I’ve had some serious fun learning the best techniques when using toned paper in the last few months. When I got the idea to compare and contrast the most available brands, I hadn’t realized how totally addictive making art on toned paper would be. I am so grateful to the companies who provided product for these reviews. Hahnemühle generously sent two Grey Book sketchbooks, one of each size, A4 (8″x12″) & A5 (6″x8″). I will be giving away the smaller Grey Book along with other surprise goodies tomorrow so watch this space.
Each sketchbook has 40 acid free sheets/80 pages. The 120 gsm paper is a fully opaque light grey color. I found that I could not see though the paper, even using bright light and no pen work showed through at all. This allows for use of both sides of a sheet. The paper is best used with dry media like watercolor pencils, pencil crayons, fountain pens, acrylic markers, graphite and other waterbased pens. I also used a Signo white gel pen for highlights if the white watercolor pencil wasn’t white enough. The paper is so wonderfully smooth, it took many layers of pencil crayon beautifully.
Of all the sketchbooks I’ve experienced, I like the cover of this one best. The anthracite colored cover has the feel of a fine wood grain texture. The binding is excellent and I found it to be tight, no loose pages. The cover laid out flat when opened, allowing the artist to work across the gutter.
I did find that you can use a tiny amount of water to move around small bits of watercolor pencil color using a zero brush but when I attempted to use an acrylic liquid ink with a brush it was too wet for the paper. I also tried using a bit more water to move it around and that was even more unsuccessful and the page buckled strangely as you can see in the photo (left). You can see a striated sun type pattern radiating from the center to the right of the container of pencil crayons, it looks like it continues the shadow I’d started on the left. To be fair, the Grey Book does specifically say for DRY MEDIA. I just wanted to try and see how far it would go. Lesson learned, nothing liquid.
I have to say, this is my favorite paper in a bound journal form. Hahnemühle’s Grey Book is luxurious, both the paper and the cover/binding. It even has a lovely red satin ribbon to mark your page. So far, Hahnemühle only offers the journal form, there isn’t unbound sheets available. I think larger single sheets or a spiral bound pad would be lovely as then the artist could choose to also frame their art. I absolutely loved the color of this paper too, when using toned paper I prefer the grey tones as opposed to the tan/brown/beige. Lucky for me, that’s the color Hahnemühle chose to offer. My Faber-Castell watercolor pencils glided the smoothest over this paper and I found the least pixilation of the colors with this paper. The tiny holes, with layer upon layer, filled in with color over time.
For me, this is a new medium, allows me to work in a hyper-realistic format. It was ridiculously fun to watch as the pencil crayon built up over a beautiful grey background. It was so easy to avoid getting noticeable lines and color striations with this paper. Having the background already there for you and coaxing the artist to think more comprehensively about the colors they’re laying down to achieve the right tone makes, for a enticingly challenging experience. I especially loved using bright white gel pen at the very end, bringing the artwork into exquisite focus. The grey color of this paper made that happen beautifully. This is why I’ve fallen in love with Hahnemühle’s Grey Book.
On Hahnemühle’s blog there’s another review of The Grey Book. The artist, Pedro Alves, is a expert sketcher, adding such a joyful graphic nature to his sketches. He works totally differently than I do, you can see how versatile The Grey Book is.
Learning: to successfully use MailChimp.
Anticipating: Beginning my first GIVEAWAY this Sunday! Remember to subscribe so you can enter.
Planning: Next review on Strathmore Toned Journal & Toned Tiles
Loving: David Rio Flamingo Vanilla Chai Tea Mix