A couple people have asked why I don’t do sketchbook tours like so many people do. My first thought is that I’m not set up to shoot video, but I could be if I wanted to do so. No, the real reason is that my sketchbooks are not done to be presented. Lots of people approach each page as part of the whole, a place where a significant sketch must be completed to fit with the rest. Others do everything with carefully organized graphic and text presentations.
I’ve tried doing both and, frankly, both approaches seem far too limiting to me. I want to be able to scribble down whatever I want and however I want. My sketchbooks are more about trying stuff, having fun, and generally putting in the work to improve my ability to draw. I don’t feel I can do any of that while trying to produce something for presentation. If some presentable sketches come from this, so be it but that’s not my goal.
And since I’ve been talking about the Hahnemuhle Cappuccino notebook recently I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and talk about it some more while I show you a couple pages I did this weekend. They reflect how this paper responds to different media and how miserably disorganized my sketchbook pages are (grin). I’ll discuss these pages in the order in which it occurred.
We were at the Maritime Museum of Charlevoix this past weekend and we were sketching. At one point I decided that I needed to sit down (my knee still limits my energy/mobility) and so I did. Chantal took the opportunity to investigate views to a church she wanted to draw.
In front of me were some rocks so I got out the Cap. notebook and drew a small cluster of them. I used thin watercolor washes to give them some life. Then I started drawing a woman who was standing far away. This was a signal to her that she should walk behind a ship. She did and I was left with a scribble.
I sat for a while, enjoying the sunshine and the fact that one of the virtues of the pandemic is that these museums are nearly devoid of people. But eventually I started doing a quick, scribble of an old tugboat. The point of view was weird but I was comfortable and didn’t feel like moving. Besides, I was just going to draw the cabin roof and a few windows.
I didn’t worry about proportions and ended up with a tugboat with a shortened bow. I also had a tugboat that had bumped into my little rock drawing, so I drew a square around the rocks. It wasn’t a great sketch, but like all sketches it was fun to do.
Then Chantal came back. We got into a discussion of faking perspective because she’d been trying to sketch a church. The little scribble in the top left was my pen brain trying to assist my mouth brain in describing things. After that lively discussion I put the sketchbook away and we continued our visit.
When we got home I decided to see how the Cappuccino would handle gouache. So I painted the tugboat. I didn’t worry much about staying inside the lines or doing careful shading. I was only looking at how the gouache and paper interacted. It does quite well, by the way. For me, one of the advantages of gouache is that you use much less water and the paint sits on the surface so paper quality/type isn’t nearly as important.
Someone on YouTube mentioned using a Tuscan Red Col-Erase pencil and presented a few portraits done with it. Looked good to me so I hunted down my box of Col-Erase and drew the guy you see here. The drawing isn’t finished but I’m finished with it. As a proof of concept this was a winner and I’ll investigate further my Tuscan Red pencil.
So, you see, none of these partial sketches are tour-worthy. None of them are even finished drawings. They reflect me learning, trying, doing. I place most of the emphasis on that last word. Do you have sketchbooks like this?