Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Uni Pin Pen and Drawings that don't satisfy, yet oddly enough, do

Another type of pen that I recently bought from is the Uni Pin Pen.  I really like it and have been drawing up a storm.  Sooner or later, I'll write a review on these pens, but hubby's on vacation and I'm having too much fun drawing with them to write the review right now, lol.

While I'm saving up the drawings I like, I've done a couple that I don't quite like.  I'm sharing them anyway because I like a few things about them--and because they are semi-realism.  I find I'm much more likely to be dissatisfied with realistic drawings because they don't match the image in my head, but often other people do like them.

I've learned to be dissatisfied but not unhappy with drawings like this.  Sharing them makes me open up to them and look for the things I do like.  

I didn't like what was happening with the fronds around the leopard and since the form of hatching I'm using is fairly time-intensive I decided to quit working on this one.  After a bit, I decided the white space--the unfinished feel--actually added to the piece.  And I like the tree trunk.  We'll see if the rest grows on me or not.

I'm actually not dissatisfied with this, but recognize its flaws.  I started this as an abstract with no plans to do buildings or streets.  But I'd seen a painting with roughly this layout earlier that day, and realized I elements of it into the drawing.  Then I decided to do so more purposely.  The perspective isn't good enough to work, nor exaggerated enough to be surreal.

Still, I like the ambience.  This wouldn't be bad for a practice run.  Maybe one of these days I'll actually plan the layout and do this properly.  Then again--I hate planning and figuring proper perspective, so maybe not, lol!

With both works, I really loved working with the Uni Pin pens--sizes .01, .02, and .03.  I haven't tested for water-proofing but I know this will be a go-to pen for black & white.

Link to tangle pattern Weenie

Carole Fontaine has posted the step out to her tangle pattern Weenie.

Link to tangle patterns Knightspeek, Salmon, and Platt

CZT Donna Lacey has posted the step outs to her patterns Knightspeek,Salmon, and Platt.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Link to info on Month-long giveaways at Holley's Blog

 will be having daily giveaways all February long!  You need to post her linkie and email her in order to enter, so check out her latest post for the details.

Link to tangle patterns Bumpeeze, C-Chain, Cupcakes, Stribations and Twydl

Emily Perkins has posted the step out to her patterns






Link to a tutorial on the Sakura Micron 01 Pen

A tutorial on expanding your range of options with the Sakura Micron 01 Pen has been posted at

My little Pockatbook

Yes! Pocket + Cats = Pockats!

I received a 9 page pamphlet in the mail.  Don't even remember what it was for.  I promptly gesso'd it, painted the pages with acrylic paint, then taped the pages together with miracle tape to form 4 pockets and used it for the contents of my little Pockatbook.  Each page has a second pocket as well.

Supplies used throughout: gesso, Distress Inkpads-Tea Dye, Vintage Photo, Ranger Archival Inkpad-Black, Micron Pen .05, Silk's Acrylic paint-Emperor's Gold, miracle tape, cut up magazine pages sprayed with Fireworks Pear Tart & Cantaloupe, gel medium.

All images were stamped with the Ranger Archival pad.
All of the pages were distressed with inkpads and I used Zentangle®-inspired patterns throughout as embellishment.  Magazine pieces were laid down as a base for each page.  Gel medium was used to glue pieces down.

Supplies for cover
Viva Las VegaStamps! Images used: Tuxedo Cats 15115 
Tim Holtiz Rock Candy Clear Crackle Paint
Grunge Paper
Alcohol Inks-Terra Cotta, Stonewashed, Stream, Copper & Pearl Mixative
Distress Marker-Stormy Sky
Awl & cord

I cut 3 pieces of grunge paper, one approx. 5 x7 for the main cover piece, one at 3 3/4 x 4 1/2 for the cats, and one 1 x 3 3/4 for the title.  I stained the smaller pieces with Terra Cotta, & Copper Mixative alcohol ink, and the main cover with Stream & Stonewashed.  I used the Distress Marker & Micron to write out Pockats, and embellish with Zentangle-Inspired Patterns.

After punching holes in the middle with the awl, I looped and tied a piece of cord that can be used to tie the pockatbook shut, later.

Supplies for Page 1 & 2
Viva Las VegaStamps! Image used: Inquisitive Cat 6791 and Black Cat Silhouette 7185
Sarabinders Small Pocket
Encore Ultimate Blue Metallic Inkpad
Pure & Simple Oatmeal bag

I glued down the Sarabinder Pocket and the Oatmeal Bag (leaving the top unglued so that it became another pocket.  After stamping the cats I added more distress color with the distress inkpads, and more color with the Encore.  Then I tangled patterns all over!

