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Posts Tagged ‘Journal Reviews’

It’s that time of month again for The April Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper at Rants of the Archer.  Check it out for the latest reviews of pens and notebooks as well as The History of the Moleskine Notebook and its Role in Literature.

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The Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper is in full swing at Diane’s Pocketblonde blog. Be sure to check it out for this month’s best review on pens, pencils and paper.

For those of you who crave information on the latest journals be sure to check out these journal and planner reviews.

Why keep a journal? Well, Snarky’s Machine has a list of 10 reason’s why you’ll be cooler if you do.

Chris of Pens’nPaper reviews the 2011 Exacompta Prestige Journal 21 Daily Planner and includes lots of pictures of all the extras that come with this planner (for the picky at heart, it’s a treat!)

Zequenz Notebooks, which are as flexible as kittens but easier to write on, gets a great post at Journaling Arts.

Lauren, formerly of Pennington-on-Paper, has a new blog (unhalfbricking) and an introspective post on journaling that’s a lovely read.

Katie of Orange Circle Studio sent in this introduction to the new Edgewise Journals.

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Zequenz Notebooks are available in red and black in 3 sizes.

For those of you love notebooks, check out the newest design in notebooks, from Zequenz. These lovely little notebooks feature curves, and lots of them. The most unique feature is the curved spine, which allows you to open the book completely or 360 so front and back covers touch. A flexible binding allows you to shape the notebook into a curvaceous roll and rounded corners are curved more than most, adding an elegant look to the design.

The flexible, curved binding allows the journal to fold back onto istself.

Rather than including a bookmark that is attached, Zequenz notebook include a small magnetic bookmark that folds over a page (or several) and holds your place.  It is a clever design, but you may find that it is easily lost since the magnet is not that powerful. You may also want to keep it away from any electronic storage devices so it doesn’t damage your data.

Zequenz notebooks are available in:

  • Large – approximately 5¾” x 8¼”
    ruled & squared formats 200 pgs., plain 140 pgs.
  • Medium – approximately 5” x 7”
    ruled & squared formats 200 pgs., plain 140 pgs.
  • Small – approximately 4” x 5½”
    ruled & squared formats 200 pgs., plain 140 pgs.
  • Mini – approximately 3 ½” x 5 ½”
    ruled & squared formats 128 pgs., plain 85 pgs.

2 colors

  • Red and Black

3 Formats

  • Ruled – 70 gsm, lines 7.5 mm spacing in small journal, white paper
  • Squared – 70 gsm, 2.5mm squares
  • Plain – 100 gsm, white paper

The paper inside is white and very smooth. It reminds me a little of Clairefontaine paper, although not as bright or refined. The plain paper is heavier than the ruled paper and would work well for sketching with pens, pencils and markers and will even handle light washes of watercolor without complaint.

Pent test on the ruled paper yielded excellent results. There was no bleedthrough on the fountian or roll pens and the showthrough was minimal. The only ink that bled was the Sharpie permenent marker, which was expected.

The paper performed well with all of the pens I tested and had little showthrough. This test was done on the plain pages. The fountain pen sample smeared a little because I did not allow the ink to dry before writing additional lines.

Pen Test

I had good results with both the plain and ruled paper. The ruled paper performed very well with almost all of my favorite pens, including the fountain and rollerball pens. The only bleedthrough I experienced was using the permanent Sharpie markers, which was expected, but the real surprise was that the Pilot Precise Grip did not bleed through at all. There was some showthrough, but it was not enough to keep me from using the back side of the page.

The plain paper version has heavier paper, so there was even less showthough, but the Pilot Precise Grip had small areas of bleedthrough. I also experienced a little bit of feathering with my $2.00 ink cartridge from a big box office supply store. I can’t say whether the feathering was a result of the paper or ink, but since the rollerball ink had no feathering, I believe the feathering was due to ink quality, not a problem with the paper.

Paint and Marker Test on the Plain Paper

The water-based Tombow Dual Brush Pens performed as you would hope they would. Smooth lines and no showthrough or bleedthrough. The paper, while heavier than most plain paper notebooks, still suffered from some curl when exposed to watercolor paint, but the paint did not bleed through and the curl was minimal.

The paper in the plain Zequenz notebook held up well to watercolor and markers. The paper buckled a bit with the paint, but nothing surprising. There was no bleedthrough of the paints nor waterbased markers, even in the areas of heaviest coverage.

The unique binding enables this notebook to open flat, even when the journal is new.

The curved spine allows you to contort the journal and fold it back onto itself.

