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Tiger Lily (406)

Amy Creative Journey | Daily Drawing | Draw Along | Featured | Illustrated journal | Pen and Ink | Philosophical Threads | Podcast , , , , ,
Episode 406: Tiger Lily

Episode 406 of the CMP, a Creativity Matters Podcast — a mid-week, stolen 10 minutes, morning draw-along … a very small tiger lily

In this episode of the CMP, a short draw-along — 10 minutes. I was working in an illustrated journal and inked in a small tiger lily sketch I had penciled on a different day. This is a short show and a bit of an exhale. Drawing can be that for you, too. Just relax into it and realize that even in a few minutes, you can add some pencil or add some paint or add some ink. Art doesn’t have to be made and finished all in one setting!

I talk a bit about the Moleskine Art Sketchbook I’ve been using (throughout the 50 Before 50 year and now into this 51 year). Finding a sketchbook you love is always a quest and a journey for anyone who draws, keeps a journal or planner, does illustrated journaling, or likes to keep a catchall sketchbook of any sort. When I find a favorite, I do tend to stick with it for a while, and that’s the case with this one. We happened to have one on the shelf in June 2019 (probably from years and years earlier), and so I used it when I kicked off the 50 year. I didn’t realize it would become a hallmark of the year and a book I kept with me always. (The hard cover makes it really durable and easy to tote and toss around.) I’ve used Moleskine in the past, but this was the first time I had ever used this “Art Sketchbook” format (purple strip on the label/band), and it turned out to be perfect! The paper is not bright white (it has ivory /cream tones), but it takes fountain pen like a champ (no bleed), and it stands up easily to tons of pencil and erasing. Compared to other sketchbooks and drawing pads I had been working in, this paper is smooth and almost feels like there’s some surface coating. It definitely doesn’t have any tooth. In some ways, it reminds me more of working on a Bristol-type surface. It isn’t that thick, but there’s something similar in the smoothness. (This is a non-technical and personal assessment. You mind find it entirely different!) (Note: this paper is not for Copic markers.)

The book does come in a variety of sizes. The one I had was large — 8.25 x 11.75 — and I loved having that kind of space for weekly recording, personal documentation, and the kinds of multi-block spreads I do. The bigger pages offer a lot of flexibility.

Trying to cut corners, I looked at a few other options when I needed to buy my next one (and then the next one after that), but I was (and am) hesitant to order something else because I’m afraid the paper will be thinner or will bleed with fountain pen. The Moleskine Art Sketchbook is a bit expensive for me, but that the paper works so well for fountain pen (and the sketchbook lasts me several months) makes it a worthy tradeoff for me. Even so, I’ve linked some other options below though that you might consider.

Mentioned in this Episode (or Related)

  • Uni-Gel Alpha Shaker pencil (mine is listed as “slightly firm” – but it’s super cushy; they do come in other softness/hardness ratings. I really do love this shaker!)
  • Pentel Hi-Polymer Block Eraser, Large, White (these things disappear like socks; you can never have too many white erasers lying around)
  • Moleskine Art Sketchbook (8.25 x 11.75; 165 G/M², 111lb (per label) ; hard-cover – what I’m using for regular drawing – looks like it’s out of stock in black, but it does come in navy and red, for anyone looking. It also comes in several other sizes (including a tempting 3.5 x 5.5 pocket format). For the size I’m using, about $22-26 is typical when ordering through I filled two of these in the 50 Before 50 year, with a lot of recording and documentation inside.)
  • Other options: There are tons and tons of journals and sketchbooks to consider, and what you like and what works for you depends on the size you want and the type of materials you use. If you work heavily in pen and ink (fineliner or fountain pen), then you want to make sure you have minimal or zero bleed. Here are some of the ones I’ve noted but have not tried that might be similar or comparable, depending on your needs:
    • Minimalism Art (A4 Size 8.3 X 11.4 inches; 100gsm) – this is one I considered many times. It is only showing up in yellow now, but pre-pandemic, it was available in many colors (so I would hope/expect that will be true in the future)
    • Minimalism Art, (Large, Composition B5 7.6″ x 10″) – smaller version (gsm listed is higher)
    • Articka Note Hardcover Sketchbook (8 x 8 inch square; product info says: 190GSM/128lbs) – I’ve been a big fan of square format in the past, so this one has my attention; reviews of it look very good — and the stated gsm/lb is better than my Moleskine
    • Smaller version of the Moleskine Art Sketchbook (Hard Cover, Large (5″ x 8.25″))
    • Moleskine Cahier Journal (Soft Cover, XXL (8.5″ x 11″) Plain/Blank, Black, 120 Pages (Set of 3)) – much lightweight paper, but something to consider if you want large format for daily sketching
    • Travelogue Drawing Book (5-1/2 x 5-1/2 square) – Hand*Book; I have used this in the past and enjoyed it. I think that my current book has a different kind of coating/surface. But Hand*Book was always nice and thick. (I am not sure it would work the same for fountain pen, but it’s been years.)
    • Stillman & Birn Beta Series Softcover Sketchbook (8″ x 10″, 270 GSM (Extra Heavyweight)) — very few pages
    • Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Hardbound Sketchbook (A4 (8.25″ x 11.75″), 150 GSM)
    • Moleskine Art Cahier Sketch Album (Soft Cover, XXL (8.5″ x 11″); Kraft Brown) – not as heavy-duty in terms of pages, but a brown-paper option for sketching

Show Information:

A note about Trello: I’m feeling really productive with my reading and my “To Read” list this year using Trello. I use Trello for other things, including tracking my 50 Before 50 list, but I am finding new book lover’s peace this year with Trello boards set up to help me keep track of books I want to read, Kindle books I snag on a deal, books I hear about in groups or on other podcasts, and then the books I actually am reading or listening to. If you haven’t tried Trello, you should! (It’s free!)

Note: links provided to books, tools, and other resources on the Creativity Matters Podcast website may be affiliate links for which the podcast would make a (very) small amount of money if the item was purchased. The Creativity Matters Podcast is an affiliate. Links are provided for convenience to help you find/see/explore the books, tools, and resources I talk about. Using the library, when possible, is always my first recommendation for reviewing books firsthand.

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