Punctuate Designer Sketchbook Review

This is the second post for my Sketchbooks Review that I started in my last post and I'm only going to be covering one sketchbook this time! If this is something that people actually find useful I might start just reviewing sketchbooks one at a time? I personally found that best way to try out a sketchbook is just by using it for a few pages and seeing how you like it. This sketchbook is one of those I didn't expect to like as much as I do and never would have known if I didn't give it a try myself.

This is the Designer Sketchbook by Punctuate and you can find this sold in Barnes&Noble stores. What caught my eye about these sketchbooks are the covers. They have such lovely cover designs and the price ranges from $9.99 - $15.99 full price so the price is really good, too. It has perforated pages on the inside and that's always good for me because I hate having a really nice sketchbook where I have lots of work I'm proud of and then a random sketch where I'm like, "eww."

I used to buy sketchbooks with the intention of filling them up with different things. For example, I had a sketchbook purely for full colored pictures, one for just sketching and another for character designs. I found this worked out pretty well for me but nowadays I like combining everything into one sketchbook. This is a pretty large sketchbook which makes it great for full colored illustrations but not so much for sketching. I have found that pencil smudges a little more easily in here and can make pencil sketches daunting in here.

This is the only sketchbook I have truly used watercolor in and when I bought it, I did it with the intention of only using markers and watercolor. I used it as my main workspace for illustrations like these and I love it! It's large enough for me to experiment with and the colors don't bleed through multiple pages like in my other sketchbooks. The colors stay vibrant and working with mixed media in this sketchbook is a dream.

I brought this sketchbook to Spain with me when I lived there for 9 months. It contains many illustrations I'm proud of. I used my Moleskine sketchbook for pencil sketches but when I wanted to sit down and complete an illustration I would do it in this sketchbook. The colors have maintained over time and I'm very happy that I stuck with it. 

I wouldn't recommend this sketchbook for someone on the go unless you carry a full sized backpack with you at all times or love a large workspace wherever you go. When I was in school I carried a smaller sketchbook with me because I had a messenger bag that got heavy pretty quickly and could only carry what I needed. This sketchbook has a lot of pages and is very heavy, but if you don't mind the weight it gives you everything you need! If you're a bit old school, you might remember those sketchbooks from Borders book stores that were large and bound and just had the word "SKETCHBOOK" on the cover. If you do, this sketchbook is like those but with perforated edges. Those old Borders sketchbooks were the first sketchbooks I ever had and I loved them! I would fill them up with Sailor Moon fan characters and always carried it around with me. If you're looking for a nice mixed media sketchbook and prefer bound binding then I think you'll really enjoy this one!

Buy this sketchbook here!

Moleskine vs. Leuchtturm1917 Review and Comparison

I’m an avid lover of sketchbooks. I love trying them out and seeing what I can do with them in terms of supplies I can use with them without destroying pages. I’ve been trying out different types of sketchbooks for years and I’ve always wanted to write about them, so I’m finally making some time to do that!

I was going to make this one big post including a few different types of sketchbooks I keep coming back to but there was too much material to put into one post, so I decided to focus on these notebooks for now. I have not tried out the Leuchtturm1917 Sketchbook, just the notebook. I’ve used both the sketchbook and notebook versions for Moleskine so they will be featured here as well! 

First off I want to talk about size. Both types of notebooks come in a variety of sizes but I was trying out using a more mobile notebook which I could take with me in my purse and take out whenever I wanted to draw. Pictured here is the paperback Large Moleskine notebook and the Medium Hardcover Leuchtturm notebook. The reason I use the notebook versions is because I like having more pages. The sketchbook versions, though they have sturdier and thicker pages, there are fewer of them. They both have the elastic band around them to keep them closed. I wish they still made the hardcover version of the extra large notebook for Moleskine because i love the sturdy feel of it, but I can’t find them anymore!

The quality of the pages for the notebooks are both pretty good, but I love the feel of the Leuchtturm more because it just feels more luxurious~ The pages are all numbered and it has two bookmarks in comparison to just the one for Moleskine notebooks. 

I wanted to make my Leuchtturm more of a ~colored~ sketchbook and create more complete pieces to try and get used to it. At first this worked out great because I was just using Prismacolor Colored Pencils. Though they worked pretty well, I did notice that it smudged a lot with the pen I usually use to ink that hasn't smudged before, which I found odd. I started using Copics and water based markers and the leakage to the other pages was just extreme. To be fair, it’s very hard to find any paper that won’t let Copics bleed through, but I learned the hard way that any pencil sketches on the other side of the pages would pretty much be ruined. I had to sketch very lightly on my pages because they would create marks on the pages underneath them which is something that I found the Moleskine pages don’t do as much. I started using the pencil board that I ordered with my Hobonichi and that helped.

