Back in 2012 I offered a semi-review or a first look at the Canson Art Book One as a budget friendly offering for art journalers. The Canson Art Book Universal (CABU) is in the same series of sketchbooks but with a few differences. I won’t focus on the differences but what makes the CABU so great. I have the A5 or 5.5×8.5 inch size. The basic rundown of the CABU is that it has 224 pages of 96gsm (65lb) white paper. It is acid free, has no brighteners, and states it won’t yellow with age. The paper is smooth to the touch but has a nice tooth for pencils. The sketchbook has a classic pebbled faux leather grain coating over sturdy heavy boards. The corners of the cover are rounded but the book block is squared. The binding is a traditional Smythe stitch with heavyweight neutral grey end sheets. The back of the book has a nice roomy pocket and sports an elastic that was loose when I opened the package and has only gotten worse as the book has gotten older. I finally ripped the elastic off. Useless.Let’s talk about this paper, it’s lovely. The tooth is just right for sketching with pencils. The graphite glides over the surface. Though it is toothy it doesn’t grind the points down to a stump in moments rather, just the right amount is deposited no the paper and the points last well. Pencil feels amazing on this paper. It looks awesome too. The graphite seems to pop off the page, but shades well.
Fountain pens also fair well. Though there is a nice tooth to the page, it is very smooth when using a fountain pen. All mine felt great on the surface. My EF Eco was a tad bit scratchy but that pen is always a tad bit scratchy. All the inks that should exhibit sheen or glitter did, and whoa did they! Not one bled through either. Brush pens fair in much the same way- the ink looks great, the ink doesn’t bleed through.
One of my favorite ways of using the CABU is for mixed media and watercolors. The paper is great for collage and though it cockles a bit it is great for watercolor washes. IN fact I really have slopped some watercolor in this book and it never soaks through. The colors sits on top of the paper similar to the way they react on hot press. Lifting colors, so long as you aren’t using a color that stains, actually works. Softening hard edges works nicely. This has become my go to for portraiture practice. The paper is really just lovely.As it is a sketchbook it is only available in blanks pages. If you want to use this for writing, you can download one of Ana’s writing guides, over here.
I’ve been carrying the same Field Notes Shelterwood in my back pocket since April 15th. I posted my first stress tests on April 27th. My initial results showed wear and tear that was not much different from any other Field Notes carried in a back pocket. The results after almost a month aren’t much different. Generally speaking I don’t carry a Field Notes for longer than 20 days, so I’m now 5 days past my general carry length. Honestly, I can’t say that the wear and tear, even after 25 days, would suggest that these notebooks are anything but sturdy. Yes, there are some chips and splinters at the spine, but when compared to other Field Notes the wear is decidely similar.
Though I have reached the limit of how long I carry a Field Notes, I’m going to carry the Shelterwood longer and see how it fairs. Gardening season is here, so be prepared for dirt and grime.
Here are some images of the spine, the cracks, chips, and wear on corners. You can also see the transfer of indigo from my jeans to the cover.
I picked up this sketchbook on sale at Artist & Craftman. It was super affordable, more so than usual. It usually runs in the $10 to $15 range. The 8.5×11 inch sketchbook feels weighty in hand and looks nice. The green color is a soothing soft mossy green they call "Fern." I’m annoyed that the 25% more FREE stick is stuck to the cover and doesn’t peel off easily. I’ll be hacking at it with a knife to get it off. After opening up the package I notice it’s Smythe Sewn like a moleskine so it will open flat and flatter the more I use it. The binding is nice and flexible but the wrap around cover on the spine is less so.
The paper is bright white, thick and sturdy feeling, 75lb/110gsm. There are 300 pages or 150 sheets. It has a soft texture and is nice with pencils. Wider nibbed pens glide over it’s surface but narrow nibs sink into it’s surface a little. The paper is absorbent with ink and watercolor. I didn’t notice any feathering with ink but most pens looked to be about a size larger than on other paper. I noticed some ink soaking through as I sketched and wrote. Nothing major since I didn’t plan on using both sides of the paper anyway. This isn’t a deal breaker if you use dry media like pencil or charcoal. The fact that the paper soaks ink up like a paper towel is annoying, and if I were using expensive ink, would annoy me.
