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Archive for May, 2009

Tombow Object Fountain Pens are now available for purchase at www.journalingarts.com. These pens are no longer offered by Tombow USA making them very difficult to obtain in the US. The pens are available in Sapphire Blue, Black, Amethyst Purple and Golden orange as well fine and medium nib sizes. Supplies are limited.

If you are interested in Tombow pens that have been discontinued in the US, but can’t find it in my store, email me at: cynthia@journalingarts.com and I will see if I can find what you are looking for.

Tombow Object Fountain Pen in Sapphire Blue

Tombow Object Fountain Pen in Sapphire Blue

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Not much inspires me more than my devoted companion, Frosti. I couldn’t resist painting him in my Moleskine Watercolor journal. While this doesn’t look exactly like him, it does capture his sweet essence. The portrait was created using basic watercolor paint and a pigment marker for the eyes, nose and mouth.

My dog Frosti was painted in my Moleskine Watercolor Journal using watercolor and a pigment liner.

My dog Frosti was painted in my Moleskine Watercolor Journal using watercolor and a pigment liner.

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I just received a shipment of Tombow Object Fountain Pens and will be listing them soon at http://www.journalingarts.com. Stay Tuned!

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Modofly has some gorgeous new cover designs for their line journals by some of today’s most exciting artists. Be sure to check them out at: http://www.modofly.net. If you don’t find what you are looking for, they will do custom orders for you using your artwork or photos.

One of Modofly's Newest Journal Designs.

One of Modofly's Newest Journal Designs.

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Bright white, uncoated paper in the Ciak Sketchbook is perfect for pencil drawings, but how does it perform with a roll pen? Some journals have thin paper and suffer from ink bleed through unless you use the finest points, but I expect more from a sketchbook. I want a sketchbook that will work with a variety of mediums. I am an avid fan of Tombow’s roll pens and prefer them for quick ink sketches, so it is important to me to have a journal that can handle these pens with ease, without excessive bleed through.

I tested the paper in the Ciak Sketchbook using my TOmbow Ultra roll pen.

I tested the paper in the Ciak Sketchbook using my Tombow Ultra roll pen.

My Tombow Ultra roll pen laid down a very wet, permanent line on the Ciak paper. It dried quickly and was fairly crisp although not as crisp as the coated paper in the Moleskine Sketchbook. The paper’s surface was completely smooth and there were no skips or picks, so my line was consistent throughout the illustration. It was a pleasure to illustrate on this paper. Even though the line was wet, the back side of the paper showed minimal bleed through, only small dots of the heaviest areas showed through.

While you can see the the subtle image of the illustration through the back side of the paper, only the areas of coverage with the heaviest ink bled through.

While you can see the the subtle image of the illustration through the back side of the paper, only tiny areas with the heaviest ink coverage bled through.

The completed illustration has an interesting texture. Similar to an etching or engraving, the ink feels like it is sitting up on the paper vs. soaking into it, giving the illustration an added dimension. When you combine this with the contrast provided by crisp, white paper the end result is quite nice. I look forward to doing more of these.

Ink lines on the Ciak sketch paper are smooth and even.

Enlarged detail of ink lines on the Ciak sketch paper .

Ciak Sketchbooks have some unique features that make them ideal art journaling:

  • The soft cover is flexible, yet sturdy enough to use as a surface to work on
  • Several colors are available, so you are no longer limited to black, so you can use different colors for sketchbooks with different content
  • Cover customization is easy because of its slightly porous surface which accepts pens, markers and acrylic paint
  • You can keep a pen, pencil or brush handy by tucking it under the horizontal elastic strap
  • 145 leaves or 209 pages of acid-free paper, more than many popular sketchbooks and journals
  • Bright white, uncoated pages accepts a wide variety of mediums
  • Forgiving cover accepts abuse and can even repels water

If you are looking for a versatile sketchbook that can handle a variety of mediums, you will like using the Ciak Sketchboook. It is a stylish, competent contender that works well with pencil and ink and is worthy of a place on your art supply shelf.

Final illustration completed with a Tombow Ultra pen.

Final illustration completed with a Tombow Ultra pen.