Supplies for Page 3 & 4
Viva Las VegaStamps! Image used:  Serious Cat Face 8673
Coffee Cup sleeve
Sarabinder small pocket
Angelina Fibers ironed to fuse
Flowers previously made from Ice Resin and black cardstock
Stems made from sheet music dipped in Ice Resin
Claudine Hellmuth Studio Acrylic paint-Landscape Green
Inkssentials Enamel Accents
Sakura 3D lacquer/Terri Sproul Mixer-Green Pearl
Color Pencil

I cut off pieces of the coffee cup sleeve.  One piece made me think of an old tub, and the other of a plant holder, so I taped them down.  The long side of the tub was left untaped so it could be used as a side pocket.  I distressed the coffee sleeve with the distress inkpads, then slapped on some acrylic paint.

I glued on the flowery stuff with gel medium.

The splashed water was added with Terri Sproul mixers & dabs of Enamel Accents.

After tangling my patterns, I colored them with color pencils.

Supplies for Page 5 & 6
Viva Las VegaStamps! Images usedKitties Playing Chess 2114  and Kitten And Mouse In Blanket/Sm 3290
Date Due Library Pocket
Amazon tape
Watered down Gesso

I decided to go with half-pockets on this page, so you can actually see some of the magazine pieces that I used as a base background.  I glued down the library pocket and a piece of tape from a box I received from Amazon.  After doing the distress ink thing, I blobbed on some watery gesso, did a little doodling and called it a day.

Supplies for Page 7 & 8
Viva Las VegaStamps! Images used: Steampunk Cat 17720 and Wheeley Cat 18371 
Sarabinder Small Pocket 
Paper Coaster
Distress Inkpads-Salty Ocean and Picked Raspberry
May Arts Ribbon
Ink blending sponge tip

I found a set of paper coasters from Dollar Tree that included this piece of bread and knew it had to become a pocket in my journal.  I glued down the May Arts Ribbon and used the sponge tip to add the colors to the page.  I had a little trouble stamping the Wheeley Cat image because I had used so much gel medium on that page, so I went for a feeling of motion.  After tangling my patterns I added the gesso for the 'mayonnaise'.

Hope you've enjoyed my Pockatbook!

Check out the VLVS! Store for all your stamping needs and the  VLVS! Blog for new projects and news every day. Follow VLVS! as the VLVS! Forum - VLVS! FB - VLVS! Pinterest - VLVS! Twitter.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review of the Ohto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pen

Earlier this week JetPens did a review on several of the drawing pens in their product line.  It was an excellent review except that there were no examples of drawings!  I had to do something about that didn't I?

I couldn't afford to buy one of all the pens included in the review (and I had to buy some more color-pencil like gel pens too!) but I was intrigued by the description of the Ohto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pen (JetPens has a giveaway going for a set of these pens, which ends on 1/28/13.  Disclaimer: Timing is coincidental.  JetPens didn't give me any pens and I didn't know about the giveaway when I bought mine).

My example was drawn with an Ohto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pen in .01 point size.
Heavy-handed: A person who holds their pen tightly and presses down hard on the pen in an attempt to control the line has a heavy hand.

A light hand is usually recommended for writing or drawing but most of us hold our pens too tightly and apply too much pressure. It cramps our hands, causes more wavering as the hand grows tired, and most importantly, in terms of this review, it damages fibre-tipped drawing pens.  Whenever I hear someone complain about a pen that barely lasts a week, I think--aha! A heavy-handed writer or artist!

The Ohto Graphic Liner pen has a metal tip which makes it less likely to be damaged.  I won't know for sure until some time has passed, but I think it might also be a better pen for use on rough, toothed paper since such paper can also wear down fibre-tips quickly.

Personally, I've never drawn with a pen that glides so smoothly.  I drew my example in a Clairfontaine Carnet de Voyage travel album which has definite texture, but the ink went down as smooth as silk.  In some ways, it was almost too smooth.  I am fairly light-handed and had to adjust--just a bit --to keep the pen from moving faster than I wanted it too.

The pen produces a bold, clear line.  This will be a joy for many.  I wasn't able to get the wispy lines I use for shading.  I can get fine lines, just not the broken wispy ones that I love.   I'll need to get to get a smaller point size and use two pens (this is fairly common for me, even with Micron Pigmas).  

I did find that the ink blobs up a bit if you are drawing quickly but the blobs don't smear (I had no problem with smearing at all).  You just get a slightly thicker spot on your line. It doesn't happen often, and only when drawing very quickly.  Most people wouldn't even notice it, but experienced artists might find it disturbing.