Conclusions

If you use fountain pens or other wet pens, you should consider trying a Zequenz notebook. The paper is smooth and bright and you may find that your pen and ink combination will give you satisfactory results.

Zequenz notebooks have more pages than other, similar sized notebooks and have a unique binding that opens flat and can be bent back on itself. If you write a lot, this can help you reduce your notebook consumption.

The curved binding is unique and gives this notebook a distinct personality. This enables it to open flat and be contorted into a variety of positions that are just not possible with other notebooks. If you fiddle with your journals, you may find this a satisfying trait.

A variety of Zequenz notebooks can be found at Amazon.com. Review copies provided to me by the nice folks at Zequenz.

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This month’s carnival, hosted by Kristin at JournalingSaves, has several notebook reviews you’ll want to check out. Thank you, Kristin, for taking the time to share these reviews with us.

Julie (Okami) reviews the Ecosystem Artist Journal on her blog, Whatever. The review features lots of photographs and observations about this beautiful journal.

Nifty posted a great Blackwell Notebook Review over at Notebook Stories. Nifty’s journal reviews specialize in showing us how different pens behave on the paper and other essential information for notebook lovers.

Check out Clement Dionglay’s  Notebook Review: Flower Wow by Daycraft for a look at a floral notebook design.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper using our Carnival submission form. The January Carnival will be hosted by Pocket Blonde. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Carnival of Pen, Pencil & Paper

November's Carnival is hosted by PenAddict.com

Find out what’s happening in the world of pens, pencils and paper by visiting The Pen Addict for this month’s carnival.

EcoJot journals are reviewed by Kristin at JournalingSaves.com.

Find out if you can use pencils for journaling at PencilRevolution.com.

There are many more great articles to see, so be sure to head on over to ThePenAddict.com to see them all.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of pen, pencil and paper using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Contact Keeper

Contact Keeper comes in three sizes, pocket, medium and large. Please note that while the stitching on the Keepers appears red in the photos, it is black. For some reason my camera saw the stitching as red.

For those of you who take notes, have a lot of business contacts and use a daily planner, you might want to take a look at Contact Keeper notebooks for an all-in-one solution. Three sizes of notebooks offer a unique storage/notes combination to keep your contact information for future reference.

These three review copies were given to me by the nice folks at Contact Keeper to review here. I will be giving them away at the end of the work week to three lucky readers. Just leave your comment at the bottom of this post no later than 8:00 PM EST on Friday, September 10th. I will choose a winner using True Random Number Generator at random.org, with the first to reply being number one, and so on. I will contact the winner via email. If you win, you have until Friday, September 17th to claim your prize or I will choose another winner.

Contact Keeper

What’s Included

While the sizes are different, they each have common features. Each is made from what appears to be a vinyl PU or another man-made material that is smooth to touch and feels similar to fine leather, especially the largest notebook. The edges and corners are all stitched with black thread even though it appears red in the photos. There is an elastic strap on each model to keep the notebook closed.

The medium and large Keepers include ring binders on the inside for easy addition and removal of pages.

Medium and Large Keepers

The large and medium-sized models include ring binders along with 30 contact pages, each with a single business card slot. There are also three additional pages with multiple slots per page for contacts that don’t require an entire page of notes. This gives you a total of 42 contacts in the large notebook and 39 in the medium notebook. If you need more pages, you can order additional refill kits online at ContactKeeper.com. There is also a Receipt Envelope, a Business Activity envelope and 15 leaves of ruled pages for additional note taking.

A Receipt Envelope and a Daily Planner are found in both the medium and large Keepers.

A four-year calendar and a four-page day planner are included in the large and medium-sized models, but if you intend you use it as a planner, you will need to order more planner inserts. I can’t tell from the site if you can order these individually or if they only come as part of a set, so you will need to contact the folks at Contact Keeper if you want additional planning pages.

Full page layout includes a slot for your business card and plenty of lines for notes on both front and back of the page. additional pages in the back have multiple slots per page with reduced room for note taking.

Large pockets on both front and back covers of the Keepers offer a convenient space to slide papers along with small clear pockets to slide one of your own business cards. If you need to keep a pen, there is a narrow pen slide on the inside front cover. The large Keeper has one unique feature; a large clip on the inside of the back covers that acts as a built-in clipboard.

The medium and large Keepers have a clear pocket for storing your business card that provide easy identification. A clear pocket on the spine can be used to label your notebook in case you use several for different purposes. Large pockets on both front and back covers store papers, notes, photos and other items.

