Earlier this year, I participated in Clearprint’s Cross-Country project. It is a fantastic deal. You let them know you want to join up, and they send you TWO of their Vellum field books. One already has artwork in it, from other participants. You do a work of art using whatever medium you desire, and within a week you send that book back to them. The second, brand new book is yours to keep! Forever!
Additionally, your artwork is uploaded to the Cross-Country gallery, and featured on the Clearprint Facebook page. I’ve been told the project will continue as long as there are pages left in the Cross-Country book, so you still have time to sign up!
Before I start on the qualities of the paper, I want to describe the field book itself. The ‘field’ part of the title simply means the bound pages are easier to carry around than either the cut sheets or rolls that are also available.
The pages are not perforated but come out of the book easily. Possibly too easily, if you want to keep the book whole. Wonderfully easily if you like taking the pages out. I did hold onto a corner and shake the book vigorously. None of the pages came loose. But once you get a corner loosened, the rest of the page sort of peels away from the book.
There are five cover pages in all.
The first cover on the front is a thicker vellum. It’s heavy enough for Pergamano, the art where you use a pointed object to deboss a design. The pages, themselves are too thin for this.
The second page is actually meant to be removed. It’s a very slick, coated cardstock that you can put behind the page you are working on, to protect pages underneath from staining.
In the back, you have the same heavy vellum, slip sheet cardstock, and then a very thick cardboard. Although the cardboard is thick, it’s light in weight.
This is a light book to carry, so it’s a good choice for traveling. I’d put it in something for protection though. The sheets do pick up wrinkles easily. That’s bad for carrying in a cluttered purse, but great if you want to crinkle up a page for texture, and then apply paint.
The vellums I’ve worked with in the past were extremely slick and hard to work on, so I was worried at first. However, beyond the translucence and the thinness (is that word?) of the paper, the sheets in this book are quite different from those vellums.
It isn’t a thin as onionskin, though it may remind you of it. When you wobble it, it makes a bright metallic sound, but if you flip the pages rapidly, it makes almost no sound at all.
It feels smooth to the touch, but there is a slight drag that keeps from being slick. Still, even after using several mediums on the paper, I don’t understand how it works as well as it does with watercolor and colored pencil, that usually fare better with a toothy paper.
Let’s get on to the performance, shall we?
I created seven examples for this review, which would make it a very long post indeed. I decided that instead of including all the artwork now, that I’ll post one a day over the course of the week, and discuss how that medium fared with the Clearprint Vellum paper.
Mixed Media-Acrylics, Pigma Micron and Gold Leaf Pen
Since I was using so many mediums, I decided to add a sense of unity to my art journal by outlining the edges of each page with a gold leaf marker pen. The gold leaf ink went down easily. It’s a very wet medium that takes a while to dry. However, it did dry as quickly as it ever does. No beading up.
For my first page, I put down a layer of acrylic paint using Montana Markers. I gave it about 1/2 an hour to dry and then did the line work with Pigma Micron pens.
The colors came out a bit muted. I think this is because there isn’t the solid white or cream that you have with most papers. To me, this gave the piece a quiet elegance. I believe I could have made the colors brighter by adding layers (this proved true when I tried it with other mediums). That means you have the choice to go with more subtle color or head towards brilliant.
The same thing was apparent with the Micron. The lines were paler than usual, so it took more work to get really dark values. If you like very stark black and white, this may not be the paper for you. But if you like have a wide range of values, it very definitely is.
Since the paper is translucent, I’ve decided to show you the backs. The gold leaf was applied to the back–what you see is NOT show-through for that. The scanner picked up more than you can see with eye while the paper is lying on a surface, and a little less than you can see with the paper held up to the light.