Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Carnets de Voyage
Carnets de voyage are my latest obsession. There seems to be quite a large market for these publications in France judging by the all the titles available. One book I should have included in this photo perhaps is Carnets de Voyage by Cecile Filliette, as this was the first one I found here and the one that sparked off my interest. Perhaps it's unusual, considering my own style of drawing, but I find this loose, colourful, sketchy style very appealing. Drawing a subject or scene cements it permanently in the memory, so how exciting it would be to come home from a trip with a sketchbook of colourful memories! The second book I bought was Richard Schilling's Watercolor Journeys with it's illustrations from his travels but also a mine of useful information on creating your own journals and all the pros and cons of sketching in the field. As a cruise ship dentist, he has the perfect job for travelling the world and having the time to paint the places he visits!
Thanks to the very talented Laura, (hers is a must-read blog and now it's official!) who wrote about the carnets de voyage she came across on her trip to France, I bought Mali Secret, a fabulous, inspiring book by Stefano Faravelli, and just so it wasn't lonely on it's way from Amazon.fr, I added Madagascar by Claire and Reno Marca. This one is illustrated by Reno and includes photos by his wife Claire. Madagascar is my favourite place in the world - I'm amazed it still hasn't been over-run by tourists - so it was doubly thrilling to find this beautiful book. Mes Carnets des Iles by Rolf Weijburg has a more distinct, highly stylised feel to it, I can't really imagine these detailed illustrations were done completely in the field but it's interesting to see how different these carnets de voyage can look.
So with no lack of inspiration, my blog should be full of colourful sketches but alas, I'm still struggling with watercolours! I think my main problem is that I've had trouble finding paper that I'm happy with. I now have brushes I'm comfortable using - having accidentally bought synthetic and not sable travel brushes when I visited Green & Stone, I found I really liked them! They seem to me to be much more controllable than sable - which made me feel like Alice in Wonderland trying to play croquet with the floppy flamingo!
These books, above, are some of the papers I've tried. From the top, this one is 300g cold pressed paper by L'Atelier du Papier and it has a too regular pattern on it's surface, and a little too rough for my liking. The Bockingford is quite nice but again slightly too rough although good for practising. The Arches Carnet de Voyage I like very much but as it is very smooth - hot pressed satin grain - it's perhaps too challenging for a beginner like me, I have a long way to go yet before I can make the most of it. The 'carnet du fond du jardin' is also by L'Atelier du Papier and is incredibly absorbent paper - I must remind myself not to be fooled by the attractive covers this company employs because I don't like their papers at all! Ah, but thank goodness for Green & Stone yet again, because I only bought this little pad as I liked the size but the paper is just the thing I've been looking for - fairly smooth but with just enough tooth. The only problem is, I bought only two little pads so I'm afraid to ruin them! On the positive side though, I think I've found a good excuse for a return visit!