I’ve been using a Moleskine notebook as my main sketchbook ever since I found Myrollingstar on Tumblr years ago and saw that’s what she used. I learned to sketch better with pens and actively use more tools with my sketches in this notebook. I’ve found that the paper holds up pretty well compared to the Leuchtturm notebook. Now, I’m using the extra-large notebook here but you can see the size is pretty similar to the Leuchtturm. I love having that extra space, but I wouldn’t call this a purse-friendly sketchbook. It’s not as large as 8.5x11 but it isn’t exactly a convenient size to carry around like the Leuchtturm. I’ve made my peace with this mostly because of how I feel when I sketch with it. I brought this sketchbook with me to work every day to try and squeeze in some sketching when I could and it is awesome for a work or school bag. I found that it doesn’t get lost as easily and it does feel very nice to sketch in.

Colors work really well with this notebook. I’ve used Copics and water based markers combined with watercolor and I’ve found some minimal bleeding. It’s definitely not as bad as it was with the Leuchtturm. I’m guilty of a lot of layering with color on my pages so I need something that can take a beating and my Moleskine definitely does that. I found that the pages in the Leuchtturm started to peel and come off when I applied a second layer or when I erased pencil marks while inking. In the end it wasn’t so much the size but the paper quality that got me to stick with the Moleskine notebook as a main sketchbook. I do occasionally use the Leuchtturm as a “pencil sketch only” sketchbook, but not as often anymore.

 

The Moleskine sketchbook, on the other hand, yielded some unexpected results with me. Though the pages are sturdier to draw on, they fall apart quite easily. They fall away from the binding and with two of my sketchbooks a lot of the pages are held in there by the elastic around the notebook. Also despite the thickness of the pages, the colors bled through quite a lot! I found that I had a lot of wasted pages in my Moleskine sketchbooks and I hated it! It already didn’t come with many pages and the colors were making it hard to get much of any pencil sketches. Drawing with Copics in it was nice and the colors came out very vibrant, which I loved, but the wasted pages just turned me off from it. 

 

Out of the three books I mentioned here, my favorite is definitely the Moleskine Notebook in Extra Large. I love the space, the paper quality and the feel of the notebook. I was very inspired to continue sketching in it and try out new things without worrying about destroying too many pages in the book. I actually have a brand new one sitting in my book shelf that I have waiting for me when I finish the one I’m currently on!

I hope this helped some of you in terms of figuring out which sketchbook is the right one for you! Though I love the Moleskine Notebook, it is not the sketchbook I reach for the most, lately. I look forward to covering that in a future entry!

Juicy Ink Artbooks Review

The other day I had the privilege of receiving two sketchbooks and a few extra goodies from Victoria Gedvillas. She is an artist that I recently found through Instagram and was instantly hooked to her style. I saw she had a new artbook coming out as well as an older one she had in stock in her shop so I decided to snag it up!

I was very impressed with the packaging of the items! It was a pretty bulky envelope and I love receiving packages like that because you can really tell that the artist packed their books with a lot of love and care to make sure they are received without any damage. She had this beautiful note on translucent paper that made me feel like i was receiving something from Anthropologie! Both books were sealed and packed with cardboard to make sure they didn't bend.

The package came with a lot of goodies! I got free postcards and a sticker along with the books and it was just a wonderful feeling opening this up <3 I asked her to please sign both of the books and she even included a little message! 

Both books were filled with stunning sketches and finished pieces. Her style is immediately recognizable and beautiful to look at. She does a wonderful job combining colors and it gives the overall piece a very unique feeling. I love on the inside of one of the books she had what looked like coloring samples for the pieces she had. I had never thought of doing that with an illustration and I really love the idea! I have been trying to do that a bit more with my own work and I love the little result that comes about! It's like a tiny completed illustration~

If you would like to check out more of her work, please visit her website! Check out her gallery and her shop, I think you'll really love it!

http://victoriagedvillas.com/

 

A Punto De Partir Review

I'm very excited to do this review for you today, dear reader <3 Today I want to give a tiny review on A Punto De Partir written and illustrated by Fran Meneses. Fran is probably my number one inspiration right now for pretty much everything. I'm addicted to her videos, admire her work ethic and adore her work.  If you don't know who I'm talking about, she also goes by Frannerd and she labels herself as an Illustuber. Fran lights a little light in my day when she updates with her artwork or blog posts. When she first announced she was writing a book a little while ago I didn't know how to handle my joy.

