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Taking Advantage Of What’s On Hand

01/06/2020

New year, new journal? For writers and artists, a journal is the perfect way to document the journey and keep track of ideas, explorations, adventures, and misadventures. With the huge number of choices, what to use tends to baffle me. For 2020, I have decided to use some unfinished notebooks from the past. Why put good paper to waste?

Two Traveler’s Notebooks were ignored last year and deserved better treatment. Time to put them to work especially the larger one that contains a Traveler’s Notebook (Refill 019) Free Diary made with MD Paper. Weekly calendar on the left with grid paper on the right is a week-at-a-glance format that should work very well for me.

My interest in brush pens has been renewed and the Exacompta Sketch Book that was my favorite in the past will now get its due. For watercolor exploration, a Stillman & Birn Beta will be fine while an Epsilon will be my all-purpose companion.

That’s my core group going into 2020.

Add to that five, two additional notebooks for specific uses. Should inspiration strike, a Paper for Fountain Pens bound journal will work for more serious writing. The other is a Strathmore Visual Journal for watercolor exploration. It contains paper that works quite well with Sennelier and similar honey-based paints producing brightly colored swatches. I will continue to look for a 140 lb., 100% cotton paper journal that won’t consume my entire annual paper budget. Perhaps 2020 will be the year for such a find.

Yes, that is a lot of journals but my interests are varied plus I have learned to keep subjects separated. Ink swatches have their own notebooks as do watercolor swatches. It would be confusing to have them mixed together.

A common characteristic is that all of my journals work well with fountain pen ink. The Uni-ball Signo 307 that writes so well over watercolor backgrounds will be another pen option. Luckily, all of the paper can handle a light layer of paint. It wasn’t a requirement, but it certainly is an advantage.

Seven journals won’t leave much need for any of the new products that 2020 will bring. But I promise to make room for whatever comes my way.

Which journal are you going to use this year? Do you keep just one or does it take several to meet your needs?

Shopping links from which Inkophile may earn a small commission should you click through and make a purchase:

Traveler’s Notebook Weekly Diary

Kuretake Brush Pen (Comes with cartridges but will need a Platinum converter to use fountain pen ink.)

Stillman & Birn Beta and Epsilon Sketchbooks

Strathmore Visual Watercolor Journal 140#

Uni-ball Signo 307

Lock charm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pen Stuff And Giggles

12/23/2019

Babies are always cute but some have a brightness and charm that is engaging beyond the usual. Nash is one of them. The pen links aren’t bad either.

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Bee Paper Can Be Quirky

12/16/2019

For those of you who play with watercolors, note that Bee Paper can have an issue that is frustrating. My former recommendation now comes with a caveat.

On the plus side, Bee is 100% cotton and 140 lb/300gsm just like any good quality watercolor paper. Cotton brings out the full range and depth of color that paint has to offer and the 140 lb. weight will reduce warping. That’s all to the good.

The best paper will cost more than student grade or pulp content paper, but to be sure, the investment is worth it. Cost-wise, Bee is at the low end for cotton paper. For swatches, brush practice or color exploration, it is perfectly fine. Just don’t be surprised if the paint does not perform as it should.

My issue with Bee paper is how it accepts the paint. Sizing prevents watercolor paper from absorbing too much fluid. Instead, the color remains on top of the surface where it pools, puddles and mingles with its neighbors in intriguing ways. Sizing is an essential component of good paper. When inadequately or improperly applied, paint blotches and flows in ugly, spidery lines like the worst feathering you ever saw from fountain pen ink and then some.

To demonstrate Bee Paper’s quirky behavior, the edge shows an irregular border that should have been smooth and even, just as the paint appears elsewhere.

The back of the paper reveals that paint soaked through. We may tolerate that with fountain pen ink, but it should not happen with watercolor paper especially when the paint is lightly applied. In the center of the same sheet, there is a 6mm by 3mm spot that did not take paint normally and bled through to the back of the paper. All of the problems would have been eliminated by a more consistent application of sizing.

Not every sheet has this issue but who wants to get well into a painting only to find the paper is flawed and the effort ruined. Note that Bee is fine for practice and experimentation, especially with new brushes and paints. My stock won’t go to waste. It will have its uses and eventually get replaced.

In the future, I will stick with Arches and Fabriano Artistico. They are readily available in the U.S. and never disappoint. A number of other companies offer 100% cotton paper and are worthy of consideration as well. Putting aside one brand is no great loss when there is such a variety of others from which to choose. 

Two Trees on Bee Paper

Brush practice with watercolors on Bee Paper scraps. Blue tree is 8.2 x 11cm. Autumn tree is 6.8 x 11.4cm.

