Strathmore Sketchbook Review

I've reviewed a couple of sketchbooks already as a part of my sketchbook review series and today I'm going to cover the one I've been working in the most lately. It's not exactly purse friendly but I can't help my need for a larger sketchbook! I've always favored the Strathmore Sketchbooks even when I was high school a few years ago. The paper quality encourages me to use whatever products I want on the paper without much worry of it bleeding through the page.  

The page size is 9 x 12 and I feel like this is a good amount of space for my sketches. I used to need to take up the whole page with my drawings but lately I have been experimenting with sketching smaller and putting more emphasis on details, something I haven't been very confident with in my art before. I think of all the supplies I've used in this sketchbook, the only one that bleeds through is Copic Marker, so be aware of that when you're working in it. That being said, I feel like Copic Markers blend nicely on this paper. It's been a wonder experimenting with them on the pages. Watercolor has been holding up well with the pages as well, and since I'm learning more how to use it I tend to make a lot of mistakes with it. The pages get a bit wrinkly with a lot of water on them, but I don't blame the quality of the paper for that. I think I just use a lot of water, haha!

The pages I'm showing in this post are from an older Strathmore Sketchbook I have that's over a year old. I wanted to show these works for two reasons. One, I wanted to show how well the colors held up while this book was in storage and I wanted to show a few different sketches than I have been showing lately. I am planning on doing a sketchbook tour soon so you'll be able to see the more current drawings then. 

Pencil sketches look really great in this sketchbook. I tend to be meticulous when drawing them and tend to erase any smudges that do appear after working on it for a while. Now, I'm writing this as a right handed person that holds her pencil like a lefty, so I tend to smudge my pencil sketches quite a bit. You can see a bit of a smudge on this one here, but it's nothing major. You can also kind of see through to the next page and see the sketch on there as well.

This drawing was done with Crayola markers, a recent favorite of mine when I work on more quickly done drawings. I have a pack of 50 in my desk drawer at work if I ever want to draw there so you can tell which ones are done during my lunch break! I have been trying to ease off my anxiety of using my Copics on my more sketchy drawings because I do actually want to use them! I just always get gripped with "What if when I'm doing a more serious picture I run out of the color and then I'm stuck and I can't finish?!" Well let me tell you, that hasn't actually happened to me yet and if it does, I'm just going to buy a new one online and I'm going to have to wait for it. It's an irrational fear but one that I've always had!

I used only Copics with the drawing on the back of this page and I wanted to show you what the bleed looks like. It's bad enough that you can't actually use the back of the page! A pet peeve of mine is leaving empty pages in my sketchbooks, even if they're the back of pages I've already used. I think I've done better with that, lately.

All in all, my absolute favorite sketchbook so far has been the Strathmore Sketchbook. It's one that's been around or a while and it's been the one I most enjoy working in! Though I like seeing large drawings in this sketchbook, I'm learning to do smaller sketches so I can fit more on the page and also use the space around the smaller sketches as draft paper for colors and palettes I want to use, a skill I'm learning through watching artists like Fran and Victoria through their work. I hope you're enjoying these reviews! I feel like they're more like "In my experience..." posts, I hope that's ok ^^;

Art Supplies and Self Love

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I've been on a bit of an art supply obsession, lately. Not only did I find this really amazing art supple shop not too far from my work, but I get discount there for being a teacher. This is the art supply shop I've always wanted to be able to visit and just browse when I was younger. They have every medium you can imagine and the staff are very knowledgeable and helpful. It makes not wanting to get everything they have a challenge. I decided that since I have the privilege of having such a store near me I can start experimenting with some new mediums, one of which being watercolor. Now, I've used watercolor in my art before but it was more for background purposes and it was always like a side note with how I used it. I've bought some liquid watercolors upon Fran's suggestion with her videos and I've really liked them so far! I've also expanded my inking possibilities and expanded my color selection for it. I really would love to write more about this because it's something I've been doing for a long time but never gave notice to it. Copic multiliners have become a new favorite of mine and I'm currently waiting on a new set that I'm excited to add to my collection. It really is thanks to some wonderful artists that I've become inspired to continue my art journey and actually step out of my comfort zone. I'm very lucky to have found them.

