Another Completed Sketchbook.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Winsor and Newton Watercolours

After being inspired by various Instagram accounts and numerous YouTube channels, this year I decided to give watercolours a try. I wanted to incorporate a creative element into my Travelers Notebook and watercolour paints seemed to be one of the simplest choices and something I could play around with. 

I picked up an entry level Winsor and Newton watercolour set from a shop here in the UK called The Range. This set comes with 12 watercolours and a small brush that fits neatly inside so that it can be used on the go. You can buy different paint colours to swap out depending on your preferences however at the moment I have not made any changes and I am using this set as I bought it. 

The set is really basic but perfect for a beginner such as myself looking to try something out for a small investment, in this case around £10. 

Initially I wanted to use the watercolours to try some lettering, both detailed and brush lettering. This is very much a work in progress, but its interesting to use paints in this way. Any lettering attempts I have made have been with nibs and ink therefore trying out a different technique with paint has been a lot of fun. 

Lyrics from an Adele song tested with brush lettering

Lyrics from an Adele song tested with brush lettering

I have tried a combination of dip pen lettering and watercolours to copy of very cool design I found on an Amy Tangerine YouTube video. I really like the effect of the watercolours to create this very simple but impactful design. The watercolour paint is placed on the page and blown outwards with a straw to create a sort of splattering effect. It was also the perfect activity to allow me to test out all of the colours in the pallet.

After stumbling across another YouTube user I tried combining drawing pen doodles and watercolours. This aspect of watercolours appeals to me as you can doodle on the move, providing you're using the right paper, and then come back later and add some colour to your sketch. This is one area of using watercolours I think I will play with longer term. 

Drawing pens and watercolour paints 

Drawing pens and watercolour paints 

As you can see from all of these images I really am learning. Playing around with the watercolours has been a lot of fun and I have managed to do a fair amount with a very basic set. 

I am yet to mix colours and be more creative with the Winsor and Newton set. I plan to watch more YouTube videos and practice to learn and improve. The act of sitting down and using watercolours is incredibly soothing and a crafty activity reminds me of being young. 

Winsor and Newton watercolours and my Travelers Notebook

Winsor and Newton watercolours and my Travelers Notebook

There are some great YouTube videos and tutorials around showing you how to use watercolours but two channels I cannot get enough of are The Art League and Wei Taillandier. Be sure to check out these channels for some very helpful and inspiring videos. 

This year I will spent time with the watercolour paints to try and improve my skills. It's great fun and allows me to be creative in new ways.