Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From the Art Journal: Early in the Morning

I actually finished these pages several days ago but didn't get around to photographing and posting them until now.  (These are the pages that developed from the second painted page spread seen in this post.)

Overall, I am not as satisfied with these pages as I was with the previous ones.  The colours didn't turn out quite as I had planned. I had something more muted and monochromatic in mind, but these pages didn't really want to go that way.  The various elements are not worked into the background or blended together as much as I would have liked.  And then there are the orange circles, which I added near the end and were something that I had great hopes for but wasn't too sure about after I finished.  I still like these pages, but not as much as the first ones.

The words are a few lines from a poem by Ursula K. Le Guin ("The Writer to the Morning in Up the Hill House in Sinshan") from her (excellent) book, Always Coming Home.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Uni-ball Signo Gel Grip 0.7mm

I recently picked up a 5-pack of Uni-ball Signo Gel Grip pens (2 black, 2 blue, 1 red) at half price while in the grocery store the other day and so far I am very pleased with them.

First of all, they write very smoothly, as you might expect from the Uni-ball Signo line.  I was a little unsure about the 0.7mm line width since I usually prefer 0.5mm or finer in gel pens, but this wasn't a problem at all.  I can't quite explain it, but somehow these pens feel as though they write with a finer line, even though comparisons with other 0.7mm gel pens I owned showed that this wasn't the case (as far as I could tell without bringing out a magnifying glass).  Also, the red pen seems to write with a slightly thicker line than the black and blue pens.

Another thing that I am impressed with is the overall appearance of the pen, which I find very appealing and eye-catching.  I have often thought that the Uni-ball Signo DX has a rather bland appearance, but that is not the case with the Uni-ball Signo Gel Grip at all.  Although you probably cannot tell from the photo, the Gel Grip does have a visible ink supply, which I like, but it is far more subtle and integrated into the design of the pen than that of the DX.

A brief note on the colours: while the blue and red are deep, vibrant shades, the black appears rather grey and washed-out, especially compared to the black Zebra Sarasa and the black Pilot G-2.

Overall, the Uni-ball Gel Grip is an excellent gel pen that I can see becoming one of my favourite everyday gel pens.  However, it is still not going to replace my finer-pointed gel pens anytime soon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Other Journal

Nature journal pages from the other journal.  Sketched and written using Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

I bought this sketchbook back in July, with vague ideas of turning it into an art/sketchbook journal where I could practice my drawing skills.  However, the pages soon became filled with abstract doodles, tests of new pens and other supplies, and notes on trees and plants that were growing in my area.  After reading Clare Walker Leslie's excellent and beautifully illustrated book, Keeping a Nature Journal, I decided that this book would become my nature journal.  I filled a few pages with this goal in mind, but the increased work that I had to do for school made it harder and harder to find time to keep the journal regularly and for several weeks, it lay untouched on my shelf.

Today, I may refer to this book as an art journal, a sketchbook, a sketchbook journal, a nature journal, or simply as "the other journal."  The pages tend to be more informal and much simpler than those of my other art journal, the pamphlet journal.  Many pages contain sketches drawn using a Sharpie Pen or Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.  (I prefer the Sharpie Pen when using watercolours, as it is waterproof.)  Others contain detailed written botanical descriptions, lists of pens I'm currently using, or passages from favourite poems.

Pages from the other journal containing part of William Wordsworth's poem, "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey," and a watercolour pencil sketch of a maple leaf.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What to do with a new notebook?

It's an old story: I was in the campus bookstore to buy a glue stick.  Glue stick in hand, I thought that I had not walked all the way across campus to spend thirty seconds in the store, so I might as well look around.  Fate led me to the clearance shelf at the back of the store, where I spied one lonely and forgotten Quo Vadis Habana notebook, only slightly shelf-worn.

I picked it up, thinking that I already had more notebooks than I knew what to do with, but it wouldn't hurt just to look, right?  It had a smooth black cover and creamy, unlined pages and fit nicely into my hand.  I paused for a moment, contemplating the notebook in my hand and the empty spot on the shelf.  I turned towards the front of the store and then back towards the shelf.  Then, without further hesitation, I turned again and headed decisively towards the checkout.

So now I have one more notebook on my shelf.  What will I do with it?

I already have two ordinary written journals, two art journals, and two planners, as well as various other notebooks being used for school notes, writing down favourite poems and quotations, keeping track of the books I am reading, as well as for just making random notes, scribbles, and doodles.  In fact, I have been thinking lately that I need less notebooks rather than more, as part of my attempts to simplify my life.

