Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Creating the perfect journal... part i, paper and ink

Fruition, my latest journal...

When I was making my current journal, I had a long think about what makes the perfect journal... Of course, that's the perfect journal for me, but there are several things I've noticed from teaching over the years, and they're consistent.

Number one is paper. My favorite paper is Hahnemühle Schiller, a hard, white-white, which I get from Atlantic Paper. It's 140 gsm, so, thickish, but not cover stock weight. I have used lots of other papers, mostly from Hahnemühle: Gutenberg and Biblio are my second choices for journals. (My last journal, Hope, was on Gutenberg, 'cos that was what I had enough of when it was time to make the journal...) But I love Schiller. I love writing on it.

Page spread from Fruition...


Which brings me to an important point. Writing... The physical act of writing. It's really crucial that your pen or pencil or crayon or paint flow smoothly across the paper. I use mostly Rapidographs for writing the body of my posts, and a variety of brush and felt-tip calligraphy pens (Pentel brush pens and Zig Memory markers) for capitals and such. The big deal for me, especially with the Rapidographs, is having the ink flow out of the pen so I don't have to stop writing and shake the pen or mess with it in any way. This means you need to have the perfect ink for it. I go back and forth and up and down on my ink. I have made my own from sumi ink sticks, but that tends to get granular enough to impede the flow pretty quickly. Currently I am enamored of Dr. Ph. Martin's Black Star Matte India Ink, which is truly black, truly waterproof and flows well. Now, mind you, I'm not using those teenitesy Rapidographs. I never use below a Size 1, and mostly use Size 2, 2 1/2 and 3, so we're talking BIG, here. I don't use the smaller ones because I use Schiller paper and it's just too rough for those little points.

And that's what I'm talking about: the necessity of matching your paper to your medium. If you do like to work with those tiny Rapidograph points, you're going to need a smoother paper, just like if you do a lot of true water color (as opposed to just using water colors as color spots like I do), you'll want a heavier paper than Schiller.

In the page spread above, you can see me using many different things. The capital 'a' in the left column is a Zig marker, 'the daily fruit' and 'Sunday' are Pentel brush marker with my own mix of waterproof ultramarine and walnut ink to create a blackish color, the text body is #3 and #2 Rapidographs, 'June 7th' is Pentel ColorBrush, as is 'Wednesday' and the illustrations are done with Caran d'Ache NeoColor II crayons and a Niji waterbrush. Just FYI, this is a full-leather, split board construction journal. The leather is dyed with various metallic inks and powders and has two gouache insets in the front and back covers.

Both photos were taken by my fabulous photographer friend, Wendy Ogle.

4 comments:

Loretta said...

Oh, Wendy, Puleeze post most of your gorgeous journal pages and your fascinating behind the scenes of what goes into them. I never tire of looking at them and wishing they were mine!

gypsy said...

I've just discovered my long forgotten Rapidograph set and have been experimenting with Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay White India ink and have been thrilled w/results. I like the tiny nibs for doodling but you've given me the idea to try the larger nibs from the set in my art journal. Thanks!

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Jeanette said...

Found you through Roz Stendahl and am quite glad. This is the first of your posts I've read, and your journal page is stunning! I'm a beginning journaler and lean toward strictly visual - feel I have nothing to say, but time will tell.