14 June 2016

a new "minimal kit"

For those rare times when I don't carry a larger sketch journal with me, there's a new mini-kit in my purse or pocket: a mini fountain pen and plain memo book. Actually, there is also a small waterbrush and tiny plastic container of white gouache in the bag, but you get the idea.

After seeing a few sketchers on Facebook doing ink drawings on brightly colored paper (Larry Marshall and Kate Powell come to mind), I thought I'd play along. These are from an American-based company that offers their answer to the Moleskine: Field Notes. This collection is named 'Sweet Tooth', being candy-colored. My favorite candy is chocolate, not SweetTarts, but the colors do make sketching fun. Another option is the 'Bright Idea' from Bright Ideas, a Coptic-stitched journal in rainbow colors.

I tested several fountain pens, a pencil, a white gel pen, and some watercolor and gouache on the first page. Nothing bleeds through to the other side of the page -- the paper is more like card stock. It can handle a bit of watercolor but I kept it on the dry side. The paper seemed to break down a bit on the cover's corner where I painted the tea mug. 

I think I'll stick to ink sketches and scribbles in these books, plus a random note or quote here and there. I began with the yellow to test bleed-through, but am looking forward to using the blue and red books. White gel pen doesn't show much on yellow (and the day's brightness seems to have washed out the yellow in places as I took the photos). I like the look of black and white ink on colored paper, using the paper's color as a mid-tone amidst the dark and light.

Or here is today's quick drawing using blue ink and a waterbrush as we waited in line for an annual vehicle inspection.


  1. Hello Vicki, I have been loving your blog for quite a while. My soul aches to get into nature journaling. I think I am getting over my emotional/perfectionist hump and am ready to dive in. Thank you so much for liking my blog! How exciting it is to get to know other creative people on the web. Keep sketching and inspiring us to do the same!

  2. What lovely, encouraging words --- thank you, Fay! That perfection-bug can be quite nasty at times but I'm learning to kick him out of my head. Still, I sometimes still put off starting sketches planned in my head in fear of not getting it "right".

    Just this past Monday my husband and I arrived too early in meeting friends at church, so I start a sketch from a photo on my iPad. I didn't have a pencil with me so I grabbed a pen to lightly place everything in preparation for watercolor. . . . . Darn! The pen was black water-soluble ink and adding watercolor totally ruined what had begun as a wonderful view of the Pacific coastline! Oh well, I can just turn the page for a new beginning.


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