Some pencils keep getting better

I did not like the Blackwing 530 when it came out (too much bling for my taste), but now that pencil that I’ve been using has gotten worn down and dinged a bit an underpainting of verdigris has been revealed, and I love the effect. It’s just a little reminder that I should give things a chance even if I didn’t fall in love with them at first glance (also this pencil is super difficult to photograph, because of the bling, so forgive me for the potato quality photo).

Advertisements
Some pencils keep getting better

Scenes from the market

I drew this on a small paper bag with Koh-I-Noor Tri Tone coloured pencils set. Scenes from the Tel Aviv Port market, drawn during an Urban Sketchers sketch walk.

Scenes from the market

Vintage Friday: Boxes and Stapler

I love going to flea markets and rummaging for old things, particularly boxes to store stuff like notebooks and pencils, and old office supplies, which are oftentimes elaborately decorated and over engineered.

Three of my latest finds include an old army oxygen mask box, which I am using to store my used notebooks in:

An old wooden box that is currently empty, but will house my Blackwing Volumes pencils, I think:

And a byzantine looking stapler, which is completely non functional (doesn’t accept modern staples), but was too wacky to leave behind:

Vintage Friday: Boxes and Stapler

Field Notes Signature Plain Paper Sketch Book review

I just received a pack of the Field Notes Signature blank page edition and noticed that on the front of the band it said,”Sketch Book” right below the “Plain Paper”. I opened it up and saw that unlike my beloved Dime Novel edition, these notebooks had no page numbers (a plus for me) and their pages were white and not cream coloured. That made me decide to break them out for a very quick sketching opportunity, to see how well they faired.

The notebook doesn’t open flat, and it tends to want to close on itself, so I used a clip to keep it open when I was sketching. Ideally you’ll need two clips and maybe a backboard of some kind to use it comfortably. The paper, as is normal with sketching paper, doesn’t take washes too well. It’s relatively thin and it buckles pretty easily, so only the lightest of washes should be attempted with it.

The drum set above was sketched with a Sanford No-Blot Pencil. You can see the paper buckling even though very little water was applied with a water brush.

The paper fared better with fine brush pens:

A tiny bit of spread when you lay down the ink too thickly:

Zero complaints when it comes to pencil sketches:

As is to be expected with this kind of paper, it works well with pencils and coloured pencils, having just enough tooth to make it work well with them, but not so great with fine and extra fine fountain pens and thin technical pens.

As you can see above, the Extra Fine Waterman Phileas (with Colorverse Selectron pigment ink) stuttered on the page.

The Signature also suffers from being an awkward size for a sketchbook: too large to be truly pocketable, too small to allow for anything more than tiny, quick sketches.

As a sketchbook, I’d not recommend it. There are better options in the market, ones that open flat, in better sizes, with hardcovers (a plus when sketching on the go), that take washes a bit better than the Signature does.

That being said, it’s a fountain pen friendly Field Notes, and so long as you’re not set on using nibs that in the extra fine realm or using this notebook as your main sketchbook, it’s a nice little thing to carry around and play with. There’s nothing wrong with a notebook that can take a little doodle next to your todo list…

 

Field Notes Signature Plain Paper Sketch Book review

Biweekly Routine

Routines and rituals are important, and one of the signs of a craftsperson is their care for the tools they use. This is true for any kind of maker, whether your craft is storytelling or leatherwork. Every two weeks I try to go through this routine, to make sure that the things that I use when I write are there and in order when I sit down to do my writing.

Clean keyboard

P1030059

Some computer keyboards harbour more harmful bacteria than a toilet seat, research has suggested. 

A BBC News report published the findings of a consumer group Which? on keyboard hygiene, and not surprisingly they were shocking.

Since your keyboard is one of your main, if not your main writing tool, taking 10-15 minutes every two weeks to clean it doesn’t seem excessive, yet few writers do so.

Here are the keyboard cleaning guides that I use:

PC World: How to Clean Your Keyboard – simple, informative, easy to follow advice on how to clean your keyboard.

Rispter Guide: Cleaning Keyboards – funny, and with plenty of pictures. Also, much more thorough than the PC world guide, and geared towards mechanical keyboard maintenance.

Check backups

You can read up here on how to backup your work. Once every two weeks go over your backups and check to see that everything is where you expect it to be.

Organize notes

Take a few minutes once every two weeks to go over your notes, file or throw away those that aren’t relevant anymore and make sure that you don’t have any loose notes scribbled on envelopes or post-it notes around the house.

Organize file names

If you for some reason work with Word and not with Scrivener (why?), and keep several versions of your work in different files, take a moment to make sure that your file names haven’t gotten out of hand, and you still know where everything is and what everything is. File names “My novel – old new new version 2” — I’m looking at you.

Check notebooks, pencils, pens

Check your notebooks, pencils, pens (fountain pens or not), to see what needs to be refilled soon, reinforced or replaced.

Update Scrivener project metadata

Take some time to fill in character names and short descriptions, places information, references etc. in your Scrivener project’s Characters, Places or Research folders. This information is important to keep on hand for long projects, and is especially useful to keep bundled together with your writing — mainly for search purposes (“where did I reference X character?”).

Biweekly Routine