Art Products, New products

Tried & Tested – Canson Art Book

22nd March 2024 Estimated reading time: 3 mins

SAA’s Anita Pounder takes a look at the Canson Art Book.

I have always had a number of sketch books on the go. I carry one in my bag, have one in the car, next to the bed, and on my desk, and these help me to record things that pop into my head, or capture a quick sketch if I have a few minutes while out and about; sometimes this can be little doodles or a rough sketch, but often they are the start of something bigger. These sketch books come in all different shapes and surfaces, and it is interesting and fun to look back at your old ones. I can see where some of the ideas have been used, get inspiration from old sketches or just observe the development of ideas and techniques over the years. There is a freedom with a sketch book as these contain rough sketches and ideas, and you can be more creative and experimental without the pressure of producing a finished, polished piece.

I was very excited to receive a beautiful and luxurious Canson Art Book, which contains 20 sheets of beautiful 100% cotton Saunders Waterford® 300gsm (140lb), cold pressed (NOT), natural white watercolour paper. This classic watercolour paper is endorsed by the Royal Watercolour Society, and is made at the St Cuthberts Mill in Wells, Somerset, UK. This is one of the last traditional cylinder mould-made paper mills in the world and has been making paper on the same site since the 1700s. The paper allows for wet watercolour techniques with little buckling of the paper, and you can use both sides for the paper for all your watercolour, pencil or mixed media techniques.

These premium Canson Artbooks are available in A5 (14.8x21cm), spiral-bound on either the short edge (landscape) or the long edge (portrait). This handy size allows for the creation of ideas on a forgiving surface, which will take tape, scrubbing, and masking fluid well. I have tried all of these and have even been able to easily scrub back colour, quite roughly, to alter areas that I was not happy with. The spiral binding allows you to turn the pages over easily and use both sides of the paper, and the solid board cover on both the back and front offers you a stable, firm surface for use while out and about.

I was a little apprehensive about using such a beautiful quality paper as I did not want to ‘mess it up’, so I chose
a subject that I was familiar with and that offered beautiful colour – a peacock. Once I started, I found that my head began to explode with ideas, and I loved the quality feel of this beautiful paper. I worked quite wet, so there is a little bowing of the paper while I was working, but this is to be expected and mostly resolved itself upon drying. The sturdy cover also has an elastic band that helps keep the pages flat. Saunders Waterford is such a forgiving paper. It allows you to move and manipulate the colour easily; paint glides effortlessly across the surface allowing for rich colour and a great chance to play with ideas that I would be more reluctant to try on other sheets. And, if I am happy with what I have achieved in the Art Book, I can take out the painting and frame it, still confident in the quality of the premium surface.

Sketch books are perfect for:

● Planning and practising before applying to a bigger, more finished piece
● Experimenting and playing with ideas or techniques or new materials
● Keeping things together; you can write down ideas as well as sticking items onto the pages for reference
● Keeping different sketch books for different themes
● Taking out and about with you to make notes
● Helping to encourage creativity and ideas

To see the full range of Canson Art Books and supplies, go to:

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