink and some brown and white pencils, and had a tough time getting any color to show up.  I finally decided on a brush pen as the best way to do line on this.  Anyone else ever worked on this sort of surface?  I’m thinking that gouache is probably the best medium, but that’s a little complicated to do while out on a walk.  Here are my first attempts, anyway :

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2009 10:27 am

    L’essentiel y est… J’aime ces croquis fait d’un “simple” trait : bravo Laura !
    Sympa ces papiers bruns où des rehauts de blanc donnent toujours beaucoup d’effets. Moi j’utilise souvent le feutre (Faber-Castel), un peu de brou de noix et un crayon blanc lorsqu’il s’agit de croquis. Sinon, gouaches, encres, pastels… c’est un support qui accepte (presque) tout !

  2. November 4, 2009 12:43 pm

    That looks like a Laura and a Casey – what a great combination.

    Lucky you finding the brown sketchbooks, Casey, I’ve been searching as far away as Florence with no luck. In the end I found a couple of books made with recycled paper – one dark grey, another buff coloured. I want them for gouache.

    You’ve achieved a lovely lively result with yours. I particularly love to see white on these dark grounds. What sort of brush pen did you end up with? I’m still trying to hunt down a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen – they haven’t landed in Italy yet but I did, for the first time, see a waterbrush in Florence the other day, so I live in hope.

  3. November 4, 2009 12:59 pm

    What fun! Talking and sketching via Skype…I’m going to have to try that!

    I love the sketches on the brown paper – I often use gouache on that brown paper, and love how it looks – and I use gouache in a travel palette just like watercolor – depending on the kind you have, it rewets quite well, and so can be used while out and about!

  4. caseytoussaint permalink*
    November 4, 2009 1:37 pm

    For those of you that are searching for this paper, the sketchbooks are made by the company ‘l’Arbre aux Papiers’ Here’s a link to their catalogue :
    you have to download a pdf file and then go to page three, where thy show the ‘carnet’ and the ‘cahier’.
    I don’t know from personal experience how it is to deal with them directly, but my local supplier said he’d found it difficult – apparently they are extremely nice, but disorganized.
    Robyn, my brush pen is a pentel.
    Thanks for the encouragement, all.

  5. caseytoussaint permalink*
    November 4, 2009 1:37 pm

    And Diahn, thanks for the tip – I’m going to look for a gouache kit right now – and you are my reference as a gouache painter!

  6. Gwendolyn permalink
    November 4, 2009 4:31 pm

    1) I love the effects you got. I also like brown paper, but it usually doesn’t have enough sizing for it to behave like watercolor paper…

    2) Hence, you might try adding sizing, either watercolor sizing, spray starch (like for clothing), or giving it a light, preliminary spray with clear acrylic…

    3) You can make your own gouache kit. Homemade pocket watercolor kits abound on the Internet. Substitute gouache and you’re ready to go.



    3c) another approach: easy to make, but I found this too heavy for carrying:

    3d) elegant, but too much work for me:

    3e) my notes on the contents of my watercolor kit: (page down)

    4) You could do underpainting in gouache and then paint in watercolor. Often when I am painting in watercolor, I do an underpainting in a value that is barely visible… and then paint on top of it. It gives me more control of the final layers of paint and provides a halo / shadow for effects where I cannot paint all the detail that I see.

    Have fun!

  7. November 5, 2009 12:48 am

    I love the color in these sketches and the color of the paper! It’s great that the paper didn’t buckle with the brush pen.

  8. November 5, 2009 8:25 am

    Intéressant ce papier. J’avais fait un carnet sur papier kraft mais au bout d’un moment j’étais lassée et jevoulais retrouver du papier BLANC !

  9. lindsay816 permalink
    November 8, 2009 8:21 pm

    What a great idea! I just did this with my son and it was loads of fun. Also, I love the sketches in your new book. Looks like nice paper to work with.


  1. A portrait by Laura and some sketches on recycled paper « rue Manuel bis

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