Mid-Week Mini: Futura #2 Pencil Review

IMG_2525.jpg

I was given the Futura #2 pencil by Priya from The London Parchment after she visited CW Pencils. This isn’t a pencil I would normally choose myself but I have been using it and surprisingly enjoy it.

The colour of this pencil is bold and striking. Pink lacquer on the body, a pink ferrule and eraser. The eraser is awful, the old style of eraser that is always associated with pencils. The lacquer on this pencil is a beaut and one of its top selling points.

 Love that Futura type

Love that Futura type

The second is the Futura’s semi-hex barrel. It’s really comfortable to hold and use for long periods of time.

 Look at that pencil point!

Look at that pencil point!

The type on the pencil is pretty impressive especially on a small scale. Futura is embossed on the pencil and filled in with black ink which contrasts the pink.

What surprised me the most with this pencil is how enjoyable it is to use. The graphite is soft, a standard number 2 pencil and the graphite is dark. It sharpens really well too, the exposed wood casing is actually quite pretty. It also smells great too, very nostalgic.

IMG_2529.jpg

I am really surprised by how much I enjoy this pencil. I would not have bought it for myself probably put off by too many of its elements however looks aren’t everything. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, there is a lot to like about this pencil. Thank you Priya for introducing me to this pencil!

Completing my first sketchbook.

IMG_2482.jpg

One of my 2018 goals / resolutions / aims was to sketch. I love watching YouTube videos of people sketching or sharing their work and have a real admiration(/jealousy) for people who can draw. After hearing so many people say just draw that’s what I decided to do.

I have had sketchbooks in the past. I have reviewed the odd one and liked them but they felt like sketchbooks and I guess for my first attempt it was a little daunting. I had ordered the Field Notes Haxley edition because I loved the bear and squirrel covers but it turned out that the sketchbook in this pair was the perfect starting point for me.

I started the sketchbook in January completing it in April. I didn’t sketch regularly in the beginning but towards the last month really found some momentum. The Field Notes size worked well because it was portable and familiar. The 70# “Natural” paper in this edition is nicer than regular Field Notes memo books so I could use some of my tools without worrying about bleed through.

Finding a thing was tough and it took some time to switch on to sketching. I started by drawing random things, a couple of people, the house across my road and things around me while I was sat on conference calls.

IMG_2484.jpg

I then looked to illustrators or artists that I admired. I copied some things from Geoff Gouveia and Frannerd to really get some ideas going and to find a way of making the right shapes and mimicking what I was seeing. This proved really helpful in getting me familiar with how to control and move the pencil on the page.

 Mimicking the extreme proportions and limb movement of Geoff Gouveia

Mimicking the extreme proportions and limb movement of Geoff Gouveia

I found that I really like sketching people which I didn’t expect at all. Turns out there are people everywhere, and therefore inspiration everywhere. Sketching people in public feels nice and not actually that hard to do. It gives me variety with different body shapes, positioning of people and facial expressions.

I like using pencil to sketch, in particular a coloured pencil. It feels easier and the lines softer and less harsh. I have bought some coloured pencils to use in my sketches and start to add depth. I have a few Derwent pencils and some Caran d’Ache. I followed advice from a Frannerd video and just chose colours I liked.

Watercolours haven’t been used at all really but I think this is a mental block I’m having. Given some time, practice and concentration I could really enjoy using watercolours. I just get stumped on how to use them, how to create nice pretty colours and how to add depth.

I am really proud to have completed this sketchbook and wanted to share it here on the blog, partly because I called it out as a 2018 goal but also because I have found it hard to find content into peoples entry into the world of sketching. (I admit I may not have looked hard enough.)

There are some things in this sketchbook that really make me cringe, perspectives is something I really cannot get my head around. What this sketchbook does show is my progress.

IMG_2496.jpg

Sketching has become a way for me to occupy my hands, to stop reaching for my phone, to pay attention on my many conference calls and sketch things. I am trying to incorporate it into other forms of journaling and sketch my monthly favourites, inspired by Ohaijoy and Frannerd.

 Tools that I liked using with this notebook

Tools that I liked using with this notebook

I will continue to share my sketching with you on the blog as I complete sketchbooks. I am actually coming up to completing another one at the moment. I also include another video but this is purely a flip through showing my sketches.