Because of the way the ink rests on the paper, you can feel raised areas when you run your hand across the completed illustation.

Because of the way the ink rests on the paper, you can feel raised areas when you run your hand across the completed illustation.

Ciak journals and sketchbooks are available in a variety of colors.

Ciak journals and sketchbooks are available in a variety of colors.

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The Ciak Sketchbook has a heavy, white, uncoated paper that is fairly smooth with just a little bit of tooth. There are no coatings on the paper like you would find on the Moleskine Sketchbook, so I was a bit concerned about how well the paper would perform using water-based markers. Would they bleed through, feather or dimple the paper?

I used blocks of color created with Tombow Dual Brush Pens to test the papers ability to handle markers.

I used blocks of color created with Tombow's Dual Brush Pens to test the paper's ability to handle markers.

I created a grid of color blocks using Tombow’s Watercolor Dual Brush Pens. I sketched each block with its own color and allowed the first layer of color to dry before applying a subsequent layer. I was careful with this layer and applied just enough to completely color the paper. The color went down smoothly, without bleeding or feathering and I was able to achieve crisp lines and edges. The colors were pure and clean and there was no muddiness. Upon checking the backside of the page to see if I had any bleed through, I was pleased to discover the paper was still white with only a slight hint of colors showing through on the other side. This appeared to be due to a translucence in the paper and was most obvious on the red tones.

After 2 layers of color, the backside of the page in the Ciak Sketchbook remained white with only a hint of color showing through.

Even after applying two layers of color with Tombow's Dual Brush Pens, the backside of the page in the Ciak Sketchbook remained white and without bleed through. Only a hint of color showing through.

Once the first layer dried, I painted a second layer in the lower right corners of the squares. The second layers appear as dark triangles of color in the lower right side of each color block. Again, I was careful to add just enough to darken the color, and I did not abrade the paper or overly saturate the area. A second check at the backside of the paper revealed the paper was still in good shape. The second layer did not bleed through.

The darker triangles of color in each color blocks were created using multiple layers of color.

The darker triangles of color in each block were created using multiple layers of color.

On some of the color blocks, I applied a third layer of color in the squares using a different color, as I would do when creating  a marker illustration. As long as I did not rub the paper too hard, there was no bleed through and the backside of the paper remained unchanged. However, when I applied the marker with a heavy hand, saturating the area and making it very wet, I broke through the surface of the paper and the backside of the page showed some bleed through as seen in the photo below.

When I applied multiple layers and damaged the surface of the paper as shown in the left photo, the color did bleed through to the backside of the paper as shown on the photo on the right.

When I applied multiple layers and damaged the surface of the paper as shown in the left photo, the color did bleed through to the backside of the paper as shown on the photo on the right.

The verdict: the Ciak Sketchbook is an excellent choice for using with your water-based markers. You get bright colors, crisp lines and the paper is thick enough to prevent most bleed through as long as you keep your color layers light. By allowing your layers to dry before applying the next, you will find that you can apply multiple layers without bleed through and the paper will stay fairly flat. If you prefer to work with heavy coverage and lots of wet areas, you will most likely have bleed through on the backside and you may even find your paper cupping somewhat. For more information on the Ciak Sketchbooks or to order, visit this link: www.journalingarts.com.

Ciak Sketchbooks come in a variety of colors and can be found at www.journalingarts.com.

Ciak Sketchbooks come in a variety of colors and can be found at http://www.journalingarts.com.

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I wanted to know how much water the paper in the pocket Moleskine Watercolor Journal could handle, so I created an illustration I thought would test its limits. The illustration would include a solid background that would require lots of watery paint. As I painted, I made a point to really load up on paint throughout the image, to see how much the paper would warp and/or curl.

I Created this Self Portrait to Test the Limits of the Paper in a Pocket Moleskine Watercolor Journal.I Created this Self Portrait to Test the Limits of the Paper in a Pocket Moleskine Watercolor Journal.

Painting the small, detailed areas with a very wet brush resulted in slight buckling of the paper, but this completely disappeared when the paint dried and I was able to add additional wet layers without a problem. As I applied more paint, there were fewer problems with paper distortion. Perhaps the additional paint added just enough substance to prevent a lot of distortion on the additional layers.

