Caran d'Ache

My Experiences Holiday Sketching.


A holiday is the perfect opportunity for sketching. Pretty scenery, plenty of time on your hands, (despite small people) and good intentions.

I have never been that great at sketching while on holiday. I’m conscious of people I am traveling with and wasting their time, plus there is the issue of confidence. However on a recent trip I decided to really try and dedicate some time to sketching elements of my holiday.


For this trip I have been using a Moleskine Watercolour sketchbook. I really like the hard back cover of this notebook and the size works really well too.

In addition to coloured pencils and my watercolour palette I brought along my aquwash brush pens, a few Faber-Castell PITT Artist pens and some graphite pencils. These are all thrown in my Superior Labor pen roll.

Alongside these main tools I have a brass bullet sharpener, a Faber-Castell eraser and a penco big clip.

Sketching in action.

For the first time, I have carved out moments during my holiday to pull out my sketchbook and draw. I have been putting the base down in pencil and then inking and painting later on. The idea was the capture as much as I could with pencil and give myself a base to then spend time on later in the day adding the colour.

I’ve used my watercolours a lot during this trip. The Pentel Aquwash brushpens have really made it easy to paint and not worry too much about my tools although my painting still leaves a lot to be desired.

Watercolours and ink.  

Watercolours and ink.  

I have struggled with using my coloured pencils with the Moleskine paper. The texture of the paper means you don’t get complete coverage on the page which has been a little frustrating and has meant I haven’t used them too much. I think coloured pencils could be my thing so I will try a different sketchbook and really test out this medium.

Coloured pencils on the left, the rest are watercolours  

Coloured pencils on the left, the rest are watercolours  

I’ve managed to sketch something everyday which I’m really pleased about. It’s made me look at a place I visit each year in more detail than I think I have before.


Sketching exactly when I wanted to wasn’t always possible therefore I took photos to work from when I had time. It was less about capturing exactly what I saw, more about finding a way to reflect and remember things from our holiday.

Inking before adding any watercolour.  

Inking before adding any watercolour.  

Final thoughts.

I’ve really enjoyed sketching on this trip. I honestly didn’t think I would do as much as I have, I’ve almost completed half a sketch book. I have found it a little tiring at times with evenings spent inking and painting but overall it’s been great fun. I have caught the sketching bug and plan to sketch regularly and not just be lured in by the exotic holiday scenery, but sketch the local, everyday things I see and pass.

Oh and here’s me sketching the view.  

Oh and here’s me sketching the view.  

February 2016 Loadout

I haven't done a loadout post since December 2015. As before I have broken my loadout into groups to make some sense of the choas. I really enjoy using a variety of different products and sometimes you need to find the right stationery pairings. 

personal loadout

My two Midori Travelers Notebooks and an array of pens

My two Midori Travelers Notebooks and an array of pens

Regular Midori Travelers Notebook - I now have two of these beautiful notebooks. My Blue Travelers Notebook holds my weekly refill where I try and be a little bit creative recording my days and practicing lettering. I also have a ruled refill in this notebook. I recently added the orange elastic that comes with the brown Travelers Notebook after Wonderpens recent post. I love the contrast of the orange against the blue. 

My second Travelers Notebook holds everything to do with The Finer Point. I have a monthly calendar where I keep on top of everything I need to do with my blog and also track my study schedule. My second refill is a blog brain dump refill. 

Midori MD A5 Ruled Notebook - this acts as my extended journal. When I need more space to write, this is the notebook I use. I love this notebook as it lies flat and it handles fountain pen ink really well. 

Hobonichi Techo - I continue to enjoy using this little book even after a year. I am still using this to record my days and this year I am including a little photo from my day.

Pilot Hi-Tec-C - I use a selection of these gel pens in my Travelers Notebook. I have a combination of sizes including the 0.4mm and 0.5mm. I am using the black, brown, violet and cherry pink colours and at the moment two of these refills are loaded up in my Karas Kustoms Render K and the Ateleia Brass Pen

Sakura Pigma Micron 03 - I use this pen for doodling and lettering in my Travelers Notebook. I have been trying lots of different fine liner pens lately. I love the way they write and they are so durable. 

