watercolor and colored pencil on an etchr lab sketchbook of a woman walking through flowers

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Coursing the Heliconi

My friend Sarah recommended trying an Etchr Watercolor Sketchbook, so I bought this one to test the paper.

Using the grid method, I combined elements from two reference photos for this Etchr Watercolor Sketchbook Figure study.

My reference was a snapshot of my favorite model, MKH (who modeled for this watercolor portrait, and this figurative collagraph print and this genre scene watercolor painting). I sketched her walking with an umbrella among a bramble of Heliconi flowers – also called lobster claws. My model, MKH is Coursing the Heliconi, with grace and conviction.

Applying the first watercolor glazes to the pencil drawing in an Etchr Watercolor Sketchbook outdoors

Transparent Washes of Watercolor

Transparent layers of watercolor were added to the drawing across the seam of the sketchbook. The drawing was laid in a double spread, vertical layout.

My first layers were applied thin, and the Etchr Watercolor Sketchbook’s cotton paper (cold press) handled the washes beautifully. I was outdoors for the first few hours, and after three or four passes, and some quick drying in afternoon sun, the Etchr paper held up without buckling or pilling.

Building layers of transparent color with Sennelier watercolors in an Etchr Watercolor Sketchbook, using this portable, sealable watercolor palette

Adding Colored Pencil to a Watercolor

The next day, after the pages had completely dried, I played with layering colored pencil on top of the watercolor.

The cold press paper has a bit of tooth, and my supply of prismacolor, derwent and caran d’ache luminance colored pencils each adhered to the paper like a boss.

The Etchr sketchbook paper surface held up to multiple layers of scumbling colored pencil, and even after pastel stomp blending and paper towel buffing, the paper was unmarred. I’d like to try painting and sketching on their hot press paper, so I’ve just ordered a small Etchr hot press sketchbook. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. Here’s a nice explanation describing the difference between watercolor and gouache.

Adding colored pencils on top of the watercolor didn’t tear or pill the sketchbook paper at all

More Sketchbook Inspiration

Chris Hong posted these wonderful head studies on her instagram account. You can also watch her video tutorials here.
Rebecca Carath is a landscape painter in Australia, and she flips through one of her small watercolor sketchbooks in this tour video.
Richard Pikesley is a fabulously colorful, juicy landscape painter in Dorset, England. Go see the paintings on his Instagram feed here.

Art Quote

Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart — to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.

But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses itself, splashing, into the pond of meditation. And what does it have to say? That you must phone the dentist, that you are out of mustard, that your uncle Stanley’s birthday is two weeks hence. You react, of course. Then you return to your work, only to find that the imps of idea have fled back into the mist.

Mary Oliver
do you wish you were making more art?
Free Online Video Minicourse: Six Tips to Paint More
I think this Frida Catlo pin will brighten any artist’s day, so I’m getting one for my art-apron. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Etchr Watercolor Sketchbook Figure Study”

    1. Hi David, Thanks so much for your visit and your feedback. I really appreciate that, and I’m glad you liked the watercolor/gouache explanation article. I did too. 🙂

  1. I wanted to confirm with you since Etchr offers more than one type of sketchbook. The one you did this experiment on is the Perfect Sketchbook which is #140 (300gsm) and NOT the other one they offer which is only 230gsm? You do realize the Hot Press is not 300gsm as well, right? I’d be concerned that isn’t heavy enough. And how did you order just one? They only have bundles of 3 don’t they?

    1. Hi Ann, The Etchr Sketchbook I used in this experiment is the 100% cotton Cold Press 52 page, 230 gm Mixed Media Watercolor Sketchbook… This one: https://amzn.to/35VGdv4. I bought it as a single sketchpad on Amazon. ANd on the hot press version – it just arrived, and it’s little (I got the 4×6) and cute, and I can’t wait to dive into it with some colored graphite and watercolor experiments. I rarely use 300lb paper, so these sheets are a-okay by me. Which ones do you prefer?

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