Paper

Another Completed Sketchbook.

IMG_0313.JPG

I thought about the title of this post for some time. ’Another’ suggested I had completed quite a few sketchbooks, which I haven’t, as I am new to drawing. I have slowly worked my way through a small number with my latest being a blank Baron Fig pocket Confidant. It's the first time I’ve used this brand as a sketchbook.

The sketchbook.

The Baron Fig pocket Confidant made a pretty good sketchbook. I wanted to try a pocket size for its portability and also wanted something with a hard cover. I chose a Baron Fig Notebook as it's a notebook I use for other purposes and therefore one I am familiar with. I was hoping that the familiarity would make my drawing less pressured and more free.

IMG_0315.JPG

The pocket Confidant has a hard cover, I chose the darker Charcoal colour as I thought this would wear better. The hard cover meant that the notebook had some stability which I would need for sketching on the go. There are 192 pages of the standard Baron Fig paper with their signature yellow ribbon.

What I have learnt from this sketchbook.

As I am new to sketching it is not something that comes naturally to me. With each sketchbook I work through I am trying consciously to learn in the hope that I improve and that it becomes second nature.

IMG_0321.JPG

With this sketchbook I tried to experiment more than I had done in the past. I set out to use this sketchbook with a black ink pen, inspired by Patrick Vales Instagram posts. I wanted keep things simple and just sketch. I stuck to this for a while but after seeing artists sketchbooks online I introduced coloured pencils.

IMG_0316.JPG

Coloured pencils felt familiar, from childhood, and easy to use. There are a number of artists that I follow who use coloured pencils as their preferred tools. Like them I wanted to find a small palette that I could use, no matter the subject matter. By not worrying about replicating the colours in front of me and using my imagination, then perhaps my drawing would improve. I couldn’t find a flow with this but it’s something I want to keep coming back to.

IMG_0317.JPG

I spent some time using only graphite pencils to try and be fluid with my sketches. The loose style you can achieve with graphite has always been appealing and it was also an excuse to use the softer graphite pencils I have lying around. The only thing that ever really bothers me about graphite is the smudging and the marks left over time that start to blur your drawing.

I returned again to a black pen enjoying the feel of the pen tip on the page. There is something very satisfying about it. Using an ink pen makes me more decisive with my lines. The theory then being that this encourages me to learn from my mistakes, wrong proportions and poor imitations and want to make them better the next time.

IMG_0319.JPG

Due to the pocket size of this sketchbook detail wasn’t a luxury I had. Everything had to be simple. In this sketchbook I have drawn a lot of people and I am awful at drawing people. I enjoy watching people, noticing their expressions, the shape of their features and attempt, poorly, to replicate them. Plus there are always people to draw.

IMG_0322.JPG

Overall thoughts.

I am starting to understand that the key to my sketching journey is to change things up and to keep finding inspiring artists to learn from. Trying new tools and ideas will open me up to new techniques and styles.

FullSizeRender.jpg

In this instance the pocket notebook was the perfect companion and the unofficial sketchbook nature helped a lot. My next sketchbook will be different again and hopefully will teach me different things. I feel confidant in saying that for a sketchbook that I carry around I want a simple set up. Sketchbook and black pen seems to work pretty well.

IMG_0324.JPG

Pebble Stationery Co. Pocket Notebook Review.

IMG_0295.JPG

Pebble Stationery Co. sent me a pack of their pocket notebooks to play with and review on the blog. All thoughts shared in this post are my own.

Notebook design.

The Pebble Stationery Co notebook is 3.5 x 5.5”, (think Field Notes in size). There are two notebooks in a pack with 52 GSM white, dot grid, tomoe river paper. To protect the thin contents the Pebble Notebook has a thick grey textured cover with an embossed, and a little large, bit of branding in the bottom right corner of the notebook.

IMG_0296.JPG

The inside cover is a fresh blue colour with space for personal information, should you wish to fill this in. I always like this feature in notebooks. Not only is there a fail safe if I misplace one, but it helps me keep track of my notebooks and their contents should I need to reference them in the future. On the inside back cover there is some information on Pebble Stationery Co.

IMG_0297.JPG

As the paper is the super dreamy tomoe river paper you get 80 pages in a very slim profile notebook. The dot grid is subtle with a small light grey dot. On the right hand edge there does appear to be one dot missing in the sequence. This could be a quirk specific to this print run but it did catch my eye.

And finally the corners of the notebook are rounded off nicely which helps with the wear of the notebook. There aren’t any damaged corners here.

IMG_0301.JPG

Paper performance.