I waited for her to announce the release of the book and that day came about a year later! The tricky thing about it was that at the moment it was only available in Chile. I haven't had the best luck with international sellers and books so I was wary. When I did find a store that sold it online, I was so excited! But then I saw how much shipping was going to be... It was more than the book itself! Honestly I would have gotten the book sooner than I did but the holidays were coming up and the price was a bit much with everything else I needed to buy for others. Once the holidays were over, I took the jump and I am so glad I did. I couldn't be happier with the quality and service that I received from Busca Libre, I highly recommend them if you would like the book shipped outside of Chile. 

First off, the book is in Spanish. This isn't a problem for me (actually an added bonus!) but it may be for those who would like to read it and aren't fluent in the language. She did announce that an English version is in the works and hopefully that will be available soon!

The book is Fran's travel journal that she kept while her and her husband Ed went on their honeymoon a few years ago. The book's guide is Fran and she talks about the journey from beginning to end sharing her experiences as well as some lovely tips for readers if they ever go to these places. The illustrations are true to her style throughout as well as mixed with her humor that she shares with us in her channel. I love how cute she and Ed are throughout the book and how honest she is about how she felt on their journey. My favorite part of the book was when she would break the fourth wall and talk to the readers as if she's really guiding you through the story and giving some background on the events occurring! It takes me a bit longer to read in Spanish than it does in English so I really felt immersed in her story and it put me in such an inspiring place. My husband (eek <3!) and I did something similar a few years ago except we actually lived in Spain for 9 months. We traveled as much as we could while we were there and actually visited everywhere she did in Europe! It was really lovely seeing the places we saw illustrated in her book and got to know the experience she had along with it. I took a lot of photos of everywhere we went but I wish I had done what she did and drew out the whole experience. I regret not drawing more than I did!!!

Another one of my favorite parts of the book is this beautiful design on the inside of the front and back cover. I think it gives the book a really "top quality" feel. The book feels really nice to hold in your hands, if that makes any sense! I feel like I got to see a little of how life was before I saw Fran on her Youtube channel. She created this video here where she details her experience writing and illustrating her first book which I highly suggest sitting through with a cup of tea.

She has her travel journal up on her Etsy store which I also highly recommend. I love Spanish/Hispanic Illustrators and Graphic Artists because I want to buy their stuff in both English and Spanish! I really enjoy her books and can't recommend them enough. Her work is fun to read but also makes you warm with something I can't explain. It's like talking to your best friend about a place they traveled to and looking at the photos they took. I guess that's a good description of Fran and the work she does. When I watch her videos and read her blog posts, it's like I'm talking to a close friend. She's lovely and inspiring and will make you want to grab the nearest pencil and start drawing whatever comes to your mind. If you have some time, do yourself a favor and watch her videos or spend some time on her Instagram, your creativity will thank you for it!

Where to find Frannerd:

Blogspot | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Etsy Shop| Facebook | Tumblr | Patreon

Artist Holiday Wishlist 2015

It looks like a lot of bloggers are trying to kickstart their blogs again for the holiday season and I’m not different~ Though I am absent on here, I do read many blogs and find such enjoyable reads that I get inspired and want to write some of mine but I have been swamped with work and have been unable to ;-; I am working harder to actually sit down and write more, and now that the wedding is done with I can actually focus on other things and not feel guilty about it.

With the holidays right around the corner, I got to thinking of when I was a teenager and made my wish lists for the holidays and my birthday and never thought of the little things that I could have used! I always put the big things I wanted and never considered the small things because I always thought, I’ll get that later on my own. I think there’s something to being able to have those little things that would make a big difference in the creative flow and wanted to share possibilities with you, here! I tried to mix a few affordable and a little more expensive items.

If you're interested in buying the item, click on the image and it will take you to the website! I had to do a bit of research to make sure I found the best priced items from big sellers. On that note, anything made by artists on places like Etsy, Redbubble, Society6 and other places like that would be a great place to get gifts from. Always support artists any way you can!

1.     Desk Lamp

This is something that I HATED having to worry about. When I get in the zone I don’t like having to worry about things like lighting. Honestly it never used to cross my mind because I didn’t know what I was missing out on. Thankfully my husband (still getting used to that~) gave me this beautiful desk lamp that has saved me on many sketch sessions. Having good lighting while sketching or drawing is really important to fully enjoy what you’re doing. Colors look different and suddenly there are mistakes that you couldn’t catch in beautiful, dim lighting. It’s like when you apply makeup in the bathroom with dull lighting and suddenly step outside and you look completely different than what you thought. It’s an inexpensive gift that would make a world of difference!

