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Moleskine Mini Planners

Moleskine's Mini Planners are new for the 2011 planning year will be available in early summer of 2010. New colors include maroon, sky blue, lime green, navy and dark pink.

Moleskine is releasing several new products this year including a new weekly and daily Mini Planners in a variety of new colors. Sized at tiny 2¾” x 4¼”, they are slightly larger than the X-small Moleskine Volant and small enough to take with you wherever you go. They will be available in 6 colors including black, dark pink, sky blue, lime green, maroon and blue. Retail prices will be $9.99 USD for both the weekly and daily versions.

Moleskine Sky Blue Mini Planner

The tiny size is smaller than the length of a standard pen and will fit in almost any pocket or purse.

Moleskne Mini Weekly Planner

The weekly format is familiar, an unlined, horizontal format. While it is small in size, there is plenty of room for planning if you have only a few appoinmtents a day.

The planning formats are consistent with the mini’s larger cousins in style and layout, just smaller. The weekly format features a week spread across two pages in a open, horizontal format. There are no lines to restrict your note-taking, just blank sections separated by a line for each day.The daily format features unlined, one-page-per-day planning, but it is thicker than the weekly planner and measures nearly 1″ thick.

Moleskine Mini Daily Planner

The daily planning format is unlined and unstructured with one-day-per-page.

All of the same convenience pages are here, too including the Time Zone Map, Travels Planning and Memo, International Dialing Codes, Yearly Calenders, International Holidays, Distances, International Sizes and a small ruler on the edge of a page.

Moleskine Mini Planner pages feature an world time zone map

Moleskine Mini Planner pages feature the same convenience pages you'll find in the larger versions.

There is a change to the monthly planning section in the front of the planner; a box style planning calendar. I much prefer the box format in this planner to the tiny, vertical monthly planning sections in the larger planners. It is easier to see a month’s planning at a glance and less rigid. With any luck the larger planners will adopt this format in the future.

Moleskine Monthly Box-Style Planning Calenders

Moleskine's new monthly box-style planning calenders in the front of the planner give you a view of your month at a glance.

The mini planners have the all the features that you would expect from a Moleskine notebook or planner including:

  • Ribbon bookmark
  • Expandable envelope in the back
  • Elastic strap does a good job of keeping the planner closed an compact
  • Opens flat
  • Protective, oilcloth cover
  • Acid-free paper
Moleskine Mini Planner

The expandable pocket in the back of the planner is large enough for credit cards or business cards.

Final Thoughts

These little planners are packed with a powerful planning format despite being small. There are a variety of color choices to satisfy the urge to have a unique look. The planning formats are classic Moleskine and have enough space to handle all but the busiest schedules. If you don’t carry a planner because you don’t like the extra bulk, you should consider the Moleskine line of Mini Planners. The small size is to that of an iPhone and is as convenient to carry.

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For those of you who love Moleskine notebooks, but yearn for something special for the activities you are passionate about, you’ll be glad to know that Moleskine’s Passions journals will be hitting the store shelves soon. I have these on order and hope to have them at www.journalingarts.com soon and have a review planned in coming weeks.

Moleskine Passions is a collection of six different journals to record and recall memories, thoughts and notes about six different passions: Recipes, Wine, Book, Film, Music and Wellness. The black cover, one of the icons of the Moleskine brand, for the first time in the brand’s history is fully embossed with a tight texture of themed images and writings.

You can use them to collect information and reviews about books you’ve read, restaurants you’ve visited, concerts you’ve attended and dishes you’ve tasted. And once you’ve recorded this information you can share your discoveries with others or save it for future reference.

Each journal is a personal archive to fill in according to different needs and feelings:

  • Pages divided by printed tabs, with a themed layout for supporting you in taking notes.
  • Pages divided by blank tabs, that the user can personalize with the enclosed adhesive labels.
  • Blank pages for freedom of expression.
  • Enclosed adhesive labels, with words and icons.
  • Themed charts, calendars, glossaries, listings.

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I have heard from many of you who are uncomfortable starting an art journal who are worried that your ideas and first sketches are ugly or unattractive. If you experience this, don’t worry! They all start out that way. An art journal is all about the process and not every page in your journal is destined to be a work of fine art. If you focus on the process and forget about the final result, you will enjoy art journaling more and your journals will be filled with unique and interesting art that is meaningful and thought-provoking.

I thought it would be interesting to show the steps I take when illustrating a page in my art journal so you could see the process. This 2-page spread is from a journal on abundance I am in the process of working on. If you compare it to the final illustration at the end of the post, you will find it is only a rough representation of the final image.

