Six weeks into our European adventure I started my second sketchbook – a huge achievement for me as I have never filled a sketchbook so fast – or at all really, if I am honest! It was a bit tricky getting used to the skinny, wide landscape format of the Clairefontaine sketchbook. It was the first time I had used a layout quite like that and it was both a challenging and interesting change. The pages liked to fly open and closed, and they were tricky to control so I had to use a bulldog clip to hold the pages in place. Painting across the spreads meant that my watercolour went through the pages too, a problem I was luckily avoiding with the bigger portrait format. If anyone has any way of stopping this I would love to hear it! All in all, though, it is a nice book to work in. The pages open flat and it takes watercolour quite well considering it doesn’t pretend to be a watercolour book.
The wide format was really perfect for those Italian landscapes. I couldn’t believe that I was really drawing the Duomo and all those terracotta rooftops from the terrace of our airbnb. I still can’t believe it really.