Paper Obstacles

The Sketchbook Project

It’s been  a while since I checked in with you guys on this project, I’ve had to overcome a few obstacles along the way.

I had a really clear idea what I wanted to do with this book from (almost) the outset last year – a rambling whirl of doodles, a stream of consciousness running through the pages. Then I got ill, and the heavy duty pain medication I had in hospital inspired me with a really clear visual I wanted to recreate. As best I could, two-dimensionally on paper.

I began the line work back during Inktober, and looking back I remember at the time being aware of just how thin and flimsy the paper is in the book. I mean, super thin. It would hold up well to gentle care but I’m heavy handed and (because it’s all I had to hand and impatience is my biggest motivator in all I do) I used ballpoint pen. So my pages were already crinkling from the indentation of the lines.

That’s cool – it adds character – it’s my ‘style’ – go with it, I thought.


I delayed the coloring stage until I finally got my new watercolors I’d been so eager to use.

Then the holidays, then life, then I finally began.

this paper soaks up watercolor like a sponge.


Oh. My. Days!

You do NOT wanna use watercolors on this paper. Of course if I hadn’t been so hung up on the combination of:

This Sketchbook Project + These Colors + These Paints = Exactly What I Want To Do

then perhaps I wouldn’t have been temporarily blind the reality of:

This Medium + This Paper = A Certain Soggy Mess.


Soaked right through to the other side 😦



Ok, I’m an adaptable kinda person, I pride myself on being able to change direction, to adjust and adapt.

Acrylics, I thought. Acrylics are the answer. They will sit on top of the paper and give it a bit more substance as well.


Look at that paper curl! It seems I  have angered the book now.


Nope. Not only is it a streaky mess, but the pages are actually curling up in disgust.

What do they want from me? light, delicate pencil? Do they know me AT ALL??

I heard a distant memory jangling about in the back of my mind – are there rules on what media we’re to use?  – checking the website: sure, acrylics & gesso are discouraged because the pages get sticky and … yes, yes, I know all this

So, my first plan of watercolor was back on the table – because, when I read onwe are allowed to rebind the book.  I can use actual watercolor paper!   

Now that time was getting squeezed, that forever-away-distant deadline was getting closer…  I decided that keeping it simple was the best way forward. The elaborate plans I had to begin are on hold for a separate project later in the year, meanwhile I’m back with what I know best for the pages of this book: the idea that is fuelling my creativity and has done for a long while now: an adventure in 12 colors!

After all, it’s my thing, right?

My pages are complete and ready for binding, I’ll show the finished book as soon as I get some good light for photos – then it’ll be winging it’s way off to Brooklyn Art Library

If you want to be first to see what I’m making, and get exclusive discounts on these things, clickety-hop aboard my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug and nestled with a hot water bottle & a kitten until the spring arrives.


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