The Ohto is listed as waterproof but I when I used a water brush on it, I did get smudging.  I wet a very dark area, that had dried for several hours, but it is possible that the ink takes even more time to cure.  I'm going to try it after a couple of days and see what happens.  I'll let you know if there is an improvement.  It is waterproof enough that writing would still be readable and a drop or two would not utterly destroy a drawing, if you spilled water on it.  However, I wouldn't recommend using watercolor with this ink.

Overall, I think this would be a great drawing pen for either beginner or experienced artist.  It won't be my everyday pen, but I think it will be easier to use when my arthritis acts up, so I will be buying more to keep at hand, so I can draw with excellence even when my hands ache!

Link to Zendala Dare #42

Link to Zendala Dare #42

Link to info on Month-long giveaways at Holley’s Blog

 will be having daily giveaways all February long!  You need to post her linkie and email her in order to enter, so check out her latest post for the details.

Link to TanglePatterns String 037

TanglePatterns String 037

Link to tangle pattern Balustrade

Neil Burley has posted the step out to his tangle pattern Balustrade!

Review of the Pilot Drawing Pen

Earlier this week Jetpens did a review on several of the drawing pens that they carry.  It was an excellent review except that there were no examples of drawings!  I had to do something about that didn't I?

Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to buy one of every one of the pens listed, but I bought the ones that I found the most intriguing-the others I'll get sooner or later!

The Pilot Drawing Pen comes in 3 colors, and 6 sizes.  This drawing was done completely with a .05 point-size.

The Jetpens reviews and other comments I read spoke about the light line they got with the DR, but I discovered a secret.

You can vary the line width and darkness by the angle of the pen.  The tips have a fairly flat point, so if you hold it mostly straight down, more like a brush, you can get a dark, bold line.  Angle the pen so you are using the edge and you can get faint wispy lines.  Change your angle and change the line.  At some angles the pen feels scratchy.

The pens are described as water resistant--they are not fully waterproof.  The ink doesn't smear, bleed or pool when wet, but it smudges.  It fact it almost looks like the smudging you get with a pencil.  I definitely would not recommend using watercolors over this ink, but you might use a waterbrush and lightly wet some areas for shading.  I used a high quality paper (Clairefontaine Carnet de Voyage sketchbook) and the effect might be different on other papers, so I'd test first, and expect a learning curve.
Before adding water                                                                         After I used a waterbrush
I love a pen that lets me vary the marks I make.  With a lot of pens I would have needed three different point sizes to do the same drawing.  It takes a little playing around, learning to control the line, and some people might find that frustrating.  But I found it well worth the effort!

The next review up will be on the Ohto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pens!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Blast from the Past blog hop

This is one stop of a fantastic blog hop! If you didn't start on the Vva Las VegaStamps! blog page you might want to go there first.  If you comment on all the stops you will be entered to win an unmounted plate o' rubber of your choosing!  The list of all the blogs is at the bottom of the page!

Blast from the Past Comic Page

Blame it on Dickens and Gold Key comic books!

Each Blast from the Past Blog hop members was sent one of VLVS! older images, and challenged to use it.

When I received the Sourpuss stamp I definitely felt challenged.  I knew I wanted to evoke visions  of the Christmas Carol and the old Twilight Zone comics I used to read--those oddly philosophical and strangely terrifying stories.  I had a vision of my Sourpuss as the lead-in to one of those storytime gems from the past.

But that's all you get--the lead-in.  You'll have to come up with the rest of the story yourself. ...BWaaaaHAAhaaHAAA!

There were three components to creating this comic page--the stamped images, the printed comic panel/frame and the background.

The background sheet was started with a liberal spray of Colorwash and Dylusions inks onto a sheet of Kromecote cardstock.  

Then I went to my computer and created the comic page.  DeeDee, our team leader, had created a really cool banner for the hop, and it fit perfectly with my idea.  I printed the page, and cut away the bits I didn't want.

I used three tricks in stamping my images.  

First off, let me explain the function of a reverse stamp.  It's a blank piece of rubber.  You ink up the image you want reversed and stamp it on the rubber.  Then immediately stamp the rubber on the page to get your reversed image. Afterwards you need to clean the rubber with the appropriate stamp cleaner (Stazon cleaner for this project) so it will be blank the next time you want to use it.

I stamped both the Sourpuss and his reversed image onto ghostly green vellum and cut them out.  

The second trick was using the Sourpuss image to create a stencil.  I stamped the image onto a piece of scrap printer paper, and cut it out carefully. Then I threw the image away!  It was the outline I wanted!

