Winsor & Newton Watercolor Sets

One of my other obsessions besides notebooks is art supplies. I have way too many, and I don’t use them as often as I should, but I still treat myself to new ones once in a while. And I have to say, my latest purchase is a perfect notebook companion!

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I’d seen this particular Winsor & Newton watercolor box before, but kept thinking I didn’t need it– and I really don’t need it. I already have 3 other Winsor & Newton travel-size watercolor kits (including ones similar to this and this), plus another small box that I filled myself with empty pans and loaded with gouache. (That actually didn’t work out all that well, gouache works better out of the tube.) I also prefer metal paint boxes to plastic ones, as they seem more durable.

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This new set has their Cotman colors, which are considered student grade, so somewhat lesser quality than the set of artist-grade Winsor & Newton paints I treated myself to a couple of years ago (the black tin seen in the photo above, and opened in the photos below. I don’t think it’s available any more, but Schmincke has a very similar set in a metal box, as does Sennelier.). But it has whole pans, which is very rare for these little sets, and it has slightly different colors than some of my other sets. When it popped up as being a pretty low price on Amazon one day (under $25, which it still is as of this writing), I decided to just go for it. What can I say, I’m weak.

The nice thing is that I can swap out the full size pans for half-pans if I want to fit in twice as many colors. (Even though I usually think less is more when it comes to paints– something like this would be total overkill, in my opinion.)

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I haven’t started using this set yet, but in the meantime I am really loving the size and shape– exactly the same as my favorite notebooks!

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Moleskine Monday: The Revenge of Analog

A new book called The Revenge of Analog has a more detailed version of the Moleskine origin story with a twist I’d never heard before:

During the summer of 1995, [Moleskine’s now-VP of Brand Equity and Communications Maria] Sebregondi was sailing off the coast of Tunisia on the yacht of her friend Fabio Rosciglione. He consulted with the distribution company Modo & Modo, owned by another friend, Francesco Franceschi, which distributed design items and T-shirts around Italy. One night over dinner, under a sky bursting with stars, Franceschi started to talk about what kind of products Modo & Modo could manufacture on its own, rather than importing the designs of others.

The conversation shifted to a question about who would buy those goods, and then to the changing nature of the world, which had just emerged from the Cold War into the heady dawn of globalization. International travel was not only less restricted but more accessible, thanks to low-cost airlines. Technology, including inexpensive cellular phones, websites and email, allowed independent thinkers to become entrepreneurs and pursue their dreams unbound by geography. Speaking late into the night, the three realized that a new global creative class was emerging, driven by curiosity and passion. Sebregondi proposed that Modo & Modo create a toolkit for this individual, whom she labelled a “Contemporary Nomad.”

Back in Italy, Sebregondi thought about what this nomad’s kit would hold. There would be a great bag, a versatile T-shirt, the perfect pen and maybe a utility knife. At the time, she was reading the book The Songlines by British travel writer Bruce Chatwin, an embodiment of her prototypical consumer. In one of the book’s essays, Chatwin wrote about his preferred notebooks, which he bought in a particular stationery shop in Paris. “In France, these notebooks are known as carnets moleskines,” Chatwin wrote, “‘moleskine,’ in this case, being its black oilcloth binding.” The last time he returned to Paris, Chatwin discovered, to his great horror, that the family firm in Tours that had made his beloved notebooks was now out of business and the carnets moleskines were no more.

Any version of this story always went straight to the notebook– I don’t remember ever hearing about this nomad kit full of other stuff, in which the notebook would just be one item among many. But of course that works well with Moleskine’s more recent expansion into making pens, bags, wallets and smartphone cases, etc. I’m sure T-shirts and knives are next!

Read more at Take note — how Moleskine succeeded in a digital age and buy the book:

 

Notebook Addict of the Week: ItsAllTurtle

This week’s addict is another YouTuber who has quite a collection to show off:

Jansen Chan’s Notebooks

Here’s another story about a chef that includes some photos of his notebooks. Jansen Chan started out as an architect but then became a pastry chef, and is now the director of pastry arts at the International Culinary Center. Some of his notebooks have obviously been exposed to a lot of kitchen spills and splatters!

 

Read more at: Jansen Chan: Not Resting on His Laurels – The Chefs Connection

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Review and Giveaway: Coloring Notebook

I’m sure no one has failed to notice the adult coloring book trend that’s exploded over the last few years. Bookstores are jam-packed with them. Many have gorgeous , elaborate designs, but that’s all there is to them: pages to color. For those of us who are always carrying a notebook or journal anyway, the Coloring Notebook provides a way to combine coloring pages with notes and journal entries, all in one package. Let’s take a look at the free sample the makers sent me:

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From the outside, it’s very much in line with other Moleskine-type notebooks on the market, with a few variations: a black cover with elastic closure, back pocket, and a ribbon marker in yellow, which matches the head and tail bands. The back pocket is all paper– no cloth gussets– and feels a little flimsy. The cover has a smoother texture than a Moleskine, and overhangs the page edges by quite a bit. It comes only in the 5.8 x 8.2″ size.

