Fabriano Bristol+ Paper

This spring/summer has been a real spoiler for my daily sketching habit.  Yes, I still “take a few minutes” and do daily doodles but since I’m retired, my “daily sketching habit” used to involve me spending a couple hours a day either sketching or going to/from sketching locations.  Not this year.

Instead, heat waves, almost daily rain and trying to renovate and organize our place have kept me from daily forays out sketching.  We’re also making up for several years where I couldn’t walk much and/or suffered too much “ennui” to do anything but watch reruns of old TV shows.  I don’t know where the blame lies here but I do know that I don’t have as much time to be sketching on location right now.  We do have a fully renovated front porch and are working on the back deck right now.  I have stairs to replace and a WHOLE lot of stuff that’s just piled up.

One such pile is an entire closet of art supplies and other junk.  This is not heavy work and some of it is fun but it’s eating a lot of time right now.  In that closet I found a pad of Fabriano Bristol+ paper.   This stuff is 145lb (250gsm) bristol board that is VERY smooth.  I love bristol but normally I use Strathmore series 300 bristol in its “vellum” form because it’s cheap and provides a smooth surface but with some tooth.  Ideal for pencil drawings if you want something cheaper than Stonehenge’s drawing papers.

I don’t know when I bought this but it doesn’t appear that I’ve ever used it.  Maybe I decided it was too smooth.  Art happens when an idea, time and materials come together.  I’ve been following some of France, aka @wagonized, Belleville-Van Stone‘s crosshatching workshops and thinking about papers for use with ballpoint pens.  So, an idea came to me.  I could continue sorting through old computer equipment, wiring, bottles, and art stuff, or I could give Fabriano Bristol+ a try.  The answer was obvious.

Like France, I used one of the 1.6mm Bic pens.  I used an orange one and quickly drew a pear.  It worked out ok but the Bristol+ is too slick and the ballpoint wasn’t as responsive as it should be.  Just not enough tooth in the paper to keep the ball rolling and this also limited the number of layers I could use to create tones.  I sort of made up for this a bit by being more heavy-handed but this detracts from the cross-hatching.  Anyways, this is the result and I got to do some sketching.  Now, back to work.

2 Responses to “Fabriano Bristol+ Paper”

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  1. Tina Koyama says:

    I keep meaning to check out France’s workshops, but summer is so short here that I can’t bear to stay indoors on my computer more than I have to. I hope she still offers them in the winter. I have the 1.6 Bics and lots of paper ready, though! 😉

    • I hear ya. I think our summer is gone when it comes to sketching. Every day brings rain, 90% humidity and I’m largely distracted by home repairs and undoing of an amazing amount of disorganization that is our home.

      Truthfully I’m not sure I need coursework in hatching. Hatching is not a major portion of what I do and I’ve watched a bunch of France videos and followed Paul Heaston’s Craftsy workshops. What I need is lots of practice if I want to improve. But I just love France’s approach and have read her book at least three times. Because she’s done so much for free over the years, I felt I “owed” her and so when she started offering a 3-part series on hatching, I bought them.

      To be honest, I’ve only watched a couple of the videos and done only one of the exercises. Those will have to wait until winter I suppose, but then I’ll want to get back to oil painting so….