Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Testing New (to me) Paper: Sugar Cane Paper by Too Little Trees

A long time ago I picked up a lovely little blank journal made of sugar cane paper by a company called Too Little Trees.  I'm not sure why I didn't test the paper out before this spring, but I'm glad I did.

The paper, as you'll see in the scribble sketch below, has a light coffee and cream cast to it.  I wouldn't even call it off white.  It is definitely closer to a light khaki color, but not as dark as kraft paper.

The paper is very thin and quite smooth, like some of the high end fountain pen paper I've encountered.  I thought that probably meant that it would stand up well to media bleeding through it.

But you never know until you find out.  So I gave it a go a few weeks ago, while I was watching the finally of The Voice and pretending to clean the house.

Such an interesting result.  The paper took the ink from my Uniball Vision fine pen perfectly.  And it took the opaque white from my Signo pen perfectly.  And nothing bled through the very fine paper.  YAY!

But it got interesting when I applied the water color wash.  The watercolor not only sat on top of the paper, but collected into beads and sat there until it dried.  It never permeated the paper, or saturated in such a way that I could lay down a smooth block of color.  You can see that most clearly along the left edge of the background wash in the above picture.

This intrigued me so much that as soon as it dried, I had to try again.

On the other side of this same sheet of paper, I did a quick sketch of my hummingbird feeder.

All that lovely  mottling in the gray and red?  I didn't do that in any way.  The paper strongly resisted any regular laying down of water color.  I did get a few bigger blocks to stay this time by brushing over and over a few spots--I think that finally saturated the paper enough to hold color in bigger areas.

I know the paper wasn't working with watercolors the way it should, but I really really liked the way the color looked on the paper.  I've never seen this effect from watercolors on any other paper I've used.  And the ability to draw on both sides of a sheet with no bleed through--bonus!

So, I tried one more time (anything to avoid cleaning!).

Here you can really see the funky, uncontrollable beading from watercolor on this paper.  Only by now I was starting to understand how I could use brush strokes to control and shape patterns in the beading.  Very very cool.

You can also see this page buckled a little bit, probably because of all the water I applied.  But as I've mentioned before, I don't mind buckling.

I'm very excited to do lots more in this funky little journal.  It is small, lightweight, takes pen well, gives some fun energy to watercolors, and just changes things up a bit!  Keeps my sketching fresh and lively and challenging!  I like that!

I even got online to try to order another one, but so far, I'm failing to find any place where I can get one!

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