With Yupo, Drew Blair and other synthetic papers being as rare as rocking horse excrement in the UK, when I came across the Lana Vanguard I decided to give it a go. It is made in France, and has recently become available on the Foxy Studio site, which as far as I'm concerned is a pretty good recommendation. However I bought mine here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lana-Vanguard-Pad-Similar-200gsm/dp/B0096MSMHQ Bearing in mind that I have only used a sample of Yupo to compare, (and I'm not sure that sample is what is commonly used by others) I immediately liked the weight of the paper. 200gsm is more like a card stock, and not as flimsy as the yupo. It comes in a pad of 10 sheets, which as I tore off the first sheet, also cause the other sheets to separate. I, of course am very dainty, with the featherlight touch of an angels wing catching a baby's breath, ( hey, stop laughing - it's true, ah, who am I trying to kid ), so a little annoying but no biggie. Time for some tests:- Damage - with my dainty little feather fingers, I decided to actively try and kill the paper. I have been known to have the occasional calamatous incident, despite being so ladylike and demure. So thought it best to see what I was dealing with. So first I tried ripping it, and couldn't. By cutting a little slit, it would delamitate and the top layer come off. Scrunching it creased it just like regular card, and light pencil lines erased leaving no marks. heavier pencil and dropping object did dent the surface. Tape - using all tapes I could find, from fine line all the way to cheap £1 shop masking tape, and even a little high tack vinyl, I was able to press down and remove without damaging the surface, or leaving residue. Erasing (using Wicked paint) - initially any paint I put down came right back off again, down to the surface, with both hard and soft erasers and fibre glass pen. In fact the thicker the layer of paint, the easier it comes off. I found that by painting thin layers, and drying with air as you go, I was able to get some nice graduated effects if I was careful. After leaving for a few minutes and going back, it actually became quite hard to erase, allowing for even more subtly. Scratching - this was the oddest thing (apart from the person holding the blade obviously), using new 10 and 10A scalpel blades, scratching only seems to work in a particular direction. Other directions caused the blade to skip and jump almost as if the paper had a grain or texture, although it appears perfectly smooth. Not a deal breaker, as with a sharpened eraser it would be easy to get very fine marks, but def odd. So feeling fairly confident I could work with it and actually paint something, I got stuck into the turtle. Being a bit of a toolbag, I forgot to take some pics ( why change the habits of a lifetime . Once a tool always a tool) I made more discoveries about the LVP along the way. Equipment. Partial sheet of LVP Wicked paint, with 4012 reducer Eclipse hp-cs Micron cm-c Hard and soft eraser pencils Puke Bucket. So I remembered to take pics eventually, at this stage - see, total wrinkly hairy toolbag. But at least you can see how I mapped out the image. I usually like to sketch features in, but even though I can't do photo realism I wanted this to look realish, so to be precise I cut out a printed ref to shield the area of the turtle while I painted the sea, then made slits in the paper and sprayed to get the main shapes in place. Now I know where everything goes. Painting the sea I tried to preserve my whites as much as I could, then after a little blow of just air, I was able to go in erase some areas back a little for more contrast, the combination of preservation and erasing giving a look I was happy with. Spraying the larger blue area I discovered another one of the LVP's quirks, the paint was beading up a little. I was surprised as I am used to spraying on hard and sometimes shiny surfaces. This just meant a bit of an adjustment of air pressure and distance from paper than usual, no biggie, but something to remember for the future. Adding a little yellow to the cup, I faded the blue into the more aqua colour towards the bottom of the painting, again preserving the white, and highlighting with an eraser. Then using a mixed gray, I did the dark reflections in the surface of the water. Painting some of the finer line shadows here revealed another quirk. The paint would blow through, almost stripping off paint underneath, almost as if you just had reducer in the cup. I checked on another surface to make sure I hadn't messed up the my ratios, and it worked fine. So another adjustment, lower pressure, and just to be sure, a little less reducer too, though not too much as I didn't want to affect the paint flow. While I still had the gray I moved on to the eye. (and the nostrils) Now I won't get freaked out by the empty space staring at me (see told you I was odd), I always have to do eyes first.. Just a case of following the ref, getting the detail as accurate as possible, then adding some shading to push the edges back, so that it would appear it was in the turtles head, rather than on it. A little sepia and blue finished it off, and for once I am actually pretty happy with how it turned out. Next, onto the skin. With the colour of the turtle having a brownish tone over all, I decided to do an under painting in sepia, and add colour after. I now call upon my dubious super powers by holding my airbrush aloft, and crying "By the power of Grey Skull....I have the Power!!!!!!! ....to wing it!" I may possibly be getting confused with He-Man, but *shrugs*, whatever. When you don't know what you're doing....do it anyway. As long as Grey Skull power has been invoked, what could possibly go wrong. (I do not, however look good in the He-man outfit! please use the puke bucket now, while you cringe from that unnecessarily graphic image). So off with the He-man costume, and on with the parachute pants "Nah na na na, nah nah - you can't touch this...stop! Wing it time!" It's MC Hammers airbrush version of hammer time.... you've all heard it right? Ah, ok it's only for the airbrusherly challenged, so just me then . I decided to spice up the sepia a little by adding a little purple and smoke black. I have wished for more contrast using sepia alone in the past, and as the contrast in the ref is pretty high, just went for it and actually really liked the colour. Score 1 for wing it Woman. So just slowly, slowly building up the detail around the eye, lowering the pressure again slightly as still a little bit of blow through creeping into the darkest areas. More of the same on the lower jaw, trying to get some of the more subtle textures in too, and starting to build the scaley looking parts of the skin. On the flipper there is a bit of an odd transition from "scales" to what I am calling negative space, where the spaces between are giving the skin its shapes. It doesn't feel quite right, but is in the ref, so sticking to it. Hoping it comes together once its all done. So as with the sea, I preserve the whites and clean up a little with an eraser in the negative areas. I am actually finding that a typewriter eraser is working the best. The soft eraser leaves a bit of a smear in larger spaces, and the hard is too aggressive and can leave marks on the paper if not too careful. Plus the brush on the other end is good for sweeping away the erased bits which have a tendency to stick to the surface. I build up the layers of my sepia mix to get some dark tones in there, and thenmove on to the more out of focus area behind the head, before starting on the face. The face has both lines around the "scales" and then the negative space within them, so I try to get as much detail as possible, carefully trying to replicate the different textures, and then lightly fog in around the dark areas to show where colour will go, making sure I leave room for the white space. The nose area is quite subtle, with some heavier blocks of colour going towards the top of the head, again built up with more layers. So far so good by my standards, then lower right corner knocked me for six. I kept staring at it, trying to make what I was seeing make any kind of sense I could transfer to the paper. But for some strange reason it stubbornly refused to change what it looked like. Some inanimate objects are just so selfish. My lonely brain cell did the computer equivalent of giving me a blue screen of death, before going black leaving a little blinking curser as the only thing lighting up my minds eye. Time for a cup of tea and a re boot. Or maybe just a boot up the arse.....as long as it doesn't spill the tea.