Mini Series

My Sketching Update

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I wrote a post not too long ago about my experiences sketching while on holiday. Finding the time to sketch, using the scenery and people around me to document our trip gave me ample opportunities and enough inspiration to sketch a lot. I wanted to continue with this when I returned home to normal life and unsurprisingly this proved challenging.

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Taking up any task at home is always hard to do with life and work commitments eating in on your time. Sketching the everyday is tricky and finding something that peaks my interest is difficult.

In the past few months I have found inspiration in some of the old English villages close to where I live. I often take photos when out and then sketch in the evenings. The time and confidence to urban sketch have not fully aligned (yet).

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My sketches are mostly in ink and watercolour. My technique isn’t great and I still can’t quite wrap my head around how watercolours work and the best ways to mimic what I am seeing. My painting feels childlike and simple, but I’m working on it.

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I have been using two sketchbooks, my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook and the new(ish) Field Notes Signature sketchbook. The Field Notes sketchbook worked as something small and lightweight. I drew rough outlines of things, sometimes in person, or just doodled. The Moleskine was where I then put a little more effort in, used my watercolours and took some time to do improve on things.

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Recently I’ve started playing around with coloured pencils as an alternative medium. I can quickly grab a coloured pencil to add some accents to a pencil or ink sketch or to use this as the dominant medium. I try to not be concerned about replicating the same colours and just use the palette of pencils I have with me, but this doesn’t quite feel natural yet.

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Inktober starts tomorrow and I have had floating thoughts about taking part this year. A conversation with an old friend got me thinking about my drawings and gave me some encouragement to re-focus. Inktober is a great opportunity to commit to drawing everyday. There will be an abundance of moral support and ideas. I have a new Field Notes sketchbook ready as I am almost done with the old one, and plan on keeping everything simple, pencil and drawing pen. From there I’ll see where the month takes me.

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I want to focus on the everyday as I think this will help make sketching more of a habit but also make me observe the things around me a lot more. I will try and find the inspiration and beauty in the everyday things.

I will share as much as I can through my Instagram account but also will commit to a follow up post at the end of the month to share my thoughts and learnings from this exercise. A month should be sufficient to make sketching a real habit and help me find a routine.

I’d love to hear about your sketching journey and if you’re taking part in Inktober so please feel free to share.

My First NaNoWriMo Experience

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November has come to a close which means my first experience with NaNoWriMo has come to an end. I am not a NaNoWriMo winner, I fell a long way short of the desired 50,000 words coming in at 30,572 words, a far cry from the target.

A post about NaNoWriMo isn't the normal sort of post for The Finer Point but during this challenge I used a lot of analogue tools and planned using a trusty Bullet Journal. In today’s post I will share this process and some of my discoveries with you.

My very simple NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal.

I am not a fly by the seat of my pants writer, nor was I a huge planner outlining all aspects of my story. I fell somewhere in between but in order to have some idea of where I was going and what I needed to do I created a very lose Bullet Journal to plan and track my word count.

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The most useful spread was the calendar. This was a simple hand drawn calendar where I planned out what I was writing on which day. This planning was important to kick off NaNoWriMo and forced me to consider the more complicated or time consuming sections of my story and tackle these on the days where I had sufficient time. At the end of each day I added my final word count in for that day. This was useful to see how I had done each day but also proved useful in figuring out if I hadn't written enough for a section. As the month went on I didn’t plan out too much on this page, it became more of a record keeping spread.

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My NaNo Bullet Journal included a chart showing my word count target by day that I copied from Boho Berry. This was useful but became a bit depressing the more I fell behind. I continued to use this as a tracking tool but spreads such as this could become a little de-motivating during the month.

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Other pages I had in the Bullet Journal were not referenced very often but they were important in helping me keep consistency. I had plot and character outlines and lists to make sure I didn't forget anything and also knew the links between characters. The rest of the Bullet Journal was used as a brain dump to keep anything related to my story all in one notebook.

The actual writing.

I wrote the whole thing by hand. I wasn't expecting to do this at all but I actually quite enjoyed it. I had plans of using a mixture of analogue and digital tools and thought my hand could ache from too much writing. Far from it.