Part of tomoe river papers charm is the fact that it handles fountain pens so well and is really thin. As expected the paper in the Pebble notebook takes ink well. The nib or rollerball glides over the page giving you a really nice writing experience.

Pencils and tomoe river paper aren’t a natural fit. They work fine but the enjoyment level is lower.

One small thing I found with the Pebble notebook is the ghosting is quite prominent. It feels more prevalent than other tomoe river notebooks I have used in the past. Inspired by Fran Meneses YouTube videos I recently started working my way through the Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and I have been tracking each album I’ve listened to, and if I liked it in my Pebble notebook. I have purposefully used different writing tools to test out the paper and the ghosting with everything other than a pencil was obvious.

IMG_0299.JPG
IMG_0300.JPG

Overall thoughts.

It is nice to see more pocket notebook options available in the market. It has felt like there is a gap when it comes to high quality papers that work with fountain pens in a pocket notebook format so it’s great to see Pebble Notebooks solving that problem. The design and style is really simple and makes it feel like a classic notebook.

Thank you Pebble Stationery Co. for sending me these notebooks to use.

IMG_0306.JPG

Mid-Week Mini: Baron Fig Nomad Sticky Notes Review.

IMG_3088.jpg

The Nomad sticky notes are Baron Figs stylised version of the 3M yellow sticky note. Baron Fig took the sticky note and added their spin to it.

The Nomad’s a 3 inch by 3 inch in size and they come in a 3-pack which is really useful as you can dot these around in places you need them.

IMG_3090.jpg

They are the Baron Fig off-white colour with their dot grid print. A dot grid sticky note is not something I have seen anywhere else and really useful.

IMG_3091.jpg

The Nomad sticky notes also have rounded off corners, which means no bumped or curled edges and basically keeps the neat among us a little happier. The make-up of the Nomad sticky note is very similar to the Strategist note cards, only smaller and with a sticky backing.

The big issue I have with the Nomad sticky notes, is their stickiness. Try and stick a few to your desk, mine is wooden, and quickly they curl at the edges. Try and add these into a notebook and they often fall away from the page when you re-open it. For photography purposes I stuck this onto the wall of my office and you can see the beginnings of the curl.

IMG_3095.jpg

Sticky notes are always useful but unfortunately in my experience the Nomad falls down on the very premise of their existence. These would be great sticky notes if they were more sticky.

Mid-Week Mini: Baron Fig Strategist Note Cards

IMG_2524.jpg

The Baron Fig Strategist Note Cards are Baron Figs take on an index card. I have never really been an index card user. They remind me of university presentations and a set of notes that usually proved completely useless.

Anyhow, I decided to throw a set of these in with an order to see what they were like and if I would use them. On the whole I didn’t. I have a pocket notebook for dumping all the small bits of information I need or use. My daily task list goes in there, things I want to look at later on, order numbers etc. So the index card didn't seem to have a use case.

IMG_2523.jpg

But then NaNoWriMo came along and I needed somewhere to dump ideas. Small tidbits of information that I didn't want lost in a pocket notebook and weren’t complex or sufficient enough to throw into their own notebook. This was when I found a need for a note card.

A few of my NaNoWriMo notes on cards

A few of my NaNoWriMo notes on cards

So the Baron Fig Strategist cards, have a typical Baron Fig-esq name. They are aspirational and a little lofty but essentially these are small note cards made from thick paper.

My preferred way to use the Strategist note cards - thick felt tip style pen.

My preferred way to use the Strategist note cards - thick felt tip style pen.

The big difference with the Strategist note cards is they have the same dot grid ruling that you get with Baron Fig notebooks and I believe is not that common on an index card. The dot grid makes the note card more versatile, you can draw, or have some cool lettering...whatever it may be the dot grid opens up how you can use these note cards.

That sweet dot grid.

That sweet dot grid.

The other nice little feature on these note cards is they come with rounded corners. This makes them look a little smarter and more considered but it also stops the corners getting beaten up and the note cards looking ragged.

You get 100 cards per pack of the Strategist note cards. They’re shrink wrapped which means when the pack is open, it’s open. I have been using a Field Notes band of rubber to keep the note cards together and stop me loosing them.

Keeping all the note cards together has been a slight challenge, but nothing the Band of Rubber can’t fix.

Keeping all the note cards together has been a slight challenge, but nothing the Band of Rubber can’t fix.

Overall thoughts.

I haven’t used the Strategist note cards every day because I don’t have a need to. However for projects, shopping lists, notes to your husband/wife or kids...these are really cool. Printing the dot grid on both sides of the note card would be my only desired addition. I know this would lead to printing complications but it would mean both sides are uniform.