Art Journaling Abundance in Moleskine Watercolor Journal

This is the rough, pencil sketch for the abundance concept. Notice the images and text is loose and incomplete, only there to indicate position. This sketch will be painted over or erased during the process of journaling. It is only a guide that can be changed as the illustration progresses.

Many beautiful journal pages start as dirty-looking, gray scratchings on the page. In my journal, I started with rough pencil sketches. Notice that these are not perfect little drawings, just basic images and indications of what I see in my head.

Art Journaling Abundance

I used more precise pencil lines as a guide to cut the shape of the reflections from the tape. The lines were dark enough to be visible through the tape.

Once the rough sketch was in place, I started to make the pencil lines more detailed. Since I wanted to create glare on the water that would be white in the final piece, I had to find a way to make these areas white. Since I didn’t want to add white paint, I decided to use masking tape to mask the areas I wanted to be white. This protected the paper from paint, creating white areas wherever tape was used. Using the pencil lines as a guide, I cut the tape and removed the tape on areas that were to be painted. Once these areas were taped, I could paint background colors that had a continuous flow, giving a more uniform appearance.

Art Journaling Abundance

You need to exercise care when cutting masking tape that has been place on your paper. If you cut too deep, you could go through the paper or paint might collect in the small cut you made. If you are new to this, you might want to practice on a scrap piece of paper to see how much pressure you will need to cut to the correct depth.

Removing the tape requires some patience and care. If you are hasty, the surface of the paper will be removed. If this happens, don’t worry, it can be concealed if it causes a problem. In many cases, it is simply not visible in the final product.

Art Journaling Abundance masking

Use care when removing the tape. If you pull too hard or too fast, you may remove the surface of the paper. The pencil marks can be erased once the tape is removed so they don't show through the paint washes.

Once the reflections had been masked, I filled in the background with a blue wash with varied tones. To make it more interesting, I made the lower left corner much darker. This would draw the eye from the lower left into the center of the image where is was much brighter.

After the background was dry, I carefully removed the masking tape to reveal the white reflections.

Art Journalng Abundance watercolor

I painted the background while the masking tape was in place for a smooth, consistent look. Once the tape was removed, the background and fishes contrast with the white reflections. Although I tried to be careful removing the tape, I did manage to pull some of the paper up, but the watercolor paint covered my mistake without a problem, so you really don't notice it. If you right-click the image and choose View Image, you can see a larger version of the image.

I used a metallic pen to write the text I had roughed out on the original pencil sketch. I chose metallic pen to simulate the reflections on the water and to give the piece a little bit of flash. I used a cursive text to mimic the shape of the reflections. By doing this, your eye is tricked and it is not obvious at first glance that this is writing.

Art Journaling Metallic Pen

I used metallic pen to simulate the reflections in the water. I didn't want the words to be obvious at first. The cursive style was used to mimic the shape of the reflections.

The final art, while far from detailed or visually accurate, communicates the graphic, figurative image I wanted.

Art Journaling "Reflections of Abundance" in a Moleskine Watercolor Journal.

The final illustration is titled Reflections of Abundance and is just another set of pages in my abundance journal. I like the upward movement and the flow of golden fishes and it encourages me to continue the journey on the next page.

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A month or so ago, I started a personal art journal. I didn’t have a plan, I thought I would just start drawing, go with the flow and see what happened. The result was the beginnings of an abundance journal.

The first pages in my personal abundance journal was done in pen and ink, acrylic paint, and rubber stamps impressed into thick layers of gel medium.

I started with a pen and ink illustration of curly, swirling, lines as the base image. In the photo, it is just barely visible through the sun’s rays and golden paint. This image was the inspiration for the entire journal, but the process of discovering this unfolded slowly. The organic shape of the lines reminded me of a flowing river and the circular shape of the curls reminded me of coins. I kept these images in mind as I layered on the paints and gel medium.

Because water was used to thin the acrylic paint, the color is translucent and the original line drawing of the swirls is visible. The coins were created by pressing a rubber stamp of a coin image into wet gel medium. Once the gel medium dried, diluted ink was rubbed into the depressions left by the stamp and the raised areas were wiped clean. This resulted in an antique look on the coins and surrounding area. The sun's rays were created with water-soluble pastels applied after the background was finished and then the entire spread was sprayed with a protective coat of acrylic spray.

The acrylic paints were thinned with water to keep the color translucent. By applying multiple thin layers the color was constructed slowly, adding depth and dimension to the background while allowing the pen and ink illustration to show through. In the golden-orange areas, thin layers of metallic gold acrylic were applied to add some shine that would relate to the coins I imagined earlier. Multiple washes of the metallic paint created a luminous effect that is soft and beautiful. More layers of gold made the paint more reflective, but by adding subtle, watery layers of the metallic paint over other areas of color added subtle movement to these areas.