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I went through all three of my Baron Fig School Set notebooks. These were perfect as they had lined ruling, my personal favourite, and I could use a wide range of tools on the paper. I polished off my Insightful Spectre Squire refill during the month, worked my way through the School Set Archer pencils from Baron Fig and refilled several fountain pens on numerous occasions. I am not sure I have used any of my supplies that quickly before. It was great fun.

Overall thoughts.

I have really liked taking part in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I wrote far more than I ever expected to and at times whilst I struggled to figure out where I was going with my story, I found a way. I was a long way off the desired 50,000 word target but I am not sure that's the real purpose of this challenge. I found time most days to write, to get this story that has floated around in my head for years, down on paper, by hand.

Time away from my digital tools to create something with pen and paper is really quite liberating. The one change I will make for next year, if I have a story to write, is to drink more. I am sure this would improve the quality of my writing.

Now it's time to edit...

Mini Series: Sailor Jentle Kin-Mokusei

Todays review is the third in my Sailor ink mini series and it’s a good one because I think the Sailor Kin-Mokusei is my favourite Sailor ink so far. I was intrigued by an orange Sailor ink because of the adoration that Sailor Apricot received and thought that Kin-Mokusei could be overshadowed. I have never used Sailor Apricot so cannot offer any sort of comparison but the Kin-Mokusei is a very very good orange ink.

Kin-Mokusei is a light orange ink that really reminds me of a summers sunset. It has some lovely shading adding something special to this ink. The lighter shades of this ink show yellow tones that give this ink its light colour.

Before I started using this ink I was concerned it wasn't going to be an ink for writing; that the light colour would be more pretty than practical. I was wrong. This ink is very light but it’s perfectly legible in my notebooks and I haven’t struggled at all. In my journaling it looks great and for long form writing it makes a really nice change adding a great pop of colour.

A week of Kin-Mokusei in my Travelers Notebook

A week of Kin-Mokusei in my Travelers Notebook

Sailor’s Kin-Mokusei was a happy surprise. I tend to use dark ink colours so orange inks aren’t normally a colour I pay too much attention to. I am really pleased that I gave this colour a punt because it’s lovely. I think some time in the near future I will be buying a full bottle.

I have two previous reviews within this mini series, Sailor Blue Black and Sailor Jentle Fuji-Musume, if you have some more time why not take a look.

Mini Series: Sailor Fuji-Musume Ink Review

The second review in my Sailor ink mini series is the new Sailor Jentle Four Seasons ink, Fuji-Musume.

Fuji-Musume is a pretty light purple colour. I have not tried such a light shade of purple ink before and apart from Pilot Iroshizuku’s Murasaki-shikibu and perhaps J.Herbins Violette Pensee I don’t think the colour is that common. I think it’s the perfect summer ink colour reminding me of flowers such as lavender, clematis and crocuses.

A comparison against my other purple ink, Diamines Amazing Amethyst

A comparison against my other purple ink, Diamines Amazing Amethyst

When I used this ink for a period of time I found the colour very flat. I played around with some inks drops on tomoe river paper to see if there was any depth and shading but it didn’t show up anything interesting.

Ink spots in my Hobonichi Techo

Ink spots in my Hobonichi Techo

I have been using this ink in my fine nib Kaweco AL Sport and overall I found the ink similar to the Sailor Blue Black. The ink is wet and flows nicely, I didn’t experience any skipping. The only niggle I did find was after days of not using this ink I did have to work at getting it to flow properly again. It’s not an issue I have had in the past with this particular fountain pen so I can only put it down to the ink drying out in my fountain pen.

Finally the other major thing I noticed with this colour is it’s not in the slightest bit water resistant. Drip any water on this ink and your words are lost forever.

Of all the inks I could use, this ink hasn’t been tempting enough because I don’t get enough enjoyment from it. I think the colour is very pretty and I could see uses for it for creative tasks but for general use and everyday writing I don’t find this ink exciting enough.

To see the first Sailor ink review in this mini series, click here.