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.


Palomino HB Pencil Review

The Palomino HB pencil

The Palomino HB pencil

I received the Palomino HB pencil as part of the Palomino Collection Pack from This collection included a number of Palomino branded woodcase pencils. Initially with the other pencils included within this starter pack I had ignored the Palomino HB, a little unimpressed, and because there were other prettier, shiner pencils to play with.

The Palomino HB is a simple pencil. There are no frills but that doesn’t mean that this pencil is lacking in any way. I have the very pretty orange lacquer barrel. There is a blue barrel option which makes them seem like the big premium brother to the Palomino Golden Bear. Personally I think that the orange is gorgeous but I have not seen the blue pencil in the flesh.

The Palomino HB pencil next to the Golden Bear and a Caran d'Ache, for redness comparison purposes 

The Palomino HB pencil next to the Golden Bear and a Caran d'Ache, for redness comparison purposes 

The branding on the pencil barrel is simple with just the Palomino HB wording printed in gold. There is a ring of gold foil stamping near the ferrule to finish this off. This used to exist with the Palomino MMX which very recently we have seen disappear, therefore the Palomino HB may suffer the same fate at some point, but that’s a small aside. I like the simplicity of the Palomino HB barrel design. Some pencils come with so much wording, barcodes and different coloured printing that it can ruin the pencils design. The Palomino HB does not suffer with this problem.

The only branding found on this pencil

The only branding found on this pencil

The Palomino HB comes with a white eraser that sits in a slightly rose gold looking ferrule. The eraser is not the best, but it’s also not completely awful. Using this pencil on the move it’s fine to rely on the pencils eraser, but it won't completely remove the graphite from the page. I rarely use the erasers on the end of pencils as they seem to be pretty poor on the whole.

Handwritten review 

Handwritten review 

In terms of the writing experience, I have grown fonder of this pencil the more I have used it. The graphite is smooth on the page and holds a point ok, but its not the best. You will be sharpening this pencil every few written lines. HB pencils are not my first choice as I usually prefer a harder grade pencil but the Palomino HB isn’t too shabby.

Overall I can’t get excited by this pencil. It’s a simple design, totally inoffensive and does write well. I feel like this pencil is too simple for me. When there are so many lovely pencils available all with interesting and cool designs I will always find myself reaching for one of those over the Palomino HB. However that being said this would make a good staple to any pencil pot and I would consider buying a 12 pack just have some lying around. I guess you could say they are a reliable pencil choice.

Generals Kimberly Pencil - F Grade Review

I first heard about the General Pencil Co. Kimberly’s pencil from the Erasable podcast. It seems to be one of Johnny’s favourite choices and as with most things on stationery podcasts, when I have no idea what the hosts are talking about I resort to Google to see what it looks like, read some reviews and then usually find out where I can my hands on one/some.

With the Kimberly’s pencil getting hold of these pencils in Europe is a bit tricky. There are a few pricey options through Amazon but they were not available in my preferred pencil grades.

Therefore when visiting New York last year and the delightful CW Pencils I decided to add one of these pencils to my shopping list. My mistake really was only buying one!

The fancy pencil end cap

The fancy pencil end cap

I really like the look of the Kimberlys pencil. I do think I have a soft spot for dark green lacquer pencils, as I also quite like the design of the Faber-Castell 9000. Kimberly’s has a nice little extra with a small brass cap on the end of the pencil. This gives it some protection and a little bit of additional weight, presumably with the aim to make it more comfortable when writing. I think it works well and looks very nice. Green and brass compliment each other very well.

F grade pencil comparison

F grade pencil comparison

In terms of the F grade pencil it is darker than other F grade pencils I have used. Using this alongside Staedtler, Caran d’Ache And Mitsu-bishi F grade pencils, the Kimberly pencil does have a darker graphite. I am not sure if General's pencils come up a little darker than other brands on the market but I feel like this F grade pencil feels a bit more like a HB grade that I am used to.

Full written review 

Full written review 

I think the Generals Kimberly pencil in F grade is a really nice woodcase pencil. It looks good, has a really nice smooth graphite making it really nice to write with and I always enjoy using it when I grab it from my pencil pot. I kinda wish I had grabbed a couple of additional pencils.