Drawing on 200 Year Old Paper

I have some used book shops I visit occasionally to hunt for really special things. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit them, and came across a very interesting old book.

A really old book.

 Portrait of a girl in graphite on 200 year old paper

Portrait of a girl in graphite on 200 year old paper

This book was published in 1803, and as soon as I opened it, I knew I was in love. The paper is in amazingly good shape for a book that is over 200 years old. It has a crisp texture and a delicious tooth. The only discoloration is on the outermost signatures.

 Close up of paper

Close up of paper

I carefully cut the binding and pulled out one signature of paper and did this drawing of my daughter Zoë. It was both fascinating and challenging.

Because of the pronounced tooth, it required a harder drawing lead, a 2B, in order to get finer detail. While I'm pleased with the results, I think I will need to do more experimentation to find the right medium for working with this paper.