Coming Soon

Spring is just about to burst forth here in New York. It’s a time many of us eagerly await; the long winter months nearly behind us. Just a few things are blooming now, but the pace will accelerate in the coming days with a procession of spring ephemerals, migratory birds, flowering trees and shrubs, and colorful bulbs. I went looking for spring yesterday and was pleased to spend time with star magnolia and forsythia before the rain came and temperatures fell from 60-to 40-degrees. Here’s wishing you time to wonder and enjoy the coming of spring in the days ahead.

Tips and Techniques– When you start using a new sketchbook, it’s worth taking time to experiment with different materials and techniques to see what you like best and what works well on the paper. I am testing a Handbook Journal with 140 lb watercolor paper and finding that I really like it for watercolor. However, my go-to Micron 02 pen runs out quickly on it, so I experimented here with a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen and black DeAtramentis Document Ink. The line is a bit thicker than I’m used to, giving this page a more graphic quality. I’m not unhappy with it, but I’ll continue to test it, and other drawing tools, in the coming weeks. If you happen to be using this sketchbook brand, I’d love to know what your go-to pen or pencil is for it.

23 Comments on “Coming Soon

  1. Good vibes, thanks Happy Easter Here, north shore of Montreal, old man winter is still menacing… we’re expecting a possible snow dump on Tuesday 🤨 Spring bulbs are sprouting, Crocus & Scillas only so far With best regards Richard


  2. A lovely page, full of Spring beauties. I instantly recognized your style, Jean, but thought something looked a little different. I like the more graphic look you got from the thicker pen nib. I mostly use microns for my ink work, and really shy away from heavier weight textured papers. I’ve not heard of this type of Journal Handbook, but curious enough to investigate further. I’ll be anxious to see how you like your new journal after more posts. Happy Spring from New Mexico.

    • This paper doesn’t have too much texture, which is why I like it. Still, it’s not as smooth as Stillman & Birn Zeta. I like it when a pen easily glides across the page; no skips. So I’ve got to try a few other pens to see what will give me that.

  3. Thank you for sharing the joy of spring on these pages.. this beauty is food for the soul (much appreciated because we’re deep in autumn in NZ).

  4. Happy spring to you as well
    Robins, a personal favorite
    Am watching one now building its nest in our river birch

  5. We’re looking forward to warmer weather here in the midwest, too. We’re still dropping down to freezing temperatures at night. I’m eager to get outside with my sketchbook and watercolors!

      • I far prefer the paper of the Handbook Journal to the Stillman and Birn Beta. Handbook watercolour journals come in two weights and I like them both. I use the Platinum Preppy with Carbon ink. The Preppy has a super fine nib and is readily available in stationery stores for under C$10. Love it!

  6. Hi Jean! Wonderful!! pages! I like the Handbook journals (but not as much as the S&Bs…)… Have you tried a Platinum Preppy on it? They come in varying line widths, and the EF is very fine. If DAD black starts to clog/skip, mix with Noodler’s Bulletproof black, which is a little thinner.. you will still get waterproof lines, but they will flow a bit better on watercolor papers. Cheers! ~Aeron 🙂

    • Hi Aeron– Thanks for the tip! I haven’t tried the Preppy, so I ordered one yesterday after someone else suggested it. I also appreciate your advice on mixing DAD black with Noodlers, which I have. Getting the right flow for drawing on WC paper is important.

  7. Robins are a delight to watch. I’m always glad to have them return. And these are fun sketches.

  8. Have the best time ever, Jean! I like starting a sketchbook before a trip, usually with a map. I also leave the title page blank and complete it afterwards. For some reason, trying to create a title page beforehand is more intimidating than facing that blank page.

      • Sorry this got posted in the wrong place. I couldn’t find where it went at first. For some reason, WordPress is being weird with me lately. Thanks for responding anyway! Safe travels!

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