My Hobonichi Techo and the fountain pens I use most

My Hobonichi Techo and the fountain pens I use most

TWSBI 580 RB - I have this inked up with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji-Azaela. I love the vibrant pink colour of this ink and by using this in a demonstrator pen I get to enjoy the colour even when not writing. 

Karask Kustoms Ink - I have this fountain pen inked up with the Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-gaki. This bright orange adds a nice pop of colour to my notes. The Ink has a fine line which is actually fairly bold and means I get to enjoy a nice thick line of orange on the page. 

Lamy AL Star Copper Orange - I have this inked up with the Lamy Black T-10 ink cartridge. I quite like having a plain black ink in one fountain pen. 

Lamy Safari - This is inked up with the Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku an ink I have found myself enjoying again and again. 

Pilot Kakuno - This is inked up with the Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro. This is a new ink I received for Christmas and I love the light blue colour.

Pilot Metropolitan - I have this fountain pen inked up with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. I love the super fine line on the Pilot Metropolitan and with Shin-Kai it makes a great writing partnership. I think this is my favourite low cost fountain pen that looks and feels great to write with.

The Carry around 

Passport sized Travelers Notebook - This holds my personal monthly view calendar and a ruled notebook. This is the notebook that I carry with me on a daily basis and where I dump anything that pops into my head.

School loadout

Field Notes Kraft, ruled notebook - This is being used to take notes on my design course and while I have loads of different colours editions available I thought I would go back to basics and go with the original. 

Pilot Coleto - I have an aqua blue, green, orange and cherry pink refill in this pen. This is a great pen for school work as I can have 4 different colours to hand, in one pen making note taking a breeze. 

Staedtler Tradition H - I use this for any doodles or outlines I need to make as part of my course. Staedtler pencils write really well and they look great.

Work loadout

Word Blue Mountain notebook - I loved the design and the colour of these notebooks. This is the first Word Notebook I have tried and I have been using this for my work to do lists. 

Blackwing pencils - I use these a lot for taking notes at work. Pencils work so well in the Word notebooks which gives me a perfect excuse to increase my pencil use. I have added an orange eraser into my 602 for something a little bit different.

Caran d'Ache Edelweiss F - a simple pencil but one that I really enjoy using. This pencil matches my Blue Mountain notebook quite well too. 

Tombow Mono 100 - This was one of the first pencils I bought. The Mono 100 looks great and writes so smoothly. 

Staedtler Wopex - There is something strange about these pencils and the waxy barrel can be a little bit odd, but for some reason I quite like it. 

Loadout thoughts

Every time I prep for one of these posts I am always a little bit surprised by how much stationery I use on a daily basis! My loadout shows that I like using Japanese stationery and Midori has become my go to paper product over the past few months. I like the design of their stationery and the way the paper handles an array of different pens. 

As always I'd love to hear about what you're using and what are your favourite must have items. 

Caran d'Ache Edelweiss F review

The Caran d'Ache Edelweiss is a simple pencil that feels like an introduction into the Caran d'Ache graphite pencil world. I picked a couple of these pencils up from CW Pencils last month to see how they compared to other Caran d'Ache pencils I have used.

The Edelweiss's Looks 

I like the barrel colour on the edelweiss in F grade. It's a royal blue lacquer with the logo and barcode shown in a contrasting white. Included with the brand embossing is a small flower which appears to be the edelweiss, a white flower which is the national symbol of Switzerland. The end of the pencil barrel is left bare so you can see the wood casing and the graphite core. Everything with the edelweiss feels simple and uniform. 

There are a few indications that the edelweiss is positioned as an entry level Caran d'Ache pencil. Firstly the barcode and branding embossing is the same colour suggesting an aim to keep costs down. I have noticed on other pencils the branding is embossed in a stronger colour in comparison to the barcode to make this stand out and give a perception of quality. Secondly the finish on the pencil is fairly basic, for example with the exposed wood casing. 