After deciding on placement, I laid my makeshift stencil down, and used a Fantastix tool to rub jet black and timber brown stazon ink along one side of it.  Then I flipped it and placed it to create the second small shadow for the reverse image.
Flowery Background 4 x 5 1/4

For my third trick, to make the background more dramatic, I stamped the flowery background image with Versamark clear ink and heat embossed with Ultra High Gloss Embossing powder. 

Both timber brown Stazon and Brilliance Moonlight White were rubbed around the embossed image to bring out the detail and make it look misty.

To put the pieces all together, I did a careful cut and peel of sections from the 2 sided adhesive Miracle sheet--first cutting to the shape of the printed comic page.  I used one of the cut-out panels to make the vellum shapes and word balloons sticky, leaving me with about 2/3 of the Miracle sheet left over for another project another day.  I peeled off the other side and stuck it all onto the background.

The last step was to add the large shadow.  I rubbed some of the timber brown Stazon onto one of the Fantastix coloring tools (they're essentially a stick with a pointed sponge tip, so you can use them like a pen) and colored in the shadow shape.  Then I added some of the Stazon Jet Black to the tool, and darkened the shadow to give it some features.

Since inquiring minds usually want to know, here are the supplies I used to create my comic page.

VLVS! stamps used: SourpussReverse Image StampFlowery Background 

Other supplies:
Miracle Sheet 8.5 x 11
Kromecote Cardstock 8 1/2 x 11 
Ultra High Gloss Embossing Powder  
2 Pieces green Vellum paper 3x3 inches
Adirondack Colorwash-Meadow & Butterscotch
Dylusions Ink Spray-Lemon Zest
Printer paper 8.5 x 11 
Piece of scrap paper 3x3
Fantastix coloring tools
Stazon inkpad-Timber brown & Jetblack
Stazon ink cleaner
Brilliance Inkpad-Moonlight White
Versamark Inkpad-clear
Ink blending tool
Heat gun
Digital banner created by DeeDee Catron for this blog hop

I hope you've enjoyed my blog hop offering

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Meanderings of a Medicated Mind

A while back I had a sinus infection and didn't feel much like doing anything, even tangling.  Oddly, though, the desire to doodle people seized my fevered brain--I don't draw people very often.  I'd forgotten I'd even done these, and rediscovered them the other day whle flipping through my Rhodia dotWebbie.

My Just Because giveaway ends tonight at midnight!

Head over to my Just Because giveaway post to enter for a chance to win a Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook, Distress inkpads, Distress markers, a 6-pen set of Microns and a plate of rubber stamps from Blockheads Paper Arts!  Ends 1/24/13 midnight PST--tonight!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review of Tul Pens from OfficeMax

Shortly before Christmas I won a set of TŪL pens from the Letters and Journals blog (thank you Jackie and OfficeMax!)

I've been playing with my pens for a while, and I like them all for writing.

They're smooth writers--no drag.  They are quick-drying, but with the exception of the marker pen, you can smear them within the first few seconds.  For their price range, these are decent pens and I won't hesitate to purchase more of them in the future.

My favorite is the marker pen.  It gives a nice bold line, and glides across the page.  

The Ballpoint forms blobs on the tip that take longer to dry and thus increases the chance of smearing.  It isn't as noticeable when writing, but very noticeable when drawing.  I also found that it jitters a bit if you write too quickly and leaves a more jagged line.

While, the Ballpoint is the weakest performer,  I was pleased with all of them.  I do prefer them for writing, and they'll be my daily purse carrys that I use for both writing and doodling while standing in line or waiting in offices.

TŪL GL3 Gel Pen Retractable Medium 0.7mm

TŪL RB2 Rollerball Medium 0.7mm

TŪL BP3 Ballpoint Retractable Medium 1.0mm

TŪL Marker Pen Fine 0.8mm

Other Reviews of TŪL Pens:

Letters and Journals
The Pen Addict
The Well-Appointed Desk

Have you entered my Just Because giveaway yet?

Head over to my Just Because giveaway post to enter for a chance to win a Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook, Distress inkpads, Distress markers, a 6-pen set of Microns and a plate of rubber stamps from Blockheads Paper Arts!

Link to Zentangle art giveaway

Sue Clark is having a Celebrate 250 blog followers GIVEAWAY at her blog!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Closed-Just Because Giveaway-Closed

This giveaway is now ended!  An email has been sent to the Cindy and she has responded.  I want to thank everyone who entered!

I'm having a giveaway.  I tried to think of reasons for having one.  I passed 800,000 hits on this blog.  I'm close to 600 followers.  But, in the end, it all boils down to the fact that I WANT to have a giveaway.  Just because.

