Archive for the ‘Doodles & Journals’ Category

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Journals For An Inkophile

11/22/2022

Recently, Elena asked me about Traveler’s Notebooks and I realized to what extent they have taken over my journal writing. I am on my sixth undated planner (#019), third personal journal (#013) and third collage journal (#003). Also used, if a bit less often, are notebooks for lists and swatches. On occasion, a passport sized notebook hitches a ride in my handbag for notes at events and appointments.

I made the move to Traveler’s when it was Midori and after Moleskine paper failed to meet my standards. I like the customizable format and the variety of handcrafted soft covers that can be found at eBay and Etsy.

I am not in a rut, but am very content to use these with the fude fountain pens, mechanical pencil and gel pen that are always at hand.

None of my current covers are from Traveler’s though I might elect to add one in leather next year. Most of my writing is at my desk so a lightweight cover or even none at all is very workable.

My A5 and A6 notebooks are very jealous of the attention the Traveler’s Notebooks receive though they do get the call to action when removeable paper is needed. At least there is that for the poor things.

What is your favorite notebook? Hobonichi is the one for many writers. Is it yours?

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Which Ink Would You Suggest?

11/07/2022

Some time ago, I purchased a Majohn (Moonman) S5 Eyedropper fountain pen. The EF nib would not loosen so I could not install one of the alternate nibs that came with the pen. As a resident of the pen drawer it passed from memory. Rupertarzeian reminded me of the S5 in a recent post. Yesterday, I gave it another try and with a bit more muscle, the nib came loose and what appears to be a right or reverse oblique got installed. Well, sort of. The nib and feed will not align correctly so I am skeptical but a proper test it shall have.

Now for the really hard part. What ink would be best for a pen that will hold enough of it to last months. Red, yellow and orange are not colors I would use page after page but that leaves half a rainbow of other options. What ink would you suggest? Well-behaved is the only essential characteristic though shading would be a nice touch. The transparent barrel will show off the color so that is to be considered, too. Which ink would you put in the S5?

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Esterbrook Fountain Pens and Journaling

10/27/2022

The esterbrook_official account on Instagram has posted some videos of fountain pens used in journals that have been embellished with ephemera. Also known as scrapbooking, this method of decorating a journal employs colors and shapes to make appealing designs using stickers, stamps and seals.

Fountain pen writing is not required when creating a layout. Here are two of mine that didn’t need words.

Although I used a Traveler’s Notebook, any journal will do including those that did not take well to fountain pen ink. You don’t have notebooks with less than stellar paper do you? Ha!

For years my planner has been divided into sections defined by washi tape and often stickers. Full-page layouts are a natural extension of that and are very satisfying to make. If there is interest, I will write a post about a few techniques, tools and products.

Very highly recommended activity if you need/want/crave another hobby.

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An Easy Way To Decorate A Journal

08/05/2022

This technique could be accomplished with all sorts of themes. I am partial to eucalyptus leaves as well as palm fronds both of which would work well. The stickers look like they were made with washi paper. It’s delicate but the colors are slightly muted and could easily be matched to fountain pen ink.

On Amazon, I found a camellia and an azalea made by the same company as the washi in the video, plus a set of  black, white, and gold stickers that looks promising.

Have you ever done something like this? How did it turn out?

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Finding Stickers That Work With Fountain Pens

07/08/2022

From a search for new ways to decorate journal pages, paper washi stickers are proving to be a very good option. Mine work with fountain pen ink although they can take a minute or two to dry. PVC stickers are plastic and repel ink so read listings to be sure you are buying the paper kind. The package I purchased contains paper as well as plastic stickers, the latter of which are waterproof and attractive for decorating journal covers amongst other uses.

The Traveler’s Journal in the photo has a 4mm grid for size reference. I have two additional packages on order, eucalyptus leaves and vintage flowers, for their small dimensions and subject matters. Combining them with my new rubber stamps ought to make my journals and notebooks colorful and lively, just the thing for summer.

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Something New In My Arsenal

07/06/2022

Sometimes my journal pages need a little flair, but not a time consuming one. So I purchased a few stamps to embellish my writings. Nothing fancy but they certainly are quick to use. With the aid of a blotter, I can close my journal immediately which is handy when I want to keep things private. Colored ink will make them lively and eye-catching not that any eyes ought to be perusing my journal. However, the planner on my desk is an open book, just ripe for some additional adornments and admiration. Dang, this could get addictive!

 

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Be Bold And Decorate Your Journal Pages

03/03/2022

From time to time, the subject of decorating journal pages with washi tape, stamps and watercolor doodles has come up. There are tons of watercolor sets from which to choose, but frankly many come with weak colors and cheap brushes. You deserve better. So after much research, a few sets have emerged that are better than the inexpensive sets that are marketed for children. The cost is a little higher, but worth the investment.