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Inside, coloring pages alternate with free-form space for writing or drawing. Lined, blank and dot-grid versions are available. I tested the lined version.

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There are single page and double page coloring designs, but the coloring pages are always back to back with the lined pages. The lines are not noticeable when you’re coloring due to the dense patterns of the coloring designs. When you’re writing on the lined pages, the coloring designs to show through a bit.

The overall issue of show-through and bleed-through will vary depending on the materials you use. I colored a page with markers and watercolor paints. There was some show- and bleed-through with the markers. The paper buckled a bit with watercolors but was better once dry. At 100 gsm, the paper is not especially heavy-weight, so I wouldn’t really recommend it for watercolors, but markers or colored pencils should work fairly well as long as you have reasonable expectations about the show-through. The images below show the front and back of a colored-in page before I tested writing on the back:

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I didn’t test all of my usual pens, but you can see some bleed-through from the Super Sharpie below. Any showthrough from the other pens is camouflaged by the coloring.

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Technically, this notebook doesn’t offer any more writing space than most actual coloring books– they all tend to have pages that are blank on the back, or maybe have abstract designs on the back, as they want you to be able to cut out and frame your colored pages. If I were creating a coloring notebook, I might add additional writing pages, as I think most notebook users might be likely to use up the blank space before they finished all the coloring pages, but others might disagree. Either way, it would make a nice gift for anyone who likes to color, and prefers the look of a traditional journal.

You can buy the Coloring Notebook for $19.95 at Amazon.

I will be giving away an unused Coloring Notebook to one lucky winner, who will be randomly selected from entries received in any or all of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Coloring Notebook @coloring_ntbk @NotebookStories”, and follow @coloring_ntbk and @NotebookStories

On Facebook, “like” the Coloring Notebook page and the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the words “Coloring Notebook” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Coloring Notebook” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday October 28, 2016 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Notebooks Made from Old Jeans

“Urusha Maher is a final year architecture student in Chennai and says that people automatically assume you’re creative when you tell them your choice of degree. Perhaps, that is why one of her friends handed her a pair of worn out jeans last year and asked Urusha to make something out of it. The result was a cool denim jacketed notebook, complete with a pocket to carry your phone, pens and other trinkets, just like your jeans!”

Read more at: Don’t know what to do with old jeans? This Chennai girl will make you a notebook out of it | The News Minute

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Notebook Paper Cake!

Fun idea!

Source: Write your own message on this notebook paper cake, and make homework sweeter

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In Praise of the Basic Composition Book

A nice look at the history of the ubiquitous marbled composition book. I haven’t actually used one in years, but I love them nonetheless! Reading this made me want to buy one!

“Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat sketched in marble composition books, and Italian architect Ettore Sottsass used the covers to make furniture. Marble notebooks also furnish Eddie Vedder with working space for Pearl Jam lyrics.

Since no copyright applies to these books, a slew of brands make them: Roaring Spring, Top Flight, Swinton, Norcom, iScholar—the list goes on. And what differentiates these brands? Nothing, and that’s the beauty of it: the marble composition book, a simple, understandable product that costs a few bucks and delivers what it promises. “Teachers, students and parents alike love the product for its slim profile and stitched binding that prevents paper from tearing out,” said Amy Botkin, brand manager for ACCO Brands, owner of Mead, which has made marble notebooks for 42 years now. “It remains one of our top sellers.” “

Read more at  Why Is the Basic Marble Notebook Made by So Many Brands Still So Popular? | Adweek

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A Very Yummy Notebook Page

Chefs can have some pretty interesting notebooks. This one belongs to Nick Wuest, who is a Pastry Arts student at the International Culinary Center. The first few lines of this recipe already had me salivating…

And here’s his results! Yum.


You can get the full recipe here: Play with your food: Brown Sugar Caramel-Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches – www.internationalculinarycenter.com

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Davide Bonazzi’s Sketchbooks

Great drawings from Bologna-based illustrator Davide Bonazzi:

“I confess I’m not the kind of artist who absolutely needs a sketchbook when he travels. Mostly I just enjoy traveling light, keeping my eyes wide open and taking pics. I used to keep sketchbooks when I was a student, and later I enjoyed doing sketches on my iPad, but for some reason I didn’t become an addicted to sketching.

Recently my girlfriend, who’s an illustrator as well, encouraged me to keep a sketchbook. I forgot how exciting this was! I made many sketches during my recent trip to the US; you can see some of these below.

I just used Tombow watercolor markers and I rediscovered the pleasure of drawing on paper, simply using a strong black outline to represent the things I was seeing. No eraser or CTRL+Z to undo what you’ve drawn here! As an illustrator I mainly use digital tools, and my style consists of “flat,” colored shapes, so it’s been nice to do something very far from my usual way of working.”

Read more at: AI-AP | DART » Davide Bonazzi’s Sketchbooks

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