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Lately I've been embracing my more "sparkle and fangirl" side and I've really liked it! I have this beautiful shirt from Kaiami that I wear around the apartment all the time but have never worn it outside because I was always worried I would look too big in it but lately I'm just like, whatever. i should wear whatever I want and not put so much emphasis on what people might think looks good or bad. My husband loves me for who I am, physically and mentally, so I should learn to love myself the same way. I've always felt very confident about who I am but tend to be more shy about the way I dress but I'm trying to change that. I even got some sparkly nails the other day, something I've wanted to do for a long time but always felt like it wasn't ~appropriate~. Poo on that! I love my sparkle nails and love looking at them! A good amount of self love has been happening this summer and it has been lovely. 

It has been really nice to be able to fully enjoy the Summer this year. Things are slowly falling into place and I'm hoping to be able to share the good news in the beginning of August on here! August is going to be a very exciting month <3 

I have been fine tuning my pencil case for the past couple of weeks and now that I actually use it more I feel like a lot of things inside of it better suit what I use most of the time. Outside of the pink and lilac pencils, of course, they are in a separate pencil pouch so they don't damage my other supplies. One of my biggest problems is that I use my pencil pouch so much on the go but when I use it at home it's a pain to sort everything out and have it all in front of me when I draw. I recently bought this pencil organizer on sale and have gotten into the habit of putting my every day essentials in there when i'm at home and packing it up when I'm out and about. It has been working so far! I would like to do an "Art Essentials" post soon but am thinking about possibly making it a video...? THINKING.

I am still drawing regularly and it's been really different than how it used to be. I have been looking back at some older sketchbooks and can't believe that stuff I used to consider doodles and silly sketches. Those are the ones I love seeing the most. My favorite thing lately is trying to use watercolor more in my sketches and note leaving a sketch unfinished even if I'm not 100% satisfied with it. This has been a bit of a challenge for me over the years because it's easy to give in to the "THIS SUCKS AUGH" mentality and trashing it and starting something new. I've made mistakes and continue to learn from them.

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I hope everyone is having a wonderful and relaxing Summer! 

Punctuate Designer Sketchbook Review

This is the second post for my Sketchbooks Review that I started in my last post and I'm only going to be covering one sketchbook this time! If this is something that people actually find useful I might start just reviewing sketchbooks one at a time? I personally found that best way to try out a sketchbook is just by using it for a few pages and seeing how you like it. This sketchbook is one of those I didn't expect to like as much as I do and never would have known if I didn't give it a try myself.

This is the Designer Sketchbook by Punctuate and you can find this sold in Barnes&Noble stores. What caught my eye about these sketchbooks are the covers. They have such lovely cover designs and the price ranges from $9.99 - $15.99 full price so the price is really good, too. It has perforated pages on the inside and that's always good for me because I hate having a really nice sketchbook where I have lots of work I'm proud of and then a random sketch where I'm like, "eww."

I used to buy sketchbooks with the intention of filling them up with different things. For example, I had a sketchbook purely for full colored pictures, one for just sketching and another for character designs. I found this worked out pretty well for me but nowadays I like combining everything into one sketchbook. This is a pretty large sketchbook which makes it great for full colored illustrations but not so much for sketching. I have found that pencil smudges a little more easily in here and can make pencil sketches daunting in here.

This is the only sketchbook I have truly used watercolor in and when I bought it, I did it with the intention of only using markers and watercolor. I used it as my main workspace for illustrations like these and I love it! It's large enough for me to experiment with and the colors don't bleed through multiple pages like in my other sketchbooks. The colors stay vibrant and working with mixed media in this sketchbook is a dream.

I brought this sketchbook to Spain with me when I lived there for 9 months. It contains many illustrations I'm proud of. I used my Moleskine sketchbook for pencil sketches but when I wanted to sit down and complete an illustration I would do it in this sketchbook. The colors have maintained over time and I'm very happy that I stuck with it. 

