Tag Archives: pencil

Jazz Green’s Sketchbooks

Some gorgeous sketchbook pages from artist Jazz Green:


See more at her website: sketchbooks | J A Z Z G R E E N


My Latest Sketchbook

I just finished a sketchbook, exactly a year a year after I started it. This was one of my old Modo & Modo original Moleskine sketchbooks. I have a hoard of these older ones and they are still my favorite sketchbook for everyday use– they stand up well to most of the pens I use, and I like the way they work with watercolors, at least most of the time! I’ve occasionally had problems where watercolors will bead up and not adhere to the page, but it seems to be from where I’ve touched the page too much, especially in the summer when I might have sunblock residue on my hands.
Anyway, this was a very satisfying sketchbook for me. I used the front and back of every page. I carried it with me around New York City, on an Arizona ranch, at the beach, and even while kayaking on a lake. I did some very rough, quick sketches of people in the park on my lunch break, more careful sketches of a friend who was willing to stay still for a while, some drawings and paintings from photographs, and some abstract doodling. I really had fun messing around with it, and the result is probably my most colorful sketchbook ever. I’m hoping to keep this up with the next one, and hopefully finish it in less than a year!

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Serax Notebooks

A rather attractive set of notebooks at pencils by Serax:

Not sure I’d like that stitched binding, though– doesn’t look like it would open flat.

Source: PRETTY POST – 70percentpure

Courtney Wotherspoon’s Sketchbook

I always enjoy the Sketchbook Sneak Peek series at Design Sponge. Here’s one from a while back, featuring Courtney Wotherspoon.

What are your go-to sketch book supplies? Are there any brands or media that you’re particularly drawn to?

Pens, Uni-Ball Deluxe Micro, always black. Sometimes a blue ballpoint pen sneaks in if I can’t find my favourites.

Cut paper bits and glue stick, Derwent HBs and 2Bs that I end up sharpening down to the size of golf pencils, and sometimes a brush and acrylic ink, though I often don’t want to wait for it to dry before I turn the page and move on the next.

I started off filling large sketchbooks, upwards of 11″ x 14″, where I attempted to fill and complete entire ‘pieces’. Over the years, I’ve gone smaller and smaller and am now usually in a 5″ x 7″ or a mini 3″ x 5″ Moleskine. Some pages will be filled with colour, cutouts and imagery and others might just hold a single solitary pencil line.

See more at Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Courtney Wotherspoon | Design*Sponge.

Bush Smarts Field Journal

This is cute, and it comes in a nice little bag, but seems to just be a medium sized, cardboard cover, relatively thin notebook with a stitched binding… so doesn’t $45 seem really steep??

Tan Field Journal
Whenever you’re ready to write or sketch in the bush or the backyard, you won’t be without pencil and paper. Stash it in its Cuben® sack and you’ve got a windproof, waterproof and UV-resistant kit ready to record your greatest adventures<
5.75in × 4.25in $45


Field Journal Tan

Buy at Bush Smarts – Field Journal.

Diana Balmori Notebooks


I spotted this at McNally Jackson Bookstore in NYC and couldn’t resist: a small paperback book/facsimile notebook full of drawings by landscape architect Diana Balmori. From the publisher’s website (which seems to be the only place to buy the book online):

“Notebooks is a record of sketches by Diana Balmori FASLA. Reflecting twenty years of thinking, drawing, and crafting, the book provides a window into the personal practice of landscape design.

Diana Balmori is an internationally renowned landscape and urban designer and the founder of the landscape design firm Balmori Associates.”

The original notebooks seem to have been mostly Moleskine Sketchbooks and Japanese Albums. Inside the book, you sometimes get a photo of the whole notebook page, sometimes even a fold-out spread. Other pages just have drawings. The whole book is just slightly larger than an actual pocket Moleskine, so you really feel like you are flipping through someone’s sketchbook as opposed to browsing through an art book.