Mid-Week Mini: Baron Fig Confidant Colours Review

Baron Fig contacted me a while back and asked if I would like to review one of their new coloured Confidant notebooks on the blog. All the thoughts shared in this review are my own.

IMG_2462.jpg

For my second mid-week mini I am resorting to paper again, (sorry, not sorry) and talking about the Baron Fig Confidant notebook, now in colour.

The set-up is the same as the standard Baron Fig line, the only change is the addition of three different colour choices: yellow, fig wine and blue slate. You get the same cool Baron Fig off-white paper that takes all your favourite writing tools and the same material/linen covers.

 The colour features on the very useful Confidant boxes

The colour features on the very useful Confidant boxes

I think the addition of this to the standard product line-up is fab. The colour sent through to me was the gorgeous yellow which is so bright and bold.

 All the yellow

All the yellow

There’s nothing new other than the colours for this release as its an expansion on an existing range of notebooks, however there are a few things I would still like to see.

IMG_2466.jpg

Dot grid only.

The paper on the colours notebooks is just dot grid. There is no ruled or blank page options which is a bit of a shame. I understand that dot grid is the choice of the masses, but having one of these with blank pages as a sketchbook would be pretty cool.

 The Baron Fig dot grid paper

The Baron Fig dot grid paper

Flagship only.

The second is that the expansion of their colours is just on the Flagship (A5-ish) size. Again it makes sense as this is the most popular but expanding this out to the smaller pocket and larger size would be really nice. If they’re flat additions that are here to stay then this should be plausible.

IMG_2469.jpg

Overall thoughts.

A stellar addition to the Baron Fig line-up in my opinion. It’s not a major change but I enjoy colour and when you just need a notebook grey is a little dull. These colours are aligned to the Baron Fig look and feel and yet give their range something extra.

Thanks to the guys over at Baron Fig for sending me one of these notebooks to use and enjoy.

Worther Shorty Pencil Review

The Worther Shorty pencil was sent to me by Pen Heaven to test and review here on the blog. Thoughts shared in this review are entirely my own.

IMG_2400.jpg

I was not familiar with the Worther Shorty when it was sent to me by Pen Heaven. Mechanical / pencil holders were not on my radar, but apparently the Worther Shorty is a popular choice.

Shorty Specifics.

As the name implies this is a short and chunky hexagonal pencil. I have the Rosa colour but there are loads of different colour variations to choose from. The design of the pencil holder is really simple with no branding despite a tiny hint at the brand name on the top of the knock.

IMG_2408.jpg

The pencil holder has a soft touch finish to it that really helps with the grip and honestly is one of my favourite features on this pencil holder.

IMG_2401.jpg

Finally there is a teeny tiny pen clip in case you want to use it. I am not sure how effective this would be, but it’s there.

IMG_2405.jpg

Graphite.

Now onto the filling...the Shorty holds some chunky graphite (3mm, 7B lead). I am a harder graphite user normally so adjusting to the 7B was a little strange, but when using it for sketching it works quite nicely.

IMG_2402.jpg

The graphite rests within the pencil and by suppressing the knock and very carefully up-ending the pencil the graphite appears. You then adjust the length in a similar fashion to a traditional mechanical pencil. You also get a few sticks of graphite with the pencil which is helpful and they come pre-sharpened.

As you use the pencil, understandably, it loses it’s pointy tip and wears down with use. I don’t have a tool to sharpen these graphite sticks but even though this is a 7B I haven’t found it wares down too quickly.

IMG_2404.jpg

Using the Shorty.

I have enjoyed playing around with this graphite holder. The size works well as it fits into most pencil cases or bags, despite the chunk. Plus it’s really light to hold which means if you’re sketching for long periods then you’re not going to suffer from wrist ache.

I will be swapping out the filling on my Worther Shorty for a coloured lead, red or blue, as I am finding it far more enjoyable to use for sketching. I also need a sharpening tool of some description.

IMG_2399.jpg

Overall thoughts.

I really like my Shorty and I’m pleased it was introduced to me. It’s a simple, compact lead holder that can be adapted to the users requirements and I plan to make some changes. The tactile feel of this pencil is also really nice. It instantly makes this pencil better to use.

I want to thank Pen Heaven for sending me this product to review.