I wouldn't recommend this sketchbook for someone on the go unless you carry a full sized backpack with you at all times or love a large workspace wherever you go. When I was in school I carried a smaller sketchbook with me because I had a messenger bag that got heavy pretty quickly and could only carry what I needed. This sketchbook has a lot of pages and is very heavy, but if you don't mind the weight it gives you everything you need! If you're a bit old school, you might remember those sketchbooks from Borders book stores that were large and bound and just had the word "SKETCHBOOK" on the cover. If you do, this sketchbook is like those but with perforated edges. Those old Borders sketchbooks were the first sketchbooks I ever had and I loved them! I would fill them up with Sailor Moon fan characters and always carried it around with me. If you're looking for a nice mixed media sketchbook and prefer bound binding then I think you'll really enjoy this one!

Buy this sketchbook here!

A Little Chatter Wednesday

At the beginning of the month I wrote A Little Chatter Wednesday and here I am almost a month later writing another one. I guess I don't have any major news to share but I just renewed my subscription to Squarespace for the next year and I wanted to write on here! I had scheduled the second part of my sketchbook review to go up but I thought I would do a little catch-up instead. I'm not going to lie, June has been pretty chill, and I have been absolutely loving it. We finished up the end of the school year and it was also the end of my first school year at this school! I've enjoyed my time here a lot since I joined back in September. The people are lovely and the school is beautiful. I'm very blessed to have the job I have. I remember a year ago I was sitting in my apartment worried about the path I was going to take next after leaving my previous school. It truly is amazing how much difference a year makes. Summer days at the school have been lovely. I'm thankful for the stable air conditioning I get to experience <3 I'm learning new things and making time for my own work as well as the work I need to do. I feel the temptation to slip into the bliss of just doing nothing over the summer but I am fighting it! I've been divulging in trashy reality tv when I get home, making dinner, cleaning and walking the pup.

Speaking of the pup, he's doing well. Josh and I can't pin down if he likes the summer weather or despises it. Sometimes when we go outside he stands there for a minute and then turns right around and wants to go back inside. Sometimes he sprints out the door and rolls around in the grass and wants to go on a long walk. Sometimes halfway through the long walk he turns around and wants to go back home. Sometimes he just sits in the grass and looks lost. And sometimes he lays in the grass on a sunny spot and closes his eyes. I love seeing his reactions and am so tempted to sit next to him when he lays down but then I remember how many dogs we have in our development and think about how nasty the grass actually is and change my mind. He has a vet appointment this Friday and we love our vet. If you have a Banfield in your area and are debating whether to use them as your primary vet, I can't talk them up enough. Every time we go they throw a little party for him and shower him with love. I'm a proud mama.

I have been making time to catch up on my Fauxbonichi and journaling. Writing an entry a day has been proving to be challenging for me lately. It takes up a good amount of time and I've found myself wanting to draw more instead. This is a good thing!! I do love journaling but I've been making drawing more of a priority for myself lately. It helps having a lot of my supplies on the go with me so whenever I feel like doing one or the other I have anything I need right in front of me. 

One of the things I'm most proud of so far is my progress with my art. Not just in terms of skill but in terms of regularity. I feel like I've been clinging on to the fact that I draw and am an artist for the past couple of years, which has always made me very sad. I was not drawing more often than I was and that was a huge change for me. My teenage years were defined by my art and the amount of time and effort I put into my work. My early twenties have been eventful in terms of life events so my work kind of got pushed to the back of my mind. I feel like things are settling into a nice place for me and I'm getting back into my groove. I like experimenting and trying new things with both style and materials. I'm diving back into doing what I really love and it's a wonderful feeling.

I haven't seen this much change and definition in my style since I was 15. I stay in a place where I feel confident but also dive into unknown waters when I want to try new things. Because of that I feel like my style is actually evolving and not staying stagnant like I feel it has over the past few years. I'm finding inspiration in things I used to and I'm learning something new every day that I can use. I'm very happy ;-;

Overall, things have been pretty wonderful. We're waiting on a few things before announcing something pretty exciting. All our energy has been poured into that and so far so good! I hope you're all having a wonderful summer so far!

Moleskine vs. Leuchtturm1917 Review and Comparison

I’m an avid lover of sketchbooks. I love trying them out and seeing what I can do with them in terms of supplies I can use with them without destroying pages. I’ve been trying out different types of sketchbooks for years and I’ve always wanted to write about them, so I’m finally making some time to do that!

