I’ve talked about how I carry my stuff and what pointy devices I use. What remains to be discussed are the substrates and supports for them, or more simply paper. My early thought was to discuss how I make my choices, but quickly that idea became more book-size than blog-size and so I’m limiting this to a more simple presentation of what I use. Maybe, in the future, discussions of why can take place.
I like to have several sizes of sketchbooks available to me but this conflicts with my desire to not have too many of them ‘in progress’ at the same time so sketchbook management is a constant struggle.
This photo represents the size variation I like. The large one in the back is a Stillman & Birn 8×10 Beta, the small red one is a Field Notes notebook, the landscape 9×6 is Stillman & Birn Alpha, and the other one is a 4×6 book, also from Field Notes.
When it comes to convenience at the drawing stage, there is nothing better than working with single sheets as it allows me to switch paper types and sizes, work without the constraints of sketchbook covers, and single sheets are very light. This approach is less useful when you want to hand a sketchbook to someone who comes up to you on the street and is interested in what you do.
My approach to using single sheets takes two forms. The first is to use a magnet board. The base of mine is very thin plywood and the metal surface came from a small magnetic board sold at the dollar store. All I did was remove the frame from the dollar store board and glue the metal sheet, with contact cement, to the wood. I rounded the corners to make it easier to slide in/out of my bag. The magnets are rare earth magnets. This approach allows me to quickly attach any paper and, because it’s very light, it’s easier to hold than any sketchbook. It has the added advantage that I can attach my palette to it with magnets too.
The other way I use single sheets is an idea from Marc Taro Holmes and one I use when I want to use first-class watercolor paper (Fabriano Artistico). I take sheets and tape them to Coroplast, sometimes on both sides. Coroplast is so light that I can carry 3-4 sheets without any appreciable weight added to my bag and they’re a dream to work on because they are so light.
This brings me to the end of this series. I do have a sense that I’ve left a lot out of the discussion by not spending time talking about why I use what I use so if you have questions, feel free to ask. I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look into location sketching – Larry style.