For the large background, multiple layers of wet paint were applied with a large, sopping mop brush. I painted large puddled areas on each layer, which caused considerable cupping and buckling while wet. Initially, I was concerned that the paper would be quite distorted, but I was thrilled to discover that these cupped areas flattened out considerably as they dried.

The final painting did have some curling near the corners of the paper, but the middle of the piece where the paint was the heaviest, was nearly flat. Overall, this was a fantastic result from the small Moleskine Watercolor Journal and I am pleased to be able to recommend it to anyone considering purchasing one.

There Was Slight Cupping to the Corners of the Paper Once the Illustration Was Dry.
The corners of the pages curled only slightly after using copious watercolor paint.

Moleskine Watercolor Journals can be found at www.journalingarts.com.

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After a long delay, the Leuchtturm Plain Journals are available for purchase at www.journalingarts.com. There are 3 sizes to choose from including, small, large and Master Book sizes. The Master Book journal is the largest of its kind and measures a whopping 9″ x 12½”. Unlike Moleskine and most other journals you’ll find on the market today, the Leuchtturm journals have a table of contents in the front and numbered pages, so you can easily organize your book’s contents. Inside, you will also find an expandable envelope pocket, acid-free paper and materials and a ribbon book mark. The Leuchtturm notebooks are a little more economical than the Moleskine and Ciak journals, so if you go through a lot of notebooks, the Leuchtturm is worth a look.

The Leuchtturm Large Plain journal has classic good looks and acid-free design.

The Leuchtturm Large Plain journal, classic good looks and acid-free design. The white label is part of the packaging and not attached.

Every Leuchtturm Journal has a Table of Contents and numbered pages making organization easy.

Every Leuchtturm Journal has a Table of Contents and numbered pages making organization easy.

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With classic good looks and sophisticated style, Moleskine planners scream for a high-style companion pen. The Large Daily Planner has a unique feature not found on other Moleskine notebooks or planners; a void in between the pages and the spine which is perfect for holding a thin pen. Not only is this convenient, but it gives you the opportunity keep a pen with your planner that expresses your modern lifestyle.

In the photos below, I used 2 different pens in the void, Tombow’s Zoom 727 and 707 ballpoint pens because of their modern designs and thin profiles. Both pens have a clip on the end which helps hold the pen securely in place and the stylish red dots contrast nicely with the black color of the spine. When using this method, you will have a small portion of the pen or pencil protruding from the top. You can also completely conceal your writing instrument by using the pressure method shown below.

The Clip Method

  1. Open your Moleskine Large Daily Planner and find the opening at the top formed between the spine and pages.
  2. Insert the body of a slim pen into the void in between the spine and the page binding. Push into the slot until the clip is secured on the edge of the spine.

The Pressure Method
No Clip? No Problem

Pens and pencils without clips can be used as long as they are slim enough to fit into the void and fat enough to fit snugly when the planner is closed. The pressure on the void in the spine increases as you close the planner, securing the pen when fully closed. The elastic strap holds it together, making this a fairly secure space for your pen or pencil. When you open the planner, the pen or pencil will fall out or can be pushed out with your pinky. You might want to experiment with different pens to get one that is a good fit because if it is too loose, your pen will not fall out. When using the clip method, the silver Tombow Zoom 727 ballpoint pen shown in the photo hase the best fit I have found but I am sure that there are others that would work as well.

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Now through May 31, 2009, you have a chance to win a lifetime supply of Moleskine notebooks by submitting your best Moleskine Hacks at www.moleskine.com. The best ideas will be shown in My Moleskine 2.0 Exhibition and will have the chance to receive one of these prizes:

  • 1st prize: a lifetime supply of Moleskine notebooks*;
  • 2nd prize: collection of 25 Moleskine notebooks and diaries;
  • 3rd prize: collection of 15 Moleskine notebooks and diaries;
  • All other selected entries: set of 3 Moleskine notebooks.

For details, visit www.moleskine.com or click this link: http://www.moleskine.com/events/my_moleskine_20_competition_1.php.

(*Limited to 5 notebooks per year over a period of 50 years)

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