Monday, July 28, 2014

new sketchbook and other stuff

I am trying out a new sketchbook. As you know, I have been making my own sketchbooks for quite some time. Occasionally I give a store-bought sketchbook a spin, but I have always returned to making my own. I have tried some that were hard cover but the paper was too thin, or the pages didn't lay flat, or the paper was good but I didn't like the spiral binding. So when I saw this sketchbook advertised I was interested in testing it out. It's a Strathmore Softcover 400 Series Watercolor Art Journal.
Here is my first page spread. I like to paste in a calendar on the first pages for reference. I like the size and orientation of this sketchbook. At 7.75 x 9.75 inches it is a manageable size, and when opened I will have 9.75 by 15.5 inch area if I wish to work across the page. The binding seems sturdy, the pages will lay open flat, and the cover makes it feel very nice to hold. Because it is a soft cover the book is a bit lighter weight as well.
The other day I was in an office supply store and their display of tablet cases caught my eye. The size seemed about right to hold my new sketchbook and a few supplies. But they were expensive. Then I found this case here. I have smaller cases and pouches for supplies but nothing that my entire kit fits into, sketchbook included. Now this seemed like a workable solution. Everything I need fits easily into one lightweight bag. And it has a shoulder strap!
The larger of the front zippered pockets has pockets for pens and two elastic bands that work perfectly to hold brushes. The sketchbook fits easily into the main interior compartment.
It was a gray, overcast day but I didn't let that stop me from test driving my new sketchbook. As I often do, I painted what was right outside the window.
Although it is not the quality watercolor paper that I use in my handmade books, it did work well for my sketch. I have tried sketchbooks where the paper was rather hard and slick, which doesn't suit the way I like to paint. This paper has enough absorbency for dropping color into wet washes and allowing the paint to mix on the paper, which I like. Yet it does seem sooth enough that dry media should work just fine too. I know that sketchbook preferences are very personal things. I have even found that my own taste in sketchbooks changes from time to time. It is nice to occasionally try new supplies as a change in materials can sometimes bring a freshness or even a new approach to the way you are working.


Jennifer Edwards said...

Awesome post and lovely watercolor Ann!

Celia Blanco said...

Your watercolor is beautiful! Thanks for passing along all this helpful information!

CrimsonLeaves said...

Goodness! The ladies above pretty much have said it all. I was thinking the same things. Love that bag you found for a sketchbook kit!!

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

thanks for the review :) I keep meaning to pick up one of these sketchbooks and try one out

that bag is perfect! I have been looking for a bag like that for months now :)


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