The Edelweiss's Insides 

The graphite within this pencil is very light and firm. These are all synonymous attributes of an F grade graphite pencil so this is to be expected. I do feel like I have to apply a bit of pressure when writing in order to get anything legible on the page which makes scribbling a quick note on a bit of paper harder. I have found on higher quality paper stock, such as the Midori MD A5 Notebook, the graphite performs well. On some lower quality papers the graphite appears very light on the page. 

Unfortunately the edelweiss does not come in a H grade as I think this could be my sweet spot from Caran d'Ache. I also bought the HB edelweiss so I will try this out and compare how it performs to the F grade pencil. 

Final Thoughts 

The edelweiss is a nice pencil and good value for $1. I am not sure this is a pencil you would reach for longing to use for journalling, note-taking or any long form writing. I like the look of this pencil, it's simple and unassuming and as with all Caran d'Ache pencils I have tried you always get a high quality product. 

Hand written edelweiss review  

Hand written edelweiss review  

October Loadout

After my recent trip to New York, Octobers loadout is pencil heavy. 

The Notebooks 

Regular Size Midori Travelers Notebook (MTN) - When I finished up with my September Loadout post I wasn't sure if I would be able to stick with the MTN setup, but coming into October it's still going strong. I am getting used to the customisation and enjoying it more and more. The paper is great and perfect for fountain pens. This month I even added the 016 medium pen loop and the 008 zipper plastic pocket which means I must be committed. 

The Pencils 

Palomino Blackwing Volume 725 - the lacquer on this pencil is stunning and combined with the super sharp point from the classroom friendly sharpener this is possibly one of my favourite pencils at the moment. 

Tombow 2558 H grade - I am keen to try out this pencil for journalling, particularly after the Pen Addicts recent review. I enjoy firmer grade pencils and I think this will really fit the bill.

Caran d'Ache edelweiss F grade - after my controversial Caran d'Ache Swiss Wood post I have wanted to find a different Caran d'Ache pencil that I could enjoy using. I really like the brand and have enjoyed using their mechanical pencil, so after my CW Pencils visit I will spend some time figuring out if this is the Caran d'Ache pencil for me. 

General Pencil Company Kimberly F grade - I am intrigued by this pencil ever since I heard Johnny Gamber talk about it on the Erasable podcast. It's not the 2B he discussed but it's a firm friend. I have no experience of General's pencils, plus the different graphite grades are hard to find here in the UK. I have high expectations of this pencil, so fingers crossed I won't be disappointed.  

Mitsu-bishi 9000 HB - I wanted to try this out and see how it compares to the Hi-Uni. The 9000 looked like a good option. I really like the green lacquer on this pencil and the special note on the barrel which states 'made by elaborate process'. 

Octobers preferred pencils 

Octobers preferred pencils 

The Pens

Pilot Kakuno M nib - I am planning on inking this up with an Iroshizuku ink I have on the way from Jetpens. I recently bought a few of the mini bottles as there were quite a few I wanted to try. Once they arrive I will decide on which colour to use, but my plan is to use this pen with my Hobonichi Techo as the Tomoe River paper demands the use of a fountain pen.  

Karas Kustoms Ink F nib - I still have this inked up with the Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki ink and I am still enjoying the partnership. This will carry over into October. 

Lamy AL Star F nib - I enjoy using this pen with my Hobonichi Techo. I have this inked up with the Lamy Black T-10 ink cartridges. 


The Classroom Friendly Sharpener - as far as I am concerned at the moment there is no other sharpener. With the pencil heavy loadout for this month, the classroom friendly sharpener will be my new best friend. 

Hobonichi Techo - I am as committed as ever to the Techo. I will be buying my 2016 book this month. I am working on another post summarising my thoughts on this planner, for me this is definitely here to stay. 

Midori MD A5 Notebook - this is my additional journal. Usually I use this with fountain pens, however this month I will use this with my newly acquired pencils. 

For October my main changes are less fountain pens and more pencils. This is a big change from my usual loadout but I am looking forward to this change up. I may miss using fountain pens, but I may also surprise myself and enjoy using pencils resulting them becoming more important in my everyday use. Who knows, only time will tell. The truth will be in Novembers Loadout.