But the new Quo Vadis Habana remains, haunting me with its clean, unmarked, tantalizing pages...  Should I just keep it for the future?  One possible use that I have in mind would be that of a commonplace book.  I have recently discovered an excellent two-part article (Part I and Part II) on commonplace books at D*I*Y Planner.  I would love to try that idea out, but this notebook, with its small size and unlined pages, may not be the best option.  Perhaps it would be better suited to a pocket-sized, portable sketchbook?  Or perhaps I could use it to write poetry in.  Or perhaps to keep notes on the books that I am reading, and lists of books I want to read in the future.  Or perhaps...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Art Journaling, Part 5: Lettering

Here they are, the finished pages!

As you can see, I've added some words, as well as few more small collage items and doodles.  I mainly used brown and green Sakura Permapaque paint markers, a white Pilot Choose gel pen, and a black Staples Gel Mini.  The Pilot Choose performed way better than it usually does; apparently it likes writing on a painted surface.  The words are a favourite quote by Henry David Thoreau: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, it is perhaps because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."  I also added in the date and the word "journal" (original, I know).

Overall, I am really thrilled with how these pages turned out.  I absolutely love the colours and patterns, and I also like that they took a long time to make.  I enjoy returning to the same pages over a period of several days or even a couple of weeks, rather than just finishing it all in one sitting.  I actually think these pages are one of the best things I've ever made in my life.

I have the next two pages nearly finished, so I'll try to post those once they're done, and perhaps also some pages from a book I am calling "the other journal."

Here are the links to the previous posts in this series:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pilot FriXion Color-Pencil-Like Erasable Gel Ink Pen 0.7mm Purplish Red

This is another pen that I bought partly because of its colour.  How many other pens have you seen that come in purplish red?

However, this pen is probably one that would go into the "good but not great" category.  It writes fairly smoothly but I have used smoother pens.  The eraser also works well, but not perfectly.  Personally, if I'm writing something that I think I might have to erase, I use a pencil.

The pen does not have a visible ink supply, which I would have preferred.  There is no clip on the lid; instead there is a small bump that I presume is to prevent the pen from rolling off the table.  As someone who likes to clip my pen to my papers, I find this a bit annoying and I am a bit puzzled as to why someone would have decided not to include a clip.  I really like how the cap satisfyingly snaps into place on both ends.  The eraser is placed on the end of the cap, meaning that it is still usable when the cap is on the end of the pen.  Apparently, the shape of this pen is supposed to mimic that of a wooden pencil, but I don't think I would have noticed that if I hadn't had it pointed out to me.  Finally, even though I haven't had this pen that long, the words "Pilot FriXion" are beginning to wear off of the cap.

If you would like a pen that just a bit different, or if you would like an erasable pen that works better than those horrible erasable ballpoints, then the Pilot FriXion Color-Pencil-Like* erasable gel ink pen could be for you.  If not, you might prefer a different pen.

Related reviews: pensandmore, The Pen-Guin, Color for Bead Artists, Current Addictions, School Supply Dance, Pens 'n' Paper, The Pen Addict, Life Imitates Doodles, Lung Sketching Scrolls

*Every time I type the words "Color-Pencil-Like," I cringe at having to write "color" instead of "colour."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Art Journaling, Part 4: Pen Work

If you are just joining us, I was recently inspired to begin keeping a new art journal after watching Teesha Moore's excellent series of videos on art journaling.  If you are interesting in art journals or if you think you might become interested, I highly recommend these videos.  You might also like to check out Teesha's blog.

In previous posts, I made an incredibly simple pamphlet journal, painted a couple of backgrounds, and added a layer of collage items.  In this post, I have gone over the collaged pages with markers and pens, working the collage items into the background and making them part of the overall appearance of the page.

I mainly used the Sakura Permapaque paint markers, which I was very pleased with as they wrote effortlessly over all of the different surfaces (papers of varying degrees of porosity, and painted surfaces).  However, I do have one complaint to make about them - the lids do not post on the back.  They seem as though they are meant to and even fit somewhat loosely.  However, the lid quickly falls off again as soon as I begin using the marker.

I also used a handful of Staples brand mini gel pens.  These pens are very inexpensive so I didn't have to worry about potentially wrecking them (something I have been known to do in art journals) and actually wrote surprisingly well on the different surfaces.  A few other miscellaneous pens probably got in there somewhere as well and I also added some shading with pencil crayons to give the pages depth.

Stay tuned for part 5 of this series, where I add letters and words to the pages.

Other posts in this series:

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