Monday, March 8, 2010

Male Portrait Study

Today's drawing is a little study, 5" x 5", done with  just graphite on an unusual Twinrocker handmade paper.  This paper is made from Abaca plant fiber rather than cotton rag.  Abaca is a type of banana leaf that is grown especially for making paper in the Philippines.  The old fashioned name for it was Manila Hemp because it replaced the use of hemp fiber for making an especially strong paper in Europe when sailing ships no longer used sails (which were made from hemp). Because Manila was the main city in the Philippines where Abaca was from, people commonly called the paper made from Abaca, Manila Hemp.  However, today we try to use the name Abaca because that is the true plant fiber this paper is made of, not hemp.  Other common machine made papers that are made of abaca are tea bags, Manila folders, and some toilet paper.  Because it is such a long, strong fiber, it has great folding and tearing strength even when the paper's very thin.  Microscopically, it also happens to have a very thin, smooth cell wall which can give the paper a slightly slick, surface which can be very nice for some drawing techniques. In the Philippines, the natural fiber is shipped "bleached" to a creamy off white color or in its natural "unbleached" tan color.  This little study was drawn on Twinrocker "Bleached Abaca", without any additional pigment, in the "Text weight" of .006" thick and with a Coldpressed surface.  It was a delight to draw on.  I hope you enjoy seeing it and try drawing on it yourself sometime if you haven't already.  Just go to Twinrocker's web site and call them M-F during the day.  They sell a great labeled Swatch Set of all their papers.

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