Moleskine Watercolor Art Journal

The red background was created using watercolor. I avoided adding too much yellow to the red because I wanted it to contrast with the gold tones. The coins were created with a rubber stamp and black and red inks. Kanji character was stamped using black ink and the light areas near the top of the character were filled in using ink and a brush to define the edges.

In the left corner, the red background was created with multiple layers of red watercolor paint along with black to add some much-needed intensity and contrast to the image. I resisted the urge to add too much yellow to the red because I wanted it to contrast with the golds and make it pop. Shading was done with purples and blacks to enhance the dark areas. The coin images you see on this part of the illustration were done by using a rubber stamp with black and red inks. The Kanji character was done with a rubber stamp and black ink the light areas near the top of the character were filled in with a brush to define it.

At this point, the background was finished but it needed a focal point. A sun seemed to be the perfect choice and reinforced the circular imagery in the line illustration and coins. Because I wanted the sun to be opaque to cover the intense background, I chose vivid, water-soluble pastels. The bright color struck a nice balance to the background and the swirling rays added the concept of swirling water that I was looking for.

Once I felt the illustration was finished, I sealed it using a clear acrylic spray to protect it an to give the entire image an even sheen.

Material Used

  • Red and yellow acrylic paint
  • Metallic gold and silver metallic acrylic paint
  • Watercolor paint
  • Pen and ink
  • Rubber stamp of coin
  • Red and black ink pad
  • Gel medium
  • Water soluble pastels
  • Acrylic sealant

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I sat down with my Moleskine Watercolor Journal and my fountain pen when I the pen started to run dry. With no available ink to refresh my pen, I realized that I would not be able to draw much before my pen stop working. In the spirit of going with the flow, I decided to use the fountain pen and dilute the remaining ink. This would give me a line that would initially be dark but would gradually lighten as I used it more. This inspired me to draw a tree that would be darker near the trunk and lighter towards the branch tips.

The tree illustration was created using a fountain pen that had diluted ink. The ink faded as I used it creating branch tips that were lighter in tone than the heavier parts of the tree.

The tree illustration was created using a fountain pen that had diluted ink. The ink faded as I drew creating branch tips that were lighter in tone than the heavier parts of the tree.

At first, the ink was very dark and I quickly drew the trunk and thick branches saving the highlighted areas for later. As the ink got lighter, I worked my way towards the ends of the branches and I filled in the highlights on the trees. The fading pen was a delight to work with and it was very satisfying to draw lines that continually lightened. When I was finished with the tree, I was disappointed that the line work was over because I enjoyed this process so much.

I still had some dried watercolors left in my palette from a previous illustration that I was able to reconstitute for the background. The blues and greens were just what I needed.

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Primary Watercolor Abstract in a Moleskine Watercolor Journal

Primary Watercolor Abstract in a Moleskine Watercolor Journal was created without a plan or concept. I used the colors that had dried in my palette left over from a previous painting.

I enjoyed creating the Peace of Mind meditative image so much, that I wanted to try this method again to see where it would take me. With so little time to paint these days, these quick, meditative explorations are a great way to keep the art flowing without the demands of a larger, more elaborate piece. My breaks from work each day consist of 10-15 minutes twice a day which is just enough time to get in a wet layer of paint before I return to work.

On this particular piece, I started with a rich, wet red wash that dripped down the page. I hadn’t planned the drip, it just happened, so in the spirit of going with the flow, I just let it be. I added a lighter wash to the right of the drip, and pulled the darker paint into the lighter area while it was still wet to create some movement. A a pale red wash to the bottom right of the page before I set it aside to dry.

On my next break I added the deep blue wash, keeping the entire area wet while I worked. Once that was completed, I added a light wash of blue in red area to soften the contrast between the colors and to help the colors relate to each other. This took only a few minutes and I was able to put it aside and enjoy a cup of coffee before I had to return to work. On my following break from work I took a look at the piece and I felt like it needed something vibrant. Yellow was added at the intersection of color to add some much needed pop.

In the end, I ended up with an abstract of primary colors which I would never have chosen in well-planned, intentional illustration. While it is not my normal way of working, it does allow me to fit painting into my busy schedule and it keeps the creative juices flowing. It also provides me with an opportunity to clear my head and return to work refreshed.

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Example of some great Moleskine art from Moleskinerie group on Flickr and Official MyMoleskine Community.

Thanks to some friends on Twitter, I found a site that displays some amazing examples of art created in a Moleskine journal. Moleskine art has become quite famous in the arts and design community, and stunning examples are everywhere. Visit www.limeshot.com to check it out. http://limeshot.com/2009/50-examples-of-moleskin-art-that-will-make-you-gasp

Visit the following links for more great images.

Official MyMoleskine Community
Moleskinerie group on Flickr

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