Our weekly housekeeper thought to clean my art nook last time and arranged my art books, paper pads and sketchbooks according to size (!!!) Naturally I went a little crazy when I started looking for this and that. I know that my stuff look more like a clutter. But honestly: I do know where my items are and I’m the only one who can make sense out of my elaborate system of organization that is – OKAY – clutter. Anyway, to make myself calm, I gathered some of my favorite sketchbooks last night and put them in plastic envelopes and pouches. I’ve yet to provide a nice home for my two Canson mixed media XL series sketchbooks that measure 9” x 12” and 7” x 10” respectively. And while they’re literally beside me as I write this and waiting to be put away, I thought I’d do a little review of these mixed media papers.
A bit of side story: I got my first Canson mixed media sketchbook sometime in June or July last year. A dear friend based in California learned that I had just renewed my passion for drawing and painting. We had a chat last summer (around March 2014) and he asked me what art supplies I might want or need. I said I just need papers for sketching and watercolor. So he shopped for a few items at Blick’s, got additional items for my cardmaking/scrapbooking projects, and shipped them. Unfortunately, the parcel was returned to him because there was some problem with our town’s postal system. Right! And then in June, his sister came here for a vacation and mailed the stuff to me from Bicol via LBC. I was so surprised ‘cause I didn’t expect anything to arrive at that time. It was a #YEHEY moment indeed! Now, my second Canson XL series pad (the smaller one) was purchased by my brother while he was vacationing in New York. It came with the Sakura Koi pan set, the Derwent Inktense pencils set, and a foldable watercolor palette. Yes, I am the spoiled one.
On to the review: I asked for mixed media papers at that time because I wasn’t sure yet which medium I’d want to settle with. I was doing pencil, watercolor, and acrylics mostly. I first tested the paper with a graphite pencil. Here’s a profile sketch of a fairy:
No doubt, this paper is good for pencil works. It’s pretty much like a thick cartridge drawing paper. I’ve never tried using colored pencils on this paper and blending the colors with a stump. But I supposed they’d turn out well too.
After doing the preliminary sketch, I gave the fairy a light wash using Sakura Koi watercolors, Derwent Inktense pencils, and Tsukineko Memento markers:
Watercolor is okay as long as you’re going for light washes only. I don’t think this paper would be good for color mixing or WIW techniques. Another thing: the Inktense pencils didn’t seem to rub well on the surface and when I tried to activate and blend the colors with a wet brush, the pigment settled quickly on the paper! I was really disappointed. What I should probably do next time is to just pick up the color from the ink pencil using a brush and then lay down the pigment on paper.
Here’s another ink and watercolor sketch that I did on the Canson Mixed Media XL series. The paper buckled a bit but it straightened out later.
My recommendations: This paper is absolutely good for dry media so go ahead and play with your pencils, charcoal, colored pencils and pens. If you wish to do wet media like ink, watercolors and acrylics, I suggest that you do light washes/alla prima only or coat the pages first with gesso before laying down the paints.
Other good points: The sizes are superb! I’m actually happy with what I got. Check out the other sizes and dimensions available for portrait and landscape illustrations. I also like the perforated pages. I use these sketchbooks mainly for studies and practice. But there’s this happy thought of tearing off a page of study that turns out perfect for framing. :o)
And that’s all there is, there isn’t anymore. If you’d like to give the Canson XL series a try, you might want to purchase it through my Amazon aStore. Remember to read the product details and costumer reviews of the Canson Mixed Media XL Series before buying it.