Monday, February 28, 2011
Derwent Soft Cover Journal
Derwent Soft Cover Journal is a new product, not actually soft cover at all. The cover's a solid firm one like a hardbound book but covered in soft suede cloth with a distinct nap. This is a classy journal, Derwent's answer to the Moleskine journals or the Hand Book artist's journals.
Derwent's journal has a ribbon bookmark sewn in and pockets both in the back similar to a Moleskine and a corner pocket inside the front cover. An elastic band keeps it closed, handy especially if you used heavy washes on a page and need to flatten it out.
The paper is wonderful. It's bright white with a cool cast, smooth enough for pen sketching with a good tooth for pencil drawing. Best of all it feels like it's 90 or 100lbs, good heavy stock. It stands up to washes beautifully. This journal's perfect for sketching with watersoluble pencils of any sort.
Checking on the inside back of the last page, it has 40 sheets of acid free 200gsm paper. 140lb paper is 300gsm, using a calculator that comes out to about 94lb paper. It's absorbent and dries well, with a good surface for pen, pencil, marker or light watercolor washes. It might even take heavy washes though I'd suggest clamping the pages down on the open sides to dry.
Derwent makes a great variety of watersoluble pencils, from Sketching graphite wash pencils to Watercolour Pencils, Inktense and tinted graphite Graphitints. Even their Tinted Charcoal pencils will take a wash and Derwent also produces a water brush. So it stands to reason that an art journal from the same manufacturer would work well for all of their pencils.
Here's an example sketch on the first page of my journal done in Derwent Graphitints. It's a preliminary sketch for a commissioned cat portrait from a photo by Lisa Polo.
Derwent Soft Cover Journal is available in the UK through various stores and distributors. If you're interested in getting one, at the moment your options are to pay overseas shipping or contact Col-Art, the USA distributor for Derwent products. Like other new Derwent products, these will probably come over the ocean eventually but writing to Col-Art might help the process along.
I won mine on the Derwent Pencils Facebook page, where there are frequent raffles by comment. You just comment on an image and like it, then they do a random drawing for who gets the item. I was delighted to win the Soft Cover Journal because I'm fond of my Moleskine journals and found this even better with its bright white paper that takes washes so well. Thumbs up on it, this may be worth paying overseas shipping when you want to treat yourself.