Mark Grant
Watercolour Blog

Paper and sketchbooks for urban Sketching


Urban Sketching: Loose sheets of paper or Sketchbook?


I like to use loose sheets of paper and sketchbooks when urban sketching, and I am split between the two options. They both have their pros and cons. The choice between using a sketchbook and loose sheets of paper can depend on personal preferences and the specific situation. Here are some arguments for both options:


Using a Sketchbook:


1. Portability: Sketchbooks are typically compact and easy to carry around. They come in various sizes, so you can choose one that fits your needs. This makes them ideal for on-the-go urban sketching, especially during events like your Downtown Sketchers sessions in Liverpool.


2. Organization: A sketchbook keeps all your sketches in one place, making it convenient for creating a cohesive collection of urban sketches. This can be beneficial if you plan to document your progress or showcase your work online on platforms like your website or social media. Additionally, the collection of sketches in the sketchbook becomes a work of art that is more than just the sketches in it.


3. Paper Quality: Many sketchbooks use high-quality paper that is suitable for various art mediums, including watercolors. This ensures that your urban sketches look their best, and you won't need to worry about paper buckling or warping.


4. Creativity Flow: Having a sketchbook encourages continuous creativity. You can flip through previous sketches, get inspired, and easily add new sketches to the same book. However, it's worth noting that sketches in a sketchbook may be less accessible for display or sale as individual works of art.


Using Loose Sheets of Paper:


1. Flexibility: Loose sheets of paper offer more flexibility in terms of paper type and size. You can choose different papers for different urban sketching scenarios, such as heavyweight watercolor paper for detailed pieces or lightweight paper for quick sketches.


2. Experimentation: If you like to experiment with different paper textures or try out various techniques, loose sheets allow you to switch between papers as needed.


3. Sharing and Selling: If you plan to sell or share your urban sketches individually, using loose sheets can be more practical. You can frame and display or sell individual sketches without having to remove them from a sketchbook. Alternatively, you can stick the loose pages in a sketchbook with your other sketches, preserving their individuality.


4. Minimizing Mistakes: If you make a mistake on a sheet of paper, you can simply discard it and start over without affecting other sketches in a sketchbook. However, using a board or easel may be necessary to hold the paper upright during sketching.


Ultimately, the choice between a sketchbook and loose sheets of paper depends on your preferences, goals, and the specific context of your urban sketching. I currently use a combination of both to enjoy the benefits of both approaches. As you focus on your urban sketching and watercolor art, you may experiment with both options to find what works best for you, or like me, use both based on the situation.


Loose sheets of paper on a Gurney Easel ready for Urban Sketching

About My Watercolour Blog: Exploring Art, Creativity, and Watercolour Beauty

Welcome to my watercolour blog, an immersive journey that intertwines inspiration, creativity, and the enchanting allure of watercolour painting. As a prominent watercolour artist rooted in Ormskirk, I invite you to delve into my world of expertise, passion, and knowledge, catering to both art enthusiasts and budding painters.


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Mark Grant's Watercolour World blog is an oasis for novices and seasoned artists alike, fostering an enriched artistic odyssey. Focusing on cultivating creativity, embracing urban landscapes, and intertwining mindfulness with art, my blog invites all watercolour enthusiasts into a profound, enriching experience. Join this vibrant, immersive journey and unlock the boundless potential of watercolour painting.


Mark Grant

2 Stanley Street


Tel: 07956000812