A couple of days ago I browsed through some old sketches, especially from period when I used to use just the J HERBIN GRIS NUAGE fountain pen ink for a wash. Like – for example – GRIS.

I felt nostalgic and somewhat longed for the simplicity of that approach. So I filled an aqua-brush with GRIS NUAGE and grabbed a sketchbook my friend Philippe from France gave me some years ago. On the back of it it says it was made by Canson, a well known French art brand, but no specifics of the exact paper are listed. It’s not a proper watercolor paper, but has some weight and a sweet mild texture.

Everything seemed well prepared for the adventure – I even managed to find my subject relatively fast.

And it went fine, except for two niggles. While the paper of this sketchbook is nice for drawing with a fountain pen, not too glossy and with some pleasant tooth to it, the PLATINUM CARBON BLACK INK sadly tends to feather on it.

And that feeling of paper not behaving “properly” continued and augmented when I started washing the drawing. GRIS NUAGE spread unevenly, somewhere being soaked too fast, somewhere pooling in drops. Yes, these water brushes tend to have a-way-too-generous-a-flow but still, on some other papers, Fabriano Accademia for example, the layering and glazing is better controlled and far less mushy.

In the end, after drying, the result seems closer to something done with COPIC markers than watercolor.

On top of that, the pages do not want to lie flat and tend to return to closed state, so I had to fight them a bit while drawing. Not as neat as my trusty PERFECT SKETCHBOOK used to behave.

While I may have left the impression of disappointment, it wasn’t really the case 🙂 It felt good to sketch again after such a looong pause, spending about forty minutes in lovely spring outdoors. Looking forward to the next session!