THE RULES: Leave a comment with contact info.  That can be

an email address, (ex. emailaddy [at] gmail [dot] com
a Facebook name ( only if we are friends.  I'm Sandra Strait on Facebook)
a Twitter name (only if we follow each other.  I'm molossus1 on Twitter.)

One entry per person.  Friending or following isn't a requirement unless you want to be contacted via Facebook or Twitter.  It is NOT a requirement to enter the giveaway.

Everyone is welcome, including international entrants and past winners of my giveaways.

The giveaway starts 1/20/13 and ends midnight 1/24/13-ended(me hoping I'll be able to mail the prize before postage rates go up!). I'll email the winner and announce the name once he/she contacts me.

THE PRIZE PACKAGE (one winner):
Rubber stamp plate: Stackable Ornamentals 2       Donated by Blockheads Paper Arts                

6x8 in (15.2x20.3 cm) Stillman & Birns Alpha Series sketchbook.

 6-pen set of Micron pens.
1 inkpad StazOn - jet black
3 Distress inkpads-Wild Honey, Tea Dye, Walnut Stain (Tea Dye not shown because I can't find where I put it, lol)
4 Distress Markers-Aged Mahogany, Spiced Marmalade, Walnut Stain, Weathered Wood
(The above are all donated by ME!)

I chose the Stillman & Birn Alpha series because its multi-media paper is suitable for almost anything.  You can find more information about their fine books at

StazOn ink may bleed through the page if the stamp is heavily inked, but it also stamps onto ceramic, wood, glass, fabric...almost anything, so I thought it should be a part of everyone's art and crafting goods.

The Tim Holtz Distress inkpads have such a lovely color range that I've been using them for backgrounds as well as stamping pads (see my examples below).  They stamp clear images, are easy to clean up, and the colors I chose are wonderful for achieving a 'distressed' look.

The markers I chose are also from the Tim Holtz Distress range in colors I think will work well with the stamp pad colors I chose.

Some of you may have seen the recent works I've done using Distress inkpads and markers but I decided you need an example here. I drew this in my own copy of the Alpha Series from Stillman and Birn just to give you an idea of what you can do!

I inked up a foam pad with Wild Honey and rubbed the color toward the center of the page to create the moon's shape.  I blended the Tea Dye around the outside edge of the Wild Honey, and then used Walnut stain around the edges of the page.  I added more Wild Honey for the ground and colored the stripes with the Spiced Marmalade marker.

The Microns were used for all the line work, and for the last step I used the walnut stain marker to shadow add color to the leafy plant, around the right side of the moon and the striped tubes.

If  you would like to see more of the fine stamps and crafting goods available from Blockheads Paper Art, their brick'n'mortar store is located in the Portland, Oregon metro area: 

7201 NE Glisan Street Suite C

Portland OR 97213-6369 

Or you can find their entire range of products and crafting goods online at Blockheads Paper Arts.

You can find out more about the entire range of Stillman & Birn sketchbooks at their online site, as well as a list of stores that carry their products.

Good luck everyone!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Links to tangle patterns Jingles & Charris

Poppie_60 has posted the step out to her tangle patterns Jingles and Charris.

Link to tangle pattern Straight Line X

Link to tangle pattern Straight Line X

TanglePatterns String 036

TanglePatterns String 036

Zendala Dare #41

Zendala Dare #41

Owl's Flight

I saw a photo of a sunset. I've been playing around, using Tim Holtz Distress stamp pads to color my backgrounds recently, and immediately I thought of the Summer limited edition colors--Picked Raspberry, Mowed Lawn and Salty Ocean.  Though having used them, I think my drawing looks more like the moon sinking just before sunrise.

Using a foam pad on an ink blending tool, I rubbed the colors onto a page in one of my Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbooks.

I used Distress Markers in Black Soot, Vintage Photo, and Shabby Shutters for the trees and ground.  

Link to tangle pattern Pineapples #2

Neil Burley has posted the step out to his tangle pattern Pineapple #2!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Geneviève Crabe's Weekly Roundup, zentangle, links to tangle patterns

Geneviève Crabe's Weekly Zentangle Roundup 

Link to tangle pattern Y-Ful Power

The link to the new tangle Y-Ful power has been posted at!

Link to tangle patterns Drack and Batch

Helen Williams has posted the step outs to her tangle pattern Drack and Batch!

Link to tangle patterns Squeezles and Smubbles

Ellen Wolters has posted the step outs to her patterns Squeezles and Smubbles!

Hotpots-new tangle pattern

I've had this tangle for a little while and not posted it because--well.  It does look like a lot of little pots, but it also, kind of, looks like little toilets.  *sigh*

But it