New Art Supplies from London Graphic Centre

LondonGraphicCentre_Art Supplies

A few weeks ago the London Graphic Centre very kindly sent me some new art supplies to try and I thought you might like to see what I received. I haven’t had the time to try them out properly yet but these are my first impressions.

Paper

Fluid Watercolor Block

As you probably know, I use watercolour paints a lot in my work so I was excited to received this hot press watercolor block from the brand Fluid. I’ve never actually used a block of paper before but the idea is that the sheets are glued together *almost* all the way around, meaning that the paper should stay nice and flat while you work on it. When you’re finished working, you find the tiny gap in the glue and run a sharp knife around the edge to remove the top sheet.

Watercolor Block

This paper is 300gsm, acid-free and feels lovely and smooth. I’m a big fan of smooth, thick watercolour paper so I’m sure I’ll enjoy using this.

Winsor and Newton Watercolour Pad

I also received this Winsor and Newton watercolour pad. This one is cold press paper, which means it has some texture to it and again, is 300gsm.

Winsor and Newton Cold Press Watercolour Paper

I was convinced I hadn’t tried the Winsor and Newton watercolour paper but I actually have a tiny spiral bound sketchbook which I’ve used for one or two urban sketches and the paper is really nice to use and takes watercolour washes very well.

Ink

Tombow Pen

Tombow pens are really handy and they have 2 different nibs – a brush nib at one end and a finer bullet nib at the other. They’re not something I use every day but I find them quite useful for quick sketches.

When I did the One Week 100 People challenge I found this was the best pen for loose, fast sketches, especially the finer nib. It doesn’t drag and because it’s a bit thicker than a standard fine liner, it forces you to be less precious about the outcome.

All Kinds of Pencils

Derwent Pencils

During my current 100 Day Project I’ve started using coloured pencils combined with watercolour paints so I was really excited to receive this selection of pencils by Derwent. I love their watercolour pencils and lately I’ve loved playing with the Inktense range, so I know that I’ve got some really high quality pencils here.

I haven’t tried Derwent’s Procolour or Coloursoft before but I really like the look and feel of both of them. As the name suggests, the Coloursoft makes a nice soft, almost grainy texture, while the Procolour is slightly more waxy so it will be interesting to compare them in a bit more detail soon.

Derwent Pencils
Derwent pencils from top to bottom: Procolour, Graphic 2B, Inktense, Watercolour, Pastel, Coloursoft

I didn’t know that Derwent made a pastel pencil. It feels almost chalky to use and I’m already trying to think of ways to incorporate it into my work.

Graphite

Derwent 2B Pencil

Very occasionally I make pencils drawings but usually the only time I usually use graphite pencils is for sketching outlines or making rough sketches before I start a final piece of work, but this Derwent  Graphic pencil may convert me. For a 2B it has quite a light coverage and doesn’t smudge easily so I think I’ll get along with this one very nicely.

Derwent Mechanical Pencil

One thing I had been thinking about buying is a good quality mechanical pencil, partly for the convenience when out and about, and partly for achieving a consistent pencil line without having to sharpen it. This Precision pencil, also from Derwent, looks really nice. It has a 0.5mm lead and a full metal body which suggests to me that it should be sturdy and long lasting.

Watercolour Stick

Winsor and Newton watercolour stick

Something else I haven’t tried before is this watercolour stick from Winsor and Newton. It feels almost like a wax crayon and goes on to the paper in that sort of way too. But then when you add water over the top it transforms into a lovely watercolour wash. I’m wondering if I could use it in my 100 Day Project and I think they’d be really handy for urban sketching too. A few of these and a water brush could be a very practical part of a sketching kit.

Gouache

Caran D'Ache Gouache

I also have 2 colours of gouache from Caran D’Ache. I love the watercolour pencils I have from Caran D’Ache but I didn’t realise they also made gouache so I’ll be interested to see how this pan and tube compare to other brands I’ve used.

Watercolour Pencils

Winsor and Newton Watercolour Pencils

Finally, I have this set of 12 watercolour pencils from Winsor and Newton. The label states that they are ‘premium artist quality’ and highly pigmented. They go onto the paper very smoothly and certainly seem to produce a vibrant wash when water’s added so I’m very keen to start using these regularly alongside my Winsor and Newton paints (and paper!).