Daily Planning Pages

A four-year calendar and daily planning pages for scheduling. With only four pages for planning you will need to order more planning pages if you intend to use this as a planner. As-is, it may be useful for occasional seminars or workshops.

All of the Keepers, including the small one, have an elastic strap to keep the contents compact, however the pen slide is only available in the medium and large Keepers. The pen slide is narrow, so if you have a high-end pen or mechanical pencil that has a larger diameter than the typical office pen, it may not fit. My Tombow Ultra did not fit.

Small Keeper

The small Contact Keeper is more like a business card wallet than a notebook. It is sized to fit into your back pocket or purse. With only 2 pockets, an elastic strap and a set of business card-sized sticky notes, it is the smallest and least complicated of the bunch. There is one pocket for your business cards and one for the cards you collect. Notes about your contact are written on the sticky note, and can be applied to your contact’s card for later review.

Note for Artists and Other Creative Folks:

While these are made specifically for business cards and contacts, I can’t help but imagine using them to catalog notes about paint formulas or artistic processes. You could cut business card-sized pieces of your artistic experiments, slide them into the business card slots and keep notes about the process used to achieve the effect or paint color on the card. This would be a great way to keep all of your creative information in one place, handy for future reference.

Remember to leave a reply if you would like to win one of the Contact Keepers. The giveaway is open to everyone around the world and ends Friday night, September 10th at 8:00 PM EST. I will contact the winner via email. If you win, you have until Friday, September 17th to claim your prize or I will choose another winner.

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Laser transfer in an Ecosystems Sketchbook

This final image was created using a combination laser transfer, acrylic paint and oil pastel.

I love combining digital art with traditional art and one easy way to combine the two is by using laser transfers from your laser printer in combination with paints on paper.

This image was created using a laser transfer as the base image in my Ecosystems Sketchbook with layers of acrylic and oil pastel on top. Laser transfers are not acid-free, but by covering the image with acrylics and a final coating at the end, you will be able to make it last long enough to enjoy it. Please note that this method uses chemicals that should only be used in a well-ventilated area and that you should take adequate precautions when using petroleum-based thinners. Please read the precaution on the can of the product you are using and follow the safety instructions.

A color laser print out of a medallion was used to make the base image. I did not create a mirror image because I didn't care if the image was reversed from the way it was originally created. If you are using type or another image that needs to be in a specific orientation, be sure to you your printer's settings to print an inverted or mirror image of your design or photo.

To start, I designed and printed out an image using my drawing program. I intentionally used bright, saturated colors because some of the intensity is lost during the transfer process and I wanted my base image to be visible below several layers of paint. If I would have used lighter colors, the image would have been much more subtle. I printed the image on a color laser, but you can also transfer black and white laser images using this method.

Next, I placed the image face down onto my journal. Once the image was positioned, I applied a rag saturated with lacquer thinner to the back of the laser print and rubbed it into the page until I could see the image through the back of the paper. Note: It will take some experimentation to learn how your thinner works with your laser print, so if you are unsure of what results you will get, try the transfer first on a scrap piece of paper until you are happy with the results.

I applied the thinner to the entire image and burnished it to press the color into the paper. More burnishing produces stronger images although the transfer will never be as clear and sharp as the original printout. If you require more perfect transfers, other techniques which add another layer of material will work better such as Lasertran and inkjet transfers or Water Slide Decals.

Laser transfer in an art journal.

Once the transfer was complete, I peeled away the color laser print out to reveal the image. Note the image is much softer than the original printout. This is quite normal and is to be expected using this technique. I can give your art an aged look that is difficult to achieve by hand.

The final image transfer. Note how it is much softer than the original print.

The image transfer. Note how it is much softer than the original print.

I added metallic gold, acrylic paint that had been thinned with water to create a shimmery, aged look. It took several layers of this to build up enough color to create the effect I was after.

I added metallic gold, acrylic paint that had been thinned with water to create a shimmery, aged look. It took several layers of this to build up enough color to create the effect I was after.

Art Journal

I used multiple layers of acrylic paints of different colors to add depth and intensity.

Adding text to an art journal.

Once I had the background color the way I liked it and the paint was dry, I added horizontal pencil lines so I would be able add aligned text on top of the image. The pencil lines were very light to not obstruct the image.

The final image including hand-written text.

I added hand-written text on top of the art using a white oil pastel. The oil pastel is dense and enabled me to create opaque, cursive text on top of the image. Once I was finished, I coated the entire piece with a clear acrylic spray to seal it and to prevent the oil pastel from transferring to paper or hands. The sealer also protect the artwork from dirt, grime and moisture.

this is filler

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