 

 

2.     Wacom Intuos Tablet

This one isn’t actually as expensive as you would think! Wacom recently came out with a few new tablets for artists to get their hands on without breaking the bank. The pressure sensitivity for them is as good as the Wacom Intuos Touch tablets and they’re great for artists who would like to start getting into digital art. I have a small one to carry around to work or on trips and a bigger one I keep at home for projects. It’s been a great tool to get me drawing more!

 

 

 

 

3.     Light box

It took me a really long time to get a light box. I was drawing mainly traditionally and would come up with lots of creative ways to get clean line art but always ended up ruining the page with my eraser ;-; It wasn’t until a few years in that I went on ebay and got a cheap light box. The reason I never thought about it was because I always thought they would be expensive and at the time, they were. Now they sell really nice ones for great prices! If I had gotten this as a gift I probably would have cried from joy, haha! This one looks like a great model because it’s thin, which is great for storing. Mine is literally a huge wooden box with a lightbulb underneath it. It gets the job done! Once it goes I will probably opt for this one, though!

 

4.     Art Supply Organizer

I thought I was the only one that enjoyed seeing all her art supplies out in front of her when drawing. Unfortunately I never had anything like an organizer to keep everything together, so every time I wanted to draw I had to clean everything off my desk and take out all my markers, colored pencils and pens. Once I was done with my piece I had to put everything away again. It was satisfying cleaning up, I guess, but then I found these wonderful things called Studio/Workspace Tours on Youtube. I noticed these organizers and thought how amazing it would be to have my Copics all organized and in front of me like that… I guess this is on my wish list as well, haha! It’s a great gift and not too expensive. A perfect gift for a traditional or mixed media artist!

 

5.     Pencil Cases or Makeup Cases

Something I tend to do is use makeup cases as pencil and pen cases. I don’t know when I actually started doing it but I know I continue to do it. I love makeup cases. They are lovely and pretty and very girl-y and I love having them in my purse. Some are really great to have because they’re lined for cosmetics which means the inside of the case won’t get ruined with any marks! This can also apply for guys and toiletry cases if they want to carry around a nice amount of supplies in a protected case. I listed two of my favorite here, but you can go into Forever21 or H&M and get something cheaper and cute!

6.     Sketchbooks

I have more of these than I like to admit but I don’t have a single regret. In my experience, artists and creative people LOVE sketchbooks. I personally love having a variety because I always tend to find a them I want to have with different sketchbooks. My Moleskine ones are for sketching, my hardcover ones with nice paper are for character sketches and backgrounds, and a lot of them are used for whenever I feel like it. I like having a lot of sizes and paper types available to me as well. Perhaps the artist in your life feels the same? 

7.     Cabin Socks

A really big problem I have when I sketch is that I get cold really easily. I like being comfortable when I draw so I usually throw on a fleece and some comfy socks and I am ready to go. I discovered these recently discounted at Tj Max and Marshalls and I am telling you, if you see them, get them! They are SO comfortable and warm because of their fleece lining and they will last because they’re made so sturdy! I want them in every color~

 

 

 

 

8.     Merchandise from their favorite artists on Society6

One of my favorite things to do is browse my favorite artists’ Society6 stores. They’re always adding new prints and so many possibilities for new merchandise. I’m a big buyer of tote bags with huge prints of my favorite works and using them on errand days. My favorite coffee mug is one I bought from Bara-Chan on her store. They are amazing quality and are a perfect addition to a casual day. They’re always having sales, especially during the holiday season, so I highly suggest you check them out!

 

https://society6.com/

 

 

9.     Coffee or Tea Mugs

Something I love having while I’m sketching or reading blogs is a nice big mug filled with a warm drink. Sometimes it’s tea and others it’s coffee, but I love having a lot of it. It also helps that a variety of really cute mugs in my cupboard just makes me want to use them. I warm beverage really sets the mood for when I want to sit for hours and sketch. There are a lot of cute and affordable ones in TJ Max or Marshalls, but they also have really cute ones in places like Anthropologie.

