Laid Paper

Following up on my post about the reed pen, laid paper is what Van Gogh used for many of his drawings. The only laid paper that I’ve tried are a “business” paper that is actually found in an office supply store and a sketch paper made by Arches.

Here is a good article on paper:

Laid paper has a screen texture from the process used to make it. Here is a close up:

laid paper texture
laid paper texture

(If you google images of laid paper you might get a clearer picture.)

Finch on Southworth paper - micron pen
Finch on Southworth paper – micron pen
Finch on Arches paper - reed pen
Finch on Arches paper – reed pen

Both papers were nice to work on, but the pen did glide smoothly on the Southworth paper, a watermarked stationery and there was some drag on the Arches paper.

Southworth, Antique Laid, business paper, 24 lb. – ivory – 25% cotton, watermarked.

Arches Laid Paper – sketch – (Ingres) – 70 lb. – 75% cotton



The Reed Pen

The reed pen is a very simple instrument that van Gogh used to perfection during his time in Arles. Vincent made his own pens and after buying some I see why. The pens that you can buy at art supply stores are made of bamboo and the ones that I bought were marked small, medium and large – all the same price.  It took me a little while to figure out what the sizing meant. The sticks were similar in size and it was actually the points that were different sizes. After using the pens, I’ve decided to modify them to suit my needs because I find that the finer points aren’t very useful.

reed pens
reed pens

Drawing with a reed pen is fun and requires a mark making language. Mine needs more development. The paper I used was a heavy weight, 140 lb., hot pressed watercolor paper. van Gogh used laid paper and I did find some at Staples but haven’t tried it yet, other than to scribble and see how it feels. The reed pen flows better on the stationery than the watercolor paper. I’ll keep trying other papers until I find one that works best for me.

Here is my attempt at a reed pen ink drawing:

reed pen and ink drawing
reed pen and ink drawing