There have been some developments with the blog this month. First and most obviously, I finally redesigned my blog header! I wanted to have something that would reflect the focus of this blog, which includes reviews of pens, notebooks, and other stationery items, as well as my interests in art, especially mixed media, mandalas, and sketching. I don't know if the new header quite captures all of that, but it's a definite improvement over what I had before. I'm still not quite sure if I like how it turned out, so I would appreciate any input that you care to offer. Does it look good? Does it flow? Does it suit the blog?
The second development with the blog was that I added LinkWithin to my posts. I haven't used this before, so I hope it doesn't create any problems with how you view my blog. What LinkWithin does is show links to related posts at the bottom of every blog post. I hope that this will encourage traffic to some of the older posts on my blog, many of which were posted when this blog had far fewer followers than it does now. If you see any old posts that catch your eye, feel free to visit them and leave me a comment. I read all of the comments that I receive, on both old posts and new, so don't hesitate to share your opinion!
It's been a busy month for me. I've been getting back to writing and blogging regularly, and I've been participating in Daisy Yellow's Index-Card-a-Day project. If you haven't been following along with my weekly ICAD posts, I would like to encourage all of you once again, whether you think of yourself as particularly "artistic" or not, to consider giving ICAD (or something like it) a try. Just pick something simple and non-intimidating (an index card, an artist trading card (ATC), an old planner page, half a page in your sketchbook, the back of an envelope), and just starting doing something, anything, to create art everyday. You don't have to call it art if you don't want to. Doodle. Draw. Paint. Sketch. Try out a new pen. Use stickers, ephemera, newspaper clippings. Anything at all. Just have fun with it. I've had so much fun with ICAD myself, and I would recommend it to anyone. Go on. Give it a try.
ICAD will be finishing off tomorrow, but luckily I have all sorts of ideas for new creative projects. I'll be writing a poem a day for August and September (don't worry, I won't be inflicting those on you!), I want to finish off my neglected gluebook art journal, and I want to start a new art journal, perhaps in my spiral-bound PooPooPaper notebook, which I've been saving for just that purpose. I've also started working through Danny Gregory's EDM Challenges as a way to practice and improve my drawing skills. I'll probably be posting some of my drawings in the future, so stay tuned for that and feel free to join in with the challenges yourself.
I don't have many other links to share with you this month, but do check out this review of a Wahl Eversharp Doric fountain pen over at Gourmet Pens. Azizah's blog has become one of my favourite pen blogs, and, while I doubt I'd ever own a pen like this myself, this pen is gorgeous. I love the rich brown and gold colours in it. If I had a pen like that, though, I'd probably never use it and just set it on a shelf where I could admire it every day.
Check out this great video on mandala drawing: How to Grow a Mandala. This style of drawing mandalas is quite similar to my own, and the video really breaks it down into simple steps. Although you'd probably want to expand your method as you developed confidence in your skills, following this video would be a great and non-intimidating way to get started. (And for the curious, I discovered the video through this post on iHanna's blog, in which she shares her own experiments with drawing mandalas.)
Finally, I just have to share with you these hilarious newspaper "headlines" over at Dispatch From LA. While you're there, you can also admire some pages from her latest travel journal. Just scroll past those to read the headlines.
That's all for now! Enjoy these links and stay tuned for more great posts to come next month, including a review of an intriguing notebook I came across at a local thrift store!