Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Cross Country Clearprint Project: Roasting Marshmallows

This is how I participated in the Cross Country Clearprint project! This is a project by the makers of the Clearprint Vellum sketchbooks where you decorate one page from one on the 10 books that they have going across the United States. I found this project posted on Facebook. All I did was to go on the site,!cross-country/c1oyi and follow the directions. They just need to know who you are and where to send the book. What you get is one of 10 books that travels across the country, collecting art, and you also get a free vellum sketchbook to keep just for participating. It's a pretty good deal; one page of artwork gets you your own Clearprint Vellum Book. There are a few rules as to what they can accept for the subject matter but the rules make sense because the artwork is getting posted on line. The idea of the project is to reach out to artists and give them the experience of trying out the product. You can use any medium you like on one page, then send it back. The only catch is that you have one week to complete the work. So this is what I did and what I found out about the paper. I used a combination of inks, watercolors and colored pencils.

The advantage of working with this kind of paper, which is basically a sturdy tracing paper, is that you don't need to line it for the calligraphy. You can do all your preliminary work on another sheet of paper, deciding on which size nib or pen point that you want to use, and which style of calligraphic hand you want, and figure out which works best. Then just slip the lined paper beneath the vellum and calligraph. No guidelines to erase! This also helps with placement of the components. Slipping rough sketches behind the vellum helps with composition. I decided on a smaller dragon in flight, a motif that I though would look better than a large dragon character that would be place behind the monk who is writing about the method of roasting marshmallows. (He has a little "Press" card tucked into his headband.)

The fun of this paper is that you can do artwork on both sides of the page. It is sturdy enough that neither the inks or the watercolor I used bled through. However, imaged painted would show through from one side to the next. The bird and tiny beasties hiding among the interlaced vines at the bottom are seen as something hiding in the mist, or the distance.

This is the finished piece. You can click on it at the link below to see it on the Clearprint website.

Along with your page within the book, each participant gets to add to the cover. The cover of the book is of a heavier weight vellum that is smooth and takes ink well. I added my griffin and positioned him to relate to the decorative motif that the previous artist drew. I used a fine point Rapidograph pen over a rough draft that I drew to place the character next to the first figure so that they would relate. I hope that once the book is filled, the front and back covers will also be displayed on the Clearprint site so we can all see how they turned out. I'm sure it will be a big surprise! 

This is the cover with a plain piece of paper behind it. It blocks the first picture in the book. Below you can see the inner cover that is detachable cardstock. This is what you place between the inner pages since they are thin and drawing on one page can leave indentations that show up on the next page. You can see just how thin here.

I hope you enjoyed my contribution to the Cross Country Clearprint project! I had a good time doing it and got to experiment with a new type of paper for me. I found that this paper holds up to a moderate amount of water, erases well and has a nice plate finish that is not too slippery. It does have a habit of the corners curling up slightly while working on it. If you don't use a heavier piece of paper beneath the page on which you are working, it will leave impressions on the page beneath it. But knowing what to expect from the paper allows you to prepare for it. Clearprint Vellum products are made by Chartpak, Inc.