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Sunday Reads: Pen And Ink Links

12/15/2019

Just a few for you…

‘Tis the season…

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Herbin 1798 Shimmery Inks Meet A Dip Pen

11/27/2019

Dip pens caught my fancy recently and J. Herbin’s 1798 inks have been just the thing to add some sparkle to my efforts. The current colors in the series are Cornaline, Amethyste, and Kyanite and they look beautiful alone as well as together. As a longtime fan of Herbin as well as anything silver, I was very happy to see this group of inks introduced.

My Fellowship dip nib has a fountain pen feed that holds a significant load of ink, enough to fill a page, and with a quick swish of water, it’s ready for another color of ink. The pen produced lively passages by switching between the turquoise, coral, and amethyst colors on a per word or line basis.

Next, I tried a small, synthetic watercolor brush to create softly edged doodles, swatches, and swirls without feathering or bleed-through. Not my usual approach, but it did provide a sufficient test of ink characteristics.

Swirling the bottles before each dip kept the shimmery bits in suspension. If they settle in your fountain pen, a gentle motion will redistribute them. Note that they appeared more well-distributed on the page than particles from some of the other sparkly inks I have tried.

The colors are among my favorites and I would be happy to see them in a non-shimmer version, suitable for mundane tasks and business use. These are not super-saturated but deeply colored and very easy to read. It isn’t even necessary to tilt the paper to see the silver glints.

Kyanite du Népal falls in the turquoise range and with its flecks of silver, brings to mind jewelry or a fountain pen with silver-colored trim.

Orange ink can be shy but not Cornaline d’Egypte.

Améthyste de l’Oural is a deep, mid-range purple. The silver flecks stand out well making it the most dramatic ink of the three.

All three inks performed admirably on Clairefontaine paper demonstrating good flow and lubrication. If you like fat pens, the bottles have wide openings to accommodate the larger ones in your collection.

Herbin 1798 Ink would make a lovely holiday gift for the inkophile on your list.

There are lots of reviews and dozens of images at other sites in case you are not yet convinced to add a bottle to your collection. However, be forewarned. Resistance is futile.

Ed Jelley: J Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal Ink Review

Pen Chalet: J Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal Ink Review

The Gentleman Stationer: Ink Review: J Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal

Doodlewash: REVIEW: Jacques Herbin Kyanite du Népal Ink by Life Imitates Doodles

The Well-Appointed Desk: Eye Candy: Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Nepal by Ana

Chris Saenz: Herbin Kyanite du Nepal – Ink Profile – Viewer’s Choice

Pen Boutique: J Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal Ink

Goldspot Pens: Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal Fountain Pen Ink Unboxing and Review

Ink courtesy of Exaclair USA.

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An Autumn Ink Palette Inspired By Van Gogh

11/04/2019

My favorite season has returned though where I live, you wouldn’t know it was autumn. One way to compensate for that deficiency is to let my ink and pen selection represent the color variety that the local flora does not. Could my current maximum rotation of five pens do the season justice? After extensive perusing of ink swatches, I was not satisfied with any combination and put aside the project for another day.

Then I noticed a book of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings, a gift from family earlier this year. Why not consult a master? Eventually, I settled on his painting, Rocks with Oak Tree, and found a few inks in my collection that approximate the colors.

  • Herbin Ambre de Birmaine
  • Iroshizuku yu-yake
  • Iroshizuku ina-ho
  • Herbin Lie de Thé
  • Noodler’s Dostoyevsky
  • Waterman Florida Blue

The two pens already on my desk were filled with Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu and Diamine Violet so adding six more would be too many. Three inks were returned to the shelf, leaving a manageable number.

This group will do nicely for visual variety and writing pleasure.

  • Iroshizuku yu-yake
  • Herbin Lie de Thé
  • Noodler’s Dostoyevsky
  • Diamine Violet
  • Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu

 

These inks may not reflect the season so much as Van Gogh’s color choices, but that’s fine since they will provide sufficient variety to meet my current writing needs. As the holidays approach, yu-yake and Violet will be replaced by Diamine Emerald and a bright burgundy to carry me into the new year. At least that is the current plan. I am quite fickle when it comes to ink, so don’t hold me to it. I am after all an inkophile. Aren’t you?

These items are available at Amazon.com. For qualified purchases, Inkophile receives a small commission at no additional cost to you.

 

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It’s Fountain Pen Day!

11/01/2019

Fountain Pen Day is a time for celebration, but also a time to appreciate my collection. Four years on, these pens remain favorites. Perhaps I am not as fickle as I thought. Do you have pens that remain in use despite acquiring new ones? Which are your favorites?

 

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