The architect in me loves the wood-patterned
dark grey cover. The name evokes the days of the modernists, grey and red and black and white — even down to the red ribbon bookmark. It is nice in the hand, opens flat, and like all Hahnemühle journals, is thread stitched and built to last.
The lightest sketchbook I normally buy is 150 gms, 93lb paper. THE GREY BOOK is 40 sheets of 120 gms, (55lb), of smooth acid-free light grey sketch paper. Hahnemühle advertises it is ideal for Indian ink, fountain pens and acrylic markers as well as other water-based pens with minimum abrasion. So you can understand why I wanted to see if this light-weight sketchbook could take a beating with all the mediums I normally use.
Tests were done on sample sheets which accompanied THE GREY BOOK.
I used water-brushes filled with inks and liquid watercolors to test the “wet” papers ability, and piled on 2-3 layers (which is not typical) the paper held up. I turned it over, and only in those areas where several coats were applied did the paper ghost, right. It is clearly not intended for watercolor, but
it is nice to know I can apply a light wash of inks for grisaille if so moved!
This paper loved gel pens and even the Pentel Brush Pen without ghosting and
made for a smooth ride for my scratchiest fine point fountain pens.
What did not work well on the paper was watercolor pencils. In the first and
fourth squares, above, I tried two brands of watercolor pencils, Hahnemühle (yes, they make watercolor pencils!) and Caran Dache, and both did not perform well when used with water. The paper is so smooth and the pencil pigment simply is pushed around.
However, pencils by themselves went on creamy and rich!
The paper is amazing for line-work!
Above, I tested Neocolors and a water-soluble graphite pencil over ink,
with a light touch with a water-brush to move the pigments. It is not my medium,
so don’t judge THE GREY BOOK by my crayon work — the paper held up swimmingly!
A quick ink drawing of my beloved palm trees.
Piling pale watercolor washes onto the grey, above and right, I thought it was important for you to see the paper as it saturates. Yes, it buckles (it is a sketch-weight paper) and looks like a dapple-gray during Holi!
However, after drying, much
of the buckling eased and
the pale watercolors looked
good on the grey paper, below.
I played with touches of colored pencil on top of the watercolor and am happy
with the result! How will I use this journal? I will take it with me to the
small class of pen and pencil artists gathering this summer to share techniques
on grey paper in the Pacific Northwest countryside and islands.
Hahnemühle Grey Journal, with a Pentalic HB woodless pencil,
Super5 Frankfurt (Amazon when they have it or buy from Europe),
Lamy Al-Star with De Atramentis Document Black ink,
Platinum Carbon Pen with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges,
White Uniball Signo, Pitt White pen, Platinum Japanese Art Pocket Brush Pen,
various colored pencils (watercolor and not), NeocolorII, and Daniel Smith Watercolors.
©D. Katie Powell.
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