In the world of watercolor, there are three tools: paper, brushes and paint. For those who have a serious interest in learning to use watercolors, professional level tools are the way to go even as a beginner. For those who only have interest in decorating journal pages, correspondence, and making small paintings that will never get hung, saturated colors and decent brushes will do. They will also cost less than professional level products.

Mixing colors to create new ones is a fascinating aspect of painting, but especially in the beginning, it is easier to use paint straight. To do that, a wide selection of colors is needed. After significant research, a few sets emerged as worthy of mention though brands like Daniel Smith, Winsor and Newton, Schmincke, Sennelier, QoR, Mission Gold, DaVinci, and M. Graham always deliver high quality. Just like ink, the characteristics are different, but the paint is consistently excellent.

There are tons of cheap, student paint sets that I would not recommend. However, I discovered two sets that cost $20-25 and have enough color variety to keep anyone happy for quite some time. There is a video for an Artistro kit that applies to any set so start there. The company is a small, family owned enterprise that has put together an aesthetic kit containing all of the basic tools.

MeiLiang is the second set that offers good quality at the price point. It is the student grade set from Paul Rubens, a watercolor supplier that some artists recommend. I have no experience with the company, but there have been lots of good reviews. This kit only comes with a water brush so you might want to purchase a synthetic brush for more versatility.

Note that quality brushes can be purchased for less than $20 and I do recommend buying the best that you can manage even if it is only one brush. Especially for doodling in a journal, a single brush is all that is needed. More would be great, but one will do. A size #8 is the most commonly recommended, but a #6 will work well in a typical book-sized journal. A #2 is tiny and will produce thin lines and fine details.

Go for a short handle. Brushes come in a wide variety of synthetic and several natural hair bristles. Synthetics have improved so much in the last decade that recommending them is easy. Some are quite soft, but a firmer brush is a little easier to control. Be gentle with the tip of the brush and it will last a long time. Angle the brush to the side rather than loading paint from the tip and rinse well in lukewarm water before storing. Place a brush on its side to dry to prevent water seeping under the metal and loosening the glue that holds the bristles in place. Once dry a brush can be stored at any angle. Put a drop of water on each pan of paint or lightly spray with water to soften and to encourage the most saturated color. Well cared for brushes can last decades. Abused ones may only last months.

A travel brushs come with a cap that protects the bristles. It costs a little more, but can be just the thing for someone who likes to go out and about with a journal. This type of brush is by no means necessary but it is an option to consider.

Just as there is fountain pen friendly paper, there is paper that will work well for doodling with watercolors. Buckling is the biggest problem and can be minimized by limiting the amount of water on the brush. Tapping or holding the side of the bristles against a piece of scrap paper or a paper towel will remove some of the fluid. In my experience, paper that works well with ink will often work fine with small amounts of watercolor.

Below are some recommendations for watercolor sets and synthetic brushes with links to Amazon. The first two watercolor sets are hard to find elsewhere, but for journaling they have all the paint you will need. The recommended brushes might be available at your local art store. Just don’t buy into the idea that you have to “mix your own colors” rule. It isn’t a rule and isn’t necessary unless you are serious about becoming a watercolorist. Otherwise, just grab some paint, a brush, a cup of water, and have fun in your journal.

Being creative is a great defense against the turmoil of the outside world and unless you flash your journal for all to see, this activity can be just between us. And I promise to keep your secret.

Watercolor Sets

  1. Artistro
  2. MeiLiang
  3. Sennelier
  4. Paul Rubens
  5. White Nights

Brushes

  1. Princeton Aqua Elite, Series 4850, Synthetic Kolinsky Watercolor Paint Brush,Travel Round, 8
  2. Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750, Synthetic Squirrel Watercolor Paint Brush, Travel Round, Size 6
  3. Princeton Aqua Elite, Series 4850, Synthetic Kolinsky Watercolor Paint Brush,Round, 6
  4. Princeton Aqua Elite, Series 4850, Synthetic Kolinsky Watercolor Paint Brush,Round, 8
  5. Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750, Synthetic Squirrel Watercolor Paint Brush, Round, Size 8
  6. Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750, Synthetic Squirrel Watercolor Paint Brush, Round, Size 6
  7. Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750, Synthetic Squirrel Watercolor Paint Brush, Round, Size 2

Lastly, I have watercolor sets from Schmincke, Rembrandt, and White Nights to sell. Send an email to inkophile@gmail.com if you are interested.

Washi tape

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