 

 

 

 

10. Writer’s Notebooks

The need for a good notebook is very different from the need for a good sketchbook. Notebooks are great to just spill things on to. They’re great for ramblings or cutouts of memorable things or quotes. I don’t go anywhere without a notebook of some kind, and neither does my husband. We both love recording things in our notebooks and using them for ideas for later, and also for quick things like holiday lists, errands and reminders for the day. I love having a cute notebook in my bag for small things and a big notebook on my desk to get things done. Pay attention to things like the type of lined paper because this can make or break a notebook for someone like me. I can’t work in anything that isn’t college lined and absolutely abhor wide ruled. In the end, though, there’s nothing like a blank page in a notebook to get the creative juices flowing~

11. Spotify Subscription

Having good music for me is absolutely essential. I would have loved Spotify when I was younger. It would have been a great tool for me and anyone that just needs to have good music playing in the background. I love it for the offline listening capabilities because sometimes I just want to turn off wifi and concentrate on what I’m doing. Right now they have a special going on where you get three months for only 99 cents! If you’re a student it’s only 5 dollars a month after those three months. It’s a perfect time to try it out if you’ve been wanting to!

12. Website Subscription (Squarespace)

My website is built with Squarespace and I cannot say enough good things about it. I had been using blogger before for my blog and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel like it was entirely reliable (plus I heard horror stories about people’s blogs being taken down without any notice and just losing everything they had.) and they didn’t have much of any customer service. Though Wordpress is free, I didn’t like how limited my capabilities were to also have a gallery for my artwork and sketches. Squarespace  gives me the ease of writing my blog as well as a beautiful and professional way to display my work. I get unlimited storage space for my images which is great because sometimes I get very image heavy with my posts. I also have the option of adding a store but I’m not looking for that at the moment. I would highly recommend any artists who would like to have a professional look to their work and brand to Squarespace. They have reasonable prices, and you get a discount if you buy a yearly subscription. If you think your artist friends would benefit from something like this, I would give the plans a look over!

13. Headphones

This goes along with needing good music. I also need headphones that are noise cancelling and don’t have any noise leakage. I’m extremely paranoid about that and don’t want anyone listening to what I listen to (mostly because I tend to repeat a track a thousand times when I become obsessed.) Comfort is also very important when it comes to headphones, so I always prefer over the ear ones. I’m almost always working at my desk so wired or not doesn’t matter to me. You can go online and find some really great headphones for good prices right now, and I managed to snag mine when a sale was going on. I use the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones and can’t rave enough about them. They are comfortable and give me great audio quality. I also have a pair of Beats Solo 2 headphones I use for work and can’t rave enough about those, either. Those are more expensive and I got them on Black Friday because I needed something more portable for work. I wouldn’t pay the original high price for them but right now they’re on sale for about as much as I paid for them so I would definitely grab them for someone that needs portable and good quality headphones!

14. Reference Books

You know those photo books that have huge pictures of flowers or desserts or pinup girls that can always be found in the discount section of Barnes and Noble? These actually make really great references because the books are large and you can have them right in front of your when drawing from realism. They’re cheap and they’re a great asset to the ever growing artist. I would find out what your artist friend is trying to learn how to draw better and go with that as a guide for a gift! I personally would love to have a library of photo books of beautiful flowers and food, huhu~ I would look for ones that have a variety of angles and takes full advantage of the large book it’s in. That means the fewer words, the better! I love The Great American Pin-Up (which I have listed below) for the variety of poses (and pretty ladies.) and refer to it when I need inspiration for a pose. Sometimes it’s nice to just have something in front of you instead of Googling every reference. Though I list examples for photo books on Amazon, I definitely recommend going to a book shop and flipping through your options! That’s the only way you’ll see which one would serve your purpose better (and they’re always cheaper there, too!)

15. Wacom Bamboo Stylus (and iTunes Gift Card)

I wanted to pack this last one into like a combined one but you can do either/or. The Wacom Bamboo stylus is really great for those who just want to doodle on their iPad using drawing apps. This isn’t to be mistaken for the other Wacom stylus that uses bluetooth to connect to the iPad. That one is nice too, but it’s also pricier and honestly I like this one better. When I wanted to try drawing more on the iPad, this is the stylus I used most often and I actually had fun with it. It’s pretty nice! The iTunes gift card would be nice for someone to buy drawing apps with. The useful ones usually cost 4 - 10 dollars and the free ones have tools that can be unlocked after you spend money. I won’t get into which apps I recommend in this post, but Procreate and Bamboo Paper are really great intro ones!

ALRIGHT this has been lengthy but boy was it fun! I also have another post coming up that’s related to this one that I know will be just as exciting to write! I hope this list gave you some inspiration on what to get your artistic friends for the holidays or for any kind of event! I didn’t include any high-end items (I think the most expensive were the Beats) but I might gather a more pricey wishlist later.