I was going to make this one big post including a few different types of sketchbooks I keep coming back to but there was too much material to put into one post, so I decided to focus on these notebooks for now. I have not tried out the Leuchtturm1917 Sketchbook, just the notebook. I’ve used both the sketchbook and notebook versions for Moleskine so they will be featured here as well! 

First off I want to talk about size. Both types of notebooks come in a variety of sizes but I was trying out using a more mobile notebook which I could take with me in my purse and take out whenever I wanted to draw. Pictured here is the paperback Large Moleskine notebook and the Medium Hardcover Leuchtturm notebook. The reason I use the notebook versions is because I like having more pages. The sketchbook versions, though they have sturdier and thicker pages, there are fewer of them. They both have the elastic band around them to keep them closed. I wish they still made the hardcover version of the extra large notebook for Moleskine because i love the sturdy feel of it, but I can’t find them anymore!

The quality of the pages for the notebooks are both pretty good, but I love the feel of the Leuchtturm more because it just feels more luxurious~ The pages are all numbered and it has two bookmarks in comparison to just the one for Moleskine notebooks. 

I wanted to make my Leuchtturm more of a ~colored~ sketchbook and create more complete pieces to try and get used to it. At first this worked out great because I was just using Prismacolor Colored Pencils. Though they worked pretty well, I did notice that it smudged a lot with the pen I usually use to ink that hasn't smudged before, which I found odd. I started using Copics and water based markers and the leakage to the other pages was just extreme. To be fair, it’s very hard to find any paper that won’t let Copics bleed through, but I learned the hard way that any pencil sketches on the other side of the pages would pretty much be ruined. I had to sketch very lightly on my pages because they would create marks on the pages underneath them which is something that I found the Moleskine pages don’t do as much. I started using the pencil board that I ordered with my Hobonichi and that helped.

I’ve been using a Moleskine notebook as my main sketchbook ever since I found Myrollingstar on Tumblr years ago and saw that’s what she used. I learned to sketch better with pens and actively use more tools with my sketches in this notebook. I’ve found that the paper holds up pretty well compared to the Leuchtturm notebook. Now, I’m using the extra-large notebook here but you can see the size is pretty similar to the Leuchtturm. I love having that extra space, but I wouldn’t call this a purse-friendly sketchbook. It’s not as large as 8.5x11 but it isn’t exactly a convenient size to carry around like the Leuchtturm. I’ve made my peace with this mostly because of how I feel when I sketch with it. I brought this sketchbook with me to work every day to try and squeeze in some sketching when I could and it is awesome for a work or school bag. I found that it doesn’t get lost as easily and it does feel very nice to sketch in.

Colors work really well with this notebook. I’ve used Copics and water based markers combined with watercolor and I’ve found some minimal bleeding. It’s definitely not as bad as it was with the Leuchtturm. I’m guilty of a lot of layering with color on my pages so I need something that can take a beating and my Moleskine definitely does that. I found that the pages in the Leuchtturm started to peel and come off when I applied a second layer or when I erased pencil marks while inking. In the end it wasn’t so much the size but the paper quality that got me to stick with the Moleskine notebook as a main sketchbook. I do occasionally use the Leuchtturm as a “pencil sketch only” sketchbook, but not as often anymore.

 

The Moleskine sketchbook, on the other hand, yielded some unexpected results with me. Though the pages are sturdier to draw on, they fall apart quite easily. They fall away from the binding and with two of my sketchbooks a lot of the pages are held in there by the elastic around the notebook. Also despite the thickness of the pages, the colors bled through quite a lot! I found that I had a lot of wasted pages in my Moleskine sketchbooks and I hated it! It already didn’t come with many pages and the colors were making it hard to get much of any pencil sketches. Drawing with Copics in it was nice and the colors came out very vibrant, which I loved, but the wasted pages just turned me off from it. 

 

Out of the three books I mentioned here, my favorite is definitely the Moleskine Notebook in Extra Large. I love the space, the paper quality and the feel of the notebook. I was very inspired to continue sketching in it and try out new things without worrying about destroying too many pages in the book. I actually have a brand new one sitting in my book shelf that I have waiting for me when I finish the one I’m currently on!

I hope this helped some of you in terms of figuring out which sketchbook is the right one for you! Though I love the Moleskine Notebook, it is not the sketchbook I reach for the most, lately. I look forward to covering that in a future entry!