There are new things brewing at Etchr Lab, more specifically two new sketchbook formats to add to the collection!
In this blog, I’ll be giving a sneak peek at what you can expect from these new products and suggest a few possibilities on how these sketchbooks can help you grow as an artist.
Before looking at each specific sketchbook, I do want to mention that they both look and feel quite similar to the other Etchr Sketchbooks, which all feature a white canvas cover, a grey elastic band to hold the book closed, a ribbon for a bookmark, 52 pages (or 26 sheets) of 100% cotton paper, and a built-in pocket on the very last page. They’re also all vegan, which is the cherry on top!
I find that the elastic band also helps keep your pages from flipping over, while the pocket is useful for storing relatively flat things such as leaves or scrap paper. The white cover also means that you can personalise it however you like.
One last thing to note with these sketchbooks is that the first two and last two pages are glued together on a thin strip near the book’s spine. These act as anchor points for the rest of the book, so whatever you do, don’t try to tear them apart! If you do, the cover may come off.
If you find it difficult to paint like this because these pages don’t open completely flat without folding the paper, then you can try using them as test or swatching pages, which we’ll explore further below.
The smallest of the sketchbooks is the Panoramic Etchr Sketchbook, which is about 10cm x 20cm (or 4” x 8”). With the width being twice as long as its height, this sketchbook is perfect for landscape artists or for painting anything you want with a wide-angle view.
Its size also makes its pocket perfect for storing watercolour sheets, as mine is just slim enough to fit! So if you ever plan on doing some plein-air painting outside, this sketchbook is a great option to suit this method of painting.
The length also makes the panoramic sketchbook perfect for making longer swatches, especially for watercolour paint, as you can get a really good gradation to more clearly see the characteristics of your paint.
Painting-wise, the sketchbook’s paper performs exactly like the other sketchbooks from the “Etchr Sketchbook” series. While one side of the paper is slightly rougher than the other, I find it doesn’t affect the painting that much unless you’re looking for a consistent “dry brush” effect. Regardless, it’s still a joy to use, and it dries slow enough to use wet techniques when needed.
In terms of the panoramic format, you can paint a 180º+ view by using a double-page spread, so you end up with a glorious 10cm x 30cm artwork. If you find yourself taking panoramic pictures with your camera, this is your chance to capture them in a different art form!
Square SketchbooksThe other two Square Etchr Sketchbooks are in the same format, with the smaller one being 15.2cm x 15.2cm (6” x 6”) and the other being 20.3cm x 20.3cm (8” x 8"). Apart from the size, everything else is the same – the cover, paper, bookmark, etc.
While I must confess that I prefer a landscape to a square format, I found that the square sketchbook is good for painting square or circular subjects. For the smaller of the two, I decided to start an old tile study, where I paint tile patterns from old buildings and places I visit. I may also do small portrait studies or other subjects that involve a more central focal point.
For the larger square sketchbook, I tried a mixed media painting with gouache and colour pencils and used a double-page spread like I did with the panoramic sketchbook. This actually made for a pleasing “letterbox” format, similar to a 16:9 film.
Since the double-page spread is twice the width of a single page, this makes it just right for painting any 16:9 pictures you may have in your photo collection or for doing movie studies where you paint or draw a single frame from a movie.
Surprisingly, I think the double-page spread makes the square sketchbooks more flexible in terms of painting subjects, as the panoramic format means you’re pretty much locked into a landscape view of something.
You could technically also turn the panoramic sketchbook and paint a very tall subject like a skyscraper or try a comic panel format, but these are a bit more specific in terms of an art subject.
Ultimately, though, both the Square and Panoramic Etchr Sketchbooks help expand Etchr’s sketchbook range and offer something different than the typical portrait or landscape sketchbook. If you’re curious or feel like experimenting with a different sketchbook format, then these products are made for you! And as always, happy painting.
Do you have a favourite sketchbook size and/or format? Which sketchbook from Etchr are you most likely to get? Let us know in the comments below!