Testing Coloured Pencil in My Stillman and Birn Gamma Sketchbook

I didn’t start off to intentionally test different materials in this sketchbook but it worked out that way when I started doing a couple of test swatches.

While searching for tutorials on using gouache, I came across the blog of Naomi Bardoff and liked her border image in this post. I love the bulrushes, and they remind me so much of all the bulrushes in the ponds behind my house.

I kept this in mind as inspiration for a border that looks like a bookplate on the inside front cover of my artist’s journal. It has a general theme of my garden and property, I even drew a beetle in there. I sketched a heron and a turtle and some flowers with a 2H pencil, and decided that the detail was too fine for paint so I used my Prismacolor and Verithin coloured pencils.

My heron somehow morphed into a fantastical bird, but sometimes these things happen in the woods. I am fond of using my initial in redwork embroidery so used a nice initial in the corner for interest. The inner border measures 3 x 4.5 inches, and it’s small; at one point I had my glasses on and was using a hand-held magnifying glass for tiny leaves and outlining.

I managed to do quite a bit of layering and some burnishing. I also erased a lot, and one motif was excised completely (a watering can) because it didn’t really fit. I burnished over areas with masking tape to lift the colour and then erased. The paper held up really well. The lettering is done with a Micron pen, and I sprayed this with Krylon workable fixative.

Here is the picture of it, although for privacy I have taken out the e-mail address.


Ah well, it’s a bit of cheerful whimsy for the title page, I always like fancier title pages.



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2 Responses to Testing Coloured Pencil in My Stillman and Birn Gamma Sketchbook

  1. I love that title page. The flowers round the edge look great. Reminds me a little of my Paladini tarot.

  2. JJ ColourArt says:

    Thanks Steve. I don’t have the Paladini, but I looked and the colours are similar. I just got a catalogue in the mail for Connecting Threads (an American fabric place) and they have a spring fabric line with the same colours!

    The title page looks a bit better in person, alas, my point and shoot photography skills are as wretched as ever.

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