My First Test Swatches for the Stillman and Birn Gamma Sketchbook

I noticed in some of my art books and while browsing online, that many people do a page or two of test swatches in their sketchbooks with their various watercolour paints. While I am waiting for the folding palette for my tube paints, I thought I’d break in my new Stillman and Birn Gamma sketchbook by doing a page testing my Staedtler watercolour pencils.


I wish I had done this years ago! I find particularly on this ivory paper, since I haven’t used that colour, that it helps to see how colours are going to appear, which gives me a more accurate way of picking colours than my usual by-guess-or-by-god method. My Staedtler set has 36 colours and I’ve added 4 colours to that over the years for a palette of 40 colours, and some of them don’t look at all as I expected. I was also glad to see that the white pencil shows up beautifully on the ivory paper. I thought I’d have to use white gouache for that but this will work fine for some things.

I was also able to test how the paper erased and how the Faber Castell Pitt pen went down. When I wet the colours I was worried but the paper handled it beautifully. I was so pleased and it was nice to break the journal in. The first two pages will eventually have tests of my 18 Van Gogh watercolours plus the 12 Reeves gouache colours.

Here is a close-up, click on the picture to enlarge it:





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