A big thank you to London Graphic Centre for adding to my stash of art supplies. If you’ve used any of the things I’ve mentioned here I’d love to here your thoughts about them and if you’d like to see a more detailed review of any of them, please let me know!

 

New Sketchbooks!

9 Sketchbooks

A couple of weeks ago I went online to order a new sketchbook. I wanted to try something different from what I’d been using and before I knew it I’d ordered 9 different sketchbooks! It all started because I thought a spiral bound watcercolour sketchbook might be useful for urban sketching. I’m not usually a fan of spiral bound books but last time I went on a sketch crawl it was quite windy and I thought that I spiral bound book would be easier to handle in those conditions. They fold back on themselves and if I got one with a sturdy cover it would be easy to work on on my lap.

My first thought was Seawhite of Brighton. They make some really nice, affordable sketchbooks and their watercolour paper is good quality. Unfortunately they don’t make a watercolour sketchbook in the size I really wanted (A5, or 8 x 5 inches) so I went for the A4 one.

Seawhite Watercolour Sketchbook

They have 2 options in these books – a 35 page book with paper that weighs 225gsm and a 25 page book with thicker 350gsm paper. I went for the one with thicker paper and although I haven’t started sketching in it yet I think it’s going to be really nice to use. The only down side seems to be that it’s quite heavy but I can probably live with that if I’m only carrying it around for a few hours.

I have used one spiral bound watercolour sketchbook before that was closer to the size I really wanted. It was a Daler Rowney Cachet Travel Sketchbook but they don’t seem to make them any more from what I can tell. I did find another Daler Rowney watercolour sketchbook though, which is the same size and uses the same paper as the Travel Book

Daler Rowney Sketchbook

Like the Seawhite watercolour book the Daler Rowney has lovely thick paper (300gsm) and a sturdy hard cover. It’s 7×10 inches so not as bulky or heavy as the Seawhite sketchbook, and it came with a tin containing a pencil, a few watercolour pencils and a brush. I’m looking forward to trying this one out soon.

Seawhite Sketchbooks

Going back to Seawhites, I ordered quite a few of their other sketchbooks too. These aren’t specifically for watercolour but their cartridge paper is good quality for drawing in pencil and ink, and all of their sketchbooks are excellent value for money. The ones I chose are an A5 Creative Casebound sketchbook with a green spine, an A5 spiral bound sketchbook with a black paper cover, and an A5 Eco spiral bound sketchbook and with a sturdy hard cover.

I also thought I’d stock up on sketchbooks with toned paper. I ordered 2 Seawhite sketchbooks with black paper. One is from the range of Starter sketchbooks and is A4.

Seawhites Black wirebound sketchbook

The other is an A5 hard backed, wire bound sketchbook containing thick black card, which looks like it will hold up well to pen, pencil and gouache or acrylic paint.

Hahnemuhle Grey Book

I recently used a Hahnemuhle watercolour sketchbook, which was very nice so when I spotted that they now make a grey paper sketchbook I was keen to give it a try. Grey paper sketchbooks aren’t easy to find in the UK or Europe so this one stood out for me.

Hahnemuhle Grey Paper

The paper is 120gsm so probably won’t hold up well to paint but for drawing in pencil, pen or coloured pencil it should be good.

Winsor and Newton Sketchbook

Finally, I spotted this Winsor and Newton watercolour sketchbook and I love Winsor and Newton paints so I thought I’d try this sketchbook. It’s nice and compact but the cover’s not as sturdy as the other watercolour books I bought. That does have the advantage of making it lighter to carry around though.

Winsor and Newton watercolour paper

The paper is 300gsm which is the same as the Daler Rowney book I mentioned, but for some reason the Winsor and Newton paper feels a bit thinner so it’ll be interesting to compare the two. The pages are perforated which I’m not that keen on but I can live with it. What I do like is the size. It’s 7×5 inches so it’s really easy to fit into a small bag and carry around most days.

I bought the Seawhite sketchbooks from ArtESaver. They offer free delivery on all orders over £40, and I also got a big box of ‘seconds’ for £10, which are sketchbooks that have some some damage to the covers, are the end of a range or have foil blocking on the covers but the paper is still perfectly fine for sketching.

All the other sketchbooks I mentioned came from Granthams Art Discount, which have some really good prices on a while range of art supplies and their delivery is pretty quick too.

I hope you found this useful and/or interesting. What’s your favourite sketchbook? Do you use different sketchbooks for different situations or stick to one at a time?