Episode 449 of the CMP, a Creativity Matters Podcast — a moment of unwanted “feather” and thoughts on being stuck in our ways with our tools…. or finding the just-right match for us, two sides of the same coin.
This episode hinges on trying a new sketchbook, something I completely didn’t plan to do because I’ve been so happy in my Moleskine Art Sketchook for the last two years. But I ended up trying something that “on paper” (e.g., the specs) sounded like it would be a great alternative and comparable to what I was using.
I knew it was a risk. But I thought maybe I’d stumbled over my next-favorite sketchbook, one that would be a good switch and have white paper. Unfortunately, it was similar to writing on a paper towel.
If I wasn’t using fountain pen ink (and lots of it) for my illustrated journal spreads and #illustrateyourweek, it probably would have been a great sketchbook. It was bright white, had sturdy paper, and offered a nice 8×8 or 10×10 size.
But with fountain pen ink as my main thing, whatever sketchbook I use has to take fountain pen ink well.
In this show, I talk through some of the issues with being complacent and content and not venturing out to try new things and, on the flip side, the reasons why we sometimes stay put.
A4 vs A3
There is some talk in this show of me thinking about the A3 vs the A4. I apparently was seriously confused in thinking A3 was “legal” size. After recording this show and thinking about the sketchbook that didn’t work and the confirmation it provided that “my” paper may be the “best” paper for the way I work with fountain pens, I decided that, really, now was the time to try the A3. I am ready to start my “next” book, which loosely coincides with the start of this new year, (though we are now on week 3).
So I ordered the A3.
When the box arrived, I thought it seemed unreasonably large. (Note: I had discovered that if I could cope with the navy cover instead of black, the A3 could be had for only a few dollars more than the A4. It was a really good option.)
I thought the box was large, but packaging and shipping waste is fairly common.
When I pulled the sketchbook out, I was floored. It is massive.
It is so much bigger than I thought it would be, laughably so. I’m not sure I could hold it and work on it. I am positive I couldn’t work on it in the car. (That might actually be the final straw, really, that makes me not try it.)
I haven’t taken it out of the plastic even because I think it probably is a really bad idea. I’ve recorded a quick video so you all can see it. That will go up in the next day or so.
It’s frustrating because I do need to start a new book. I do have one of my tried-and-true books. But I need to decide for sure about the A3 first. Whatever I start will be what I use for the next 3-6 months!
Facts (that I’ve looked up now to help explain my confusion)
- I was using A4
- I thought A3 sounded like legal paper size (which I’ve used in office settings and for a newsletter I produced when I was an undergraduate)
- I don’t convert to A-paper sizes easily – these aren’t just things I “know”
- I had looked at the measurements for the A4 sketchbook, but I thought it was legal, so I just thought I knew what those measurements were in relation to my current book
- I thought the “next size up” was a small jump
- I also don’t do the metric system
- And, I still cling to Pluto as a planet
- A4 paper is: 8.5 x 11 inches
- Legal paper is: 8.5 x 14.0 inches
- A3 paper is: 11.7 x 16.5 inches
And now I see how really wrong I was. Yes, “legal paper” size might be exactly what I was hoping to find in a slightly larger sketchbook. A3 is another beast altogether.
You think I’m kidding, but it’s almost as big as the foldup table I’m using! It’s too big to fit in my video screen (because I have to keep the camera positioned so it isn’t a larger area than the small table).
What a strange thing.
Sometimes, when you know what works, you should just stick with it.
(But Episode 449 isn’t even about the A3, it’s about trying another sketchbook that bled and feathered and really threw my thinking about my creative “needs” into a tailspin.)
A quick review of Imaginaries by Emily Winfield Martin. This is a charming and whimsical, and slightly magical, book of illustrations, each accompanied by a slip of text that helps give you context. I see the book as an invitation to create your own stories around these images, a wonderful activity to do with children.
The artist also has books like: Snow and Rose, Oddfellow’s Orphanage, Dream Animals, Day Dreamers, and the Littlest Family’s Big Day. (Note: Some of these are board books, so be sure to look at descriptions carefully – or check your library.)
The Tomoe River Mention
It is true. Reports are that Tomoe River (in the way you may know it) is going away. Many people are stocking up on their favorite Tomoe River blanks. One that is very popular is the Endless Recorder journal. I haven’t used it, but if you are a fan of Tomoe River paper, you might be interested.
Note: If you have not used Tomoe River paper, then disregard this conversation. It is a thin paper but incredibly durable. Writing does ghost, but doesn’t bleed through. It is not paper I would use for my illustrated journaling (although I have done that in my Hobonichi Techo before). It is, instead, a favorite paper by many for writing. Fountain pen ink just glides on it.
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Six Books that Played a Pivotal Role in the Last 15 Years
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New to the CMP? Here are a few shows you might try:
- Summer Series (445)
- When You Want to Quit (440)
- Panning for Gold (290)
- Red Sun (257)
- Here (319)
- Find a Penny (298)
- Teapots in a Tree (383)
- Slice of Life Contour (356)
- Olive Jars (436)
- Love What You Do (244)
- Illustrated Journal (367)
- The Moments within the Moments (197)
- Scroll Your Feed (362)
- View all podcasts
Listen to Episode 449
(This episode is available in many of your favorite podcast players.)
- Moleskine Art Sketchbook (what I’m using for regular drawing and my illustrated journal)
- Moleskine Art Sketchbook — the REALLY big one — A3 (11.75″ x 16.5″)
- Preppy Fountains Pen 02 – this is one of the best starter/inexpensive fountain pens you can buy!
- Preppy Fountain Pens 03 (multi set)
- Lamy Safari – always a good choice
- TWSBI Eco – my favorite fountain pen in the starter range (although I love my TWSBI Iris Vac even more)
- Dip Pen holder I’ve been using (with maru nibs)
- PILOT Iroshizuku Bottled Fountain Pen Ink (multiple color options)
- Diamine Fountain Pen Ink (multiple)
- Noodler’s Fountain Pen Ink (multiple)
- Monteverde Fountain Pen Ink (multiple)
- Colorverse Fountain Pen Ink (multiple)
- Platinum Carbon Black ink (what’s in my fountain pen)
- Sktchy app for inspiration photos
- Micron 08 (larger nib good for thicker lines or filling in small-medium spaces)
- Micron 01 (favorite for drawing)
- Micron Sampler
- Notes on large format sketchbooks
- ROYGBIV supplies: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet
- 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)
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