Something different... Gamma and sepia

October 8, 2021 | 6 Comments

I decided a while back to revisit using Gamma paper (the cream version of Alpha) and so I ordered a book in my favourite size – Softcover 8×10″. I personally prefer bright white paper and have found previously that the colours seem duller on the cream paper of Gamma. So it was time to revisit it.

And by the way, this just so happens to be sketchbook No. 150 in my everyday sketchbook collection. (I also have over 100 travel sketchbooks and quite a few thematic sketchbooks from specific projects)

To make the experience even more interesting I’ve taken the black ink out of all my pens and replaced it with Sepia (still De Atramentis Document Ink). This feels really weird but I’m liking it a lot!

Two comments:

  1. I know a lot of people find black ink too stark, but personally, I love it! Especially on bright white paper. Maybe it’s the architect in me loving black, but I do like how crisp black on white is.
  2. Dark brown used to be my colour – it was my version of black when it came to clothing and accessories. But it has become increasingly hard to find dark brown things in the last few years so I switched to navy and then recently I’ve completely given in and now buy black items. I love using black ink in my sketchbooks though… but back in my 20s, I used exclusively brown ink. So it’s fun to go back to a ‘classic Liz’ style.

Here are a few of the first pages of this book.


Finally, thanks to everyone who attended my Live Demo this morning! So much fun. Watch the replay here.

It’s not too late to sign up for the Buildings course and join in this Group Run-through. Find out more here.


  • Maria Bergman says:

    Hi Liz!
    Are you adding to your palette with the Pine Green, Earth Green and Grass Green? Haven’t seen these in your palettes so far.
    Also, what is the Opus 88 pen?

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Maria, THese green pencils are favourites of Alissa Duke and I didn’t have in my AD collection. So not necessarily doing anything with them yet. I’m using CdA Museum and Derwent Inktense at the moment.
      The Opus 88 is a gorgeous pen I was gifted a few years ago – see here for more

      • maria bergman says:

        Thank you!
        Pen looks great but always afraid of loosing my good pens.
        Platinum Preppy’s working for me when out and about. And they don’t dry out!
        Enough supply talk distraction for now!
        Back to doing the work! Ha!

  • Jamie C says:

    I love the wee little people who are picnicking in your first sketch. I almost missed them! (It is a bit startling to have/see crowds during lockdown/pandemic isn’t it?!) Like you, I tend to prefer white paper, though I admit the cream in these, combined with the sepia gives a softer almost vintage feel. Will you be exploring white pigments in this book? Your Sepia ink bottle label is so different from mine, that either your bottle is very old, or Australia gets a whole different kind of label from de Atramentis! I always find such details fascinating. Probably why I love documenting my own life so much, too!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Jamie
      yes packed with people (picnics are allowed now) as it was a public holiday. I normally visit weekdays and after the lunch hour so rarely anyone around.
      Not sure about white pigments… thinking about it.
      And the DA bottles… note sure why there are two types. But when it comes to DA ink, Australia is often ahead still the folk at Larrypost have developed some of the colours and always get new stock early!

      • Jamie C says:

        Ah! So you are the preview of my de Atramentis future! Lol! I did first hear about Green Grey from you, fortunately Goulet pens had it for me. I’m a sucker for greens! Currently experimenting with Noodler’s Zhivago. It’s a very dark olive green. It’s one of their bulletproof inks, and I’d like to see how it goes with watercolor. I might make it my Buildings class ink?

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