Winsor and Newton

My Experiences Holiday Sketching.

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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.

Tools.

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.

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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.  

Compartmentalising with Notebooks

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I have always been someone who has a lot of notebooks on the go at once, boarding on the ridiculous, but somehow it works for me. I find that using multiple notebooks helps me to compartmentalise my thoughts and tasks, keep track of my ideas and link themes together.

I have tried to use one notebook for everything but I found it very muddled, hard to locate notes and felt I moved through a notebook too quickly and therefore lost all the information I needed. So I’ve come to settle on my way of working with lots of different notebooks.

Below is the list of notebooks I use the majority of the time.

Journal.

This started off as a morning pages journal and I do still write most mornings, but I felt like this restricted my use of this journal. I really like emptying my head in the evening and getting everything out on the page. I definitely think this helps me unwind and ultimately sleep better. This journal has evolved over time and I tend to write whenever I need to.

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I like to write using one of my fountain pens therefore paper quality is important. At the moment I am using the Nomad Notebooks Travelers Notebook, with the ruled refill acting as my journal, but other notebooks I’ve used are Baron Fig Confidants and Leuchtturm1917 notebooks.

Jibun Techo.

The Jibun Techo is my functional notebook/planner. I keep track of how I spend my days, planning out my month and keeping track of my habits. I really like this notebook and the functional role it plays in my life. I wrote a full blown review on this planner recently which you can find here.

Blog bullet journal.

Having my ideas in a bullet journal just for my blog is one of the best ways I have found to use the bullet journal system. This is a side project, it takes time, organisation and planning to get these posts online.

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My bullet journal is very simplistic. I use a Baron Fig Train of Thought notebook and plan by month creating a calendar to show how much time I am spending on the blog and when I plan on getting posts live.

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I have ideas sections, sample lists and future plans all thrown into the blog bullet journal.

I also brain dump any post ideas. I don’t always work like this but sometimes spending the time to jot down notes on a post really helps.

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Work bullet journal.

This is a very stripped down version of a bullet journal and really is a notebook of daily to do lists, future planning and weekly tasks all captured in one notebook. I don’t take notes related to my work in this notebook, it only houses my tasks. Having these things in separate notebooks really helps. General notes are thrown in a Field Notes notebook.

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Field Notes - to do list.

I have been using my Field Notes Resolution edition as a daily task list. One day per page with everything thrown in. It works really well and keeps me organised with anything and everything that I need to do.

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Field Notes note book.

I have another Field Notes on the go which I throw my random notes in. At the moment this is the crazy beautiful Coastal edition. I don’t burn through these very quickly anymore but I have to have one with me, without it I would be lost.

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Travelers Notebook.

My Travelers Notebook acts as my memory keeping space. I use my weekly + memo refill to note down interesting things from my day, decorate and play around with. I love these refills and really can’t see anything replacing it.

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I also have a mishmash Travelers Notebook size ruled refill in my TN which I use more creatively and throw in pages when I am feeling crafty.

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Sketchbook.

The latest notebook that I use is a sketchbook. My previous post showed my first completed sketchbook but I am now using the Moleskine Watercolour sketchbook. I really love the size of the Moleskine sketchbooks and the hard back covers give it some strength.

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Overall thoughts.

I have learnt over time that I use my notebooks to compartmentalise my life. Each notebook has a purpose and a reason for being used. I couldn’t strip this back and reduce down the number of notebooks I use without sacrificing something. I don’t use each notebook everyday but they all hold a purpose and perform an important task for me.

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My Humble Art Supplies.

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One of my 2017 stationery resolutions that didn’t materialise, was to draw. I had drawn a little but it was haphazard and my progress was slow simply because I wasn’t finding the time. This year I really want to change that and make drawing a habit.

I have amassed a small collection of items that I enjoy using and plan on making these part of my art supply toolkit. I thought I would share these with you.

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Notebooks.

There are two or three sketchbooks I have tested and tried to get along with but there are some that I have found I enjoy and plan on making these my staples. One is the Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. I have a pocket and an A5 size. I like how slim they are and the paper is quite nice.

The second is the Mindstone sketchbook which was sent to me to test out. There is a lot to like about this sketchbook and I will review this product properly in an upcoming post. I really like the cloth cover and the elastic strap. The size is great too so this is a big winner for me.

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Pencils.

I have a few pencils that I have been using. I find it helpful to sketch a very light and rough outline first as I am awful with my proportions and therefore not confident about going straight in with ink. I have been using my Baron Fig School Set Archer pencil, my Staedtler Mars Lumograph and a Blackwing 602. They’re not the ideal sketching pencils and really I should be using a Blackwing MMX.

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Fountain Pen and Ink.

It’s no surprise really that I have found my favourite sketching tool to be a fountain pen. It feels so nice to use and I like the wet ink on the page. I find it far more enjoyable than a drawing pen, but I do have a Uni-pin there for good measure. I am using my Lamy AL Star Copper Orange with a fine nib and Noodles Black for drawing. The pen is perfect and easy to carry around and the Noodlers Black ink is waterproof which means I have the option to add in watercolour.

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Watercolour palette.

I have recently changed my palette. I was experimenting with a simple Winsor and Newton Cotman 12-pan palette that I bought cheaply to basically try out the colours and not over invest in something that I may not have really liked. However I really struggled with the quality of this palette and after watching some YouTube videos I decided to upgrade. I now have a few Winsor and Newton professional watercolour tubes and have created my own palette and now in a lovely metal tin.

A partially empty palette

A partially empty palette

There are a lot of holes here and I know I am missing some basics (any suggestions welcome) but I am just piecing everything together and trying to find something that’ll work the best way for me.

Travel brush.

I invested in a Rosemary and Co. pocket brush some time ago based on a recommendation in a YouTube video, I forget which. I really love this brush because it’s a travel version. It takes up minimal room and I can protect the brush. I think I have the size 6 brush but again can’t be sure.

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Superior Labor pouch.

I have been keeping my sketching tools in my Superior Labor pen pouch which really wasn’t how I intended to use it but it works quite well. The large pocket holds my small palette really nicely and I can just throw all the pens and pencils and brushes everywhere else.

Superior Labor pen roll and the Mindstone sketchbook

Superior Labor pen roll and the Mindstone sketchbook

I’m learning.

This is the state of my sketching for the beginning of 2018 and I am sure there will be changes throughout the year. 2017 was almost a year of testing and trailing out different tools. I have refined my watercolour palette and found sketchbooks that I think work well for me. At the moment I like the simplicity of my current art toolkit, now I just need to use these tools more often.