The drawings themselves are very simple, quick sketches in pencil or crayon. Occasionally there are some notes added, but they are mostly just sketches without any explanation. I almost didn’t buy the book because the drawings seemed so rough– they’re not the kind of sophisticated sketchbook pages that you look at and aspire to imitate their design and skill level. But the more I looked at them, I thought that was a good thing. So many examples of sketchbook art seem too perfect, too finished. Instead of being inspiring, they can seem daunting to others who look at them and think “my sketchbook pages will never look that good!” Sketchbooks are supposed to be for experimentation and capturing ideas. They should be full of scribbles and mess and exploration– they should be about the process, not just the results, and they don’t have to be perfect.


That said, I wish there was a little more commentary with these sketches (as opposed to none)– if you’re going to put your sketchbook work in a book to be shared with the public, it helps to give the reader some idea what they’re looking at. But despite that, I’m glad I paid the rather steep price of $29 to add this unique little book to my collection.



Moleskine Monday: Andrea Joseph’s Sketches

Andrea Joseph shows off some neat sketches in various colors of pen and pencil, all in a Moleskine sketchbook. Here’s one of my faves:


See more at andrea joseph’s sketchblog: four drawings, three places, one sketchbook.

Review & Giveaway: Palomino Blackwing Sketchbook

The nice folks at Pencils.com sent me the samples below. In 2010, they relaunched the popular Blackwing pencil, and in late 2011, they followed it up with a selection of notebooks paying homage to the pencil. I was excited to see that they partnered with the Turkish company behind the Fabio Ricci brand of notebooks to make these. (See here for a review of the notebooks I bought in Istanbul, including one by Fabio Ricci.)

The notebooks I received are from their Palomino Blackwing Artist Series and the Forest Choice series. Here, I’ll take a closer look at the Palomino Blackwing Artist sketchbook.

This is a 5 x 8 1/4″ sketchbook, same size as a large Moleskine. The outside cover has a smooth matte finish, with an illustration of a happy pencil by the artist MJ Bivouac. As is typical with most notebooks, there’s a removable paper band, an elastic closure, branding info on the lower back cover, and an inside pocket. Inside the front cover, there are lines for you to write your contact info and a date.

The sketchbook opens nice and flat despite a binding that seems a bit stiff at first. The pocket in the back is all paper, without any cloth reinforcement, so it might tear more easily than some.


The bright white paper inside has a somewhat hard, smooth feel. It works really nicely with fine point gel ink pens, no scratchiness at all. It’s also good with soft pencil. (I didn’t have a Blackwing pencil to test it with, unfortunately!) The only drawback I found was that a few inks almost seemed to bead up on the surface of the paper, and my brush pens went on with a greyish tone rather than a deep black. The paper performs really well on show-through and bleed-through.



Overall, I’d say this is a pretty solid sketchbook even if it’s not a game-changer in any way. At $19.95, these are a bit more expensive than a Moleskine, for slightly fewer pages (96, vs. the 104 in a Moleskine sketchbook) but I think many people will be willing to pay the extra dollar for something a bit different with this quality of paper.


You can learn more about Palomino’s other products here, and purchase these (and other) notebooks at Pencils.com. And you can also take a shot at winning the beige and green Forest Choice notebook pictured above:

I’ll select a random winner from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “@pencilscom” and “@NotebookStories, and follow “@pencilscom” and “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page  and the Pencils.com page, and post something containing the words “Palomino Blackwing” on my wall.

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

The deadline for entry is Friday August 24 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.


Moleskine Monday: Great Lakes Writing Set on Etsy

This is pretty cute:

This “great” writing set features the Great Lakes – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior!

The set includes a notebook and 5 pencils. The notebook is a blue softcover Moleskine Cahier notebook silkscreened with a silhouette of the lakes in light blue. It’s perfect for taking notes or doodles and is the perfect size, not too big, not too small (5″ x 8.25″). The notebook contains 80 pages (40 leaves), available in graph paper or blank. The pencils are wooden and blue, with the names of the lakes in white.

$15 at Etsy: Great Lakes Writing Set Moleskine notebook and pencils by citybird.