Sunday, November 09, 2008

Eliminate the Buckling of Watercolor Paper Forever (or, at least in the Canson Montval All-Media sketchbook...)

Joseph Stoddard Working Plein Aire 2

Many of the watercolor sketches and paintings that I feature on this blog are done in my Canson Montval sketchbook. The official product name is "Canson Montval All-Media Book." The sketchbook is spiral-bound, and includes 90-lb paper.

I often receive comments from people that get frustrated when using their Canson sketchbook; most comments are usually related to the paper buckling when washes are applied.

I will admit that my pages also buckle, but only very slightly. The trick with the Canson Montval All-Media book is to use less water. Use thicker paint than that which you're used to. And, when pre-wetting an area with clear water (such as sky) use a very light layer of water. If you're having a problem with page buckling, try using a little less water, and I think you'll be happier with the sketchbook.

In fact, the key tricks of less water & thicker paint will allow you to use watercolors in a wide variety of sketchbooks, especially those that feature lighter weight papers. I have even used this technique successfully on copier paper!

Another trick I use is to clamp down the pages with binder clips. You can see an example of this in the photo above. This is a photo of Joseph Stoddard painting plein air, from whom I took a workshop in 2007. In fact, I have gotten into the habit of using binder clips in all my sketchbooks, not just the Canson Montval All-Media book. The clamping helps prevent buckling and curling of the page, and once it dries, it will lay flat.

Give these tips a try and let me know how they worked for you!

There's other stuff on my Flickr photostream.


bonnyracca said...

Great tips, Steve! I like using the Montval books too, although, up until now I've just used water soluble pncil crayons in them. With those you don't need quite as much water as with watercolor painting. zI'll keep your tip about using the clip in mind. good idea!

tiffannysketchbook said...

I'll give those a try! My greatest success with a watercolor sketchbook has been with Strathmore Aquarius II. Unfortunately it comes big, and not with a lot of sheets. Also not hard bound.

Thanks for the tips!

Krista said...

Thanks for all the tips, Steve! I'll to look for that book next time.

Sharon said...

Great tips. Thanks. I was finding problems with 140 lb. paper and using my Micron pen so now I have a choice.Sharon