The cover is thick cardstock with a glossy finish. It scuffs easily, but I don’t mind that. If you are the sort who would like to decorate your art journal you’ll need to sand the surface to get gesso to stick. I managed to pop the glue that holds the back cover to the block off. Rather annoying but it also let me see the spine and that it’s glued sturdily and will survive a lot of abuse. This also makes me think I could cover this journal with little work
Overall my verdict on this is that this sketchbook is a great value. The paper isn’t optimum for ink but it’s thick and sturdy enough to withstand pretty much anything an art journaler can throw at it. The paper has a nice surface for a variety of media. While pen does soak through in some spots it looks fantastic on this paper. I’d buy it again.
About a week ago my coworker gave me some large sheets of cardboard. I often use them at work for making posters. Sometimes I take the sheets home and draw and sketch on them. This time I chopped them into 8×11 sized sheets and decided to make a book. I’ve wanted to practice some of the structures from Keith A. Smith’s book “Smith’s Sewing Single Sheets” for awhile. This is the second book I’ve made from this book, and once I figured out the structure and the stitching it’s about as difficult as any 2 needle Coptic stitch.
There are some areas where I need to work on my stitching but over all this is definitely a book structure I will make again.
For the cover I managed to find some honeycomb corrugated cardboard, I sanded the images off and then applied several layers of gesso to build texture. I then rubbed in some black gesso, several layers of asphaltum colored Golden glaze and then added a little unbleached titanium. I finished it off by added a heavy layer of satin varnish and then buffed that with bee’s wax. The pictures do not do this justice. There is a lot more depth to the color than shows in these pics.
Each of the leaves has 2 layers of gesso on one side.
I’ll be honest; I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this book. The little issues with the stitching mean that I can’t (won’t) sell it but I think it’s such a cool structure that I want to do something with it. Part of making this was to make it prove to myself that I could do it.
I followed a link to an art journaling blog where I saw yet another female artist in a tutu. Afterward I tweeted the statement, “To be a mixed media artist do you need to wear a tutu? Or even like them? NO!”
To be blunt, I don’t get tutus. They are made out of plastic scratchy material, the same stuff the exfoliating bath poofs are made of and I can’t imagine they are comfortable.
I’m not saying I’m down on it, I just don’t get it.
What I wear doesn’t define me as an artist. My clothing isn’t a statement. I’d rather my art make the statement. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind woman; I like cotton, wool and other natural materials. I look for comfort while I create. I don’t need something outward to help me find my inner creativity. I know that some people enjoy costumes*and perhaps that is what the tutu is about. Using costume to find that inner well of creativity, capturing lost childhood insight, or perhaps these ladies really enjoy wearing a tutu. It is not my place to yuck your yum, but I can say that I don’t get it
I also have to wonder, other than Salvador Dali, would you see a male artist wearing something like a tutu? In part I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the idea that female artists have to dress up and play a part to sell their art. Peddle their wares like a carnie, “Win your lady a stuffed teddy bear here!” “Strong man competition, ring the bell, win a prize.” “Hooooot sausage and peppers, fried dough, cold lemonade”
Tutus and tiaras, 2 things you’ll never catch me wearing.
Part of what I want to add to this blog is a series of reviews. I’d like to review journals, products, books and other items one might use in journaling; both art and written.
I’m developing a format for reviewing journals and products associated with journaling. Obviously journals will have their paper reviewed in terms of suitability for wet/dry media as well as how that paper holds up to the abuse of mixed media. I think that a good art journal needs to also have pages that can be written on with a variety of tools- sharpies, fountain pens, pencils and other markers. I’ll address such things as strike through, bleed through and warping. Obviously this sort of journal review will be vastly different from how paper reviews are done on blogs that focus solely on one aspect of journaling. I have passed over paper that people adore on other sites and adored paper that some people despise.
So I invite people to contact me if they’d like to have their journals and sketchbooks reviewed. Each review will be linked to the seller’s site with plenty of contact info.
I’ve got a ton of products that I used and, sadly some I don’t use. I’m going to reach into my tool kit and evaluate some of these products. The perspective will be that of a mixed media artist. Can I layer the product? Does it stand up to uses the manufacturer suggests and doesn’t suggest? Is it useful? Is the price acceptable or outrageous?
I’ve got a deep bookcase and I’m going to pull some of the stuff off the shelf, not just new books but older books and review them. I’ve been doing this in part for the zine, but I’ve focused on new books. I want to help people build up a book shelf of their own with books that are really useful resources for art journalers.
The reviews will start in January/ February and I’ll be hopefully be able to do one each week.
My hope is to make this blog more of a resource than it already is.
Anyone who is interested in having their product reviewed can email me: leslie(dot)herger(at)gmail(dot)com
I've been working on my travel journal for my upcoming (no fun) trip to Maine. I'll be up there for almost 2 weeks. I don't usually take my acrylic paints with me and I know that I'm not going to have the time I often have to work on the pages with watercolors. I like to work on colored pages so I've gone through and I've collaged into the journal random images from Mother Earth News, Wine Enthusiast and some collage papers. I've gesso'd the pages then used thin acrylics to color each page. After that Iused watered down acrylics in 3 colors to tone down and grunge up the pages. I'll be doing a whole video on that soon.
Anyway, here are the videos!
When I finish filling this journal I'll be doing an art journal flip video. I may try to do some process videos too. I'll have my cameras with me when I'm traveling, so we'll see.
My fingers aren't working well so I'll probably edit this in the afternoon, so bear with me for the day…
First off head over to my online buddy's site The Artistic Biker. He's started his first art journal this weekend and he's off to a fantastic start. He's got his daughter started too. Way to go on starting kids off with a lifetime habit that is both educational and very good for emotional well being. I'm sure she'll look at her journals when an adult with fond memories of her father. I htink I was around 10 or so when I was given my first journal. I was one of those orange red locking 5&10 (five and dime) 5 year Diaries. I wasn't artistic in it at all, just wrote my pre-teen angst. Infact I didn't start to journal on a daily basis until I was 12. Which is when I filled the little journals and bought a 6×9 college ruled spiral bound notebook. I decorated the cover with a collage and over the next year filled it with dreadful teen angst. I have all the journals I've ever written. I'm missing 1 from my college years but over all they are all here, somewhere in my home. I digress.
This weekend I created what I'm calling a basic journal. 128 pages of great cardstock, smythe sewn, and a simple cover made of board and decorative papers. they measure 5×8 inches and 1 fat inch thick. The cover is soft and flexible but not too too soft. the cost of them is low, but they are great quality. I've priced them at $12. Find them here on my artfire shop.
Some Artfire news. I'm stoked that they are offering a holiday season free-for-all. All members can list unlimited items for the holiday season. They stay up until January1st, 2010. No fees, no gimmicks no catches. Sell stuff for free and hold onto all that cash you'd be spending on fees. Your saving $36 on the verified subscription price. As a way to pass on all the savings I'm offing a $2 coupon code for all the reader's of my blog, enter PASSITON at checkout.
The first book most binders are ever
shown is the simple pamphlet binding. Its fast easy and can be made
pretty. There are 2 variations that I'm fond of, the 3 hole and the
figure 8. Each is exactly what it sounds like, the name does not
Here are some links to good references
on these bindings:
Hey Lucy's instructions are the easiest and could be adapted to anything you want, but I like the Stanford, though stuffy, it's shear amount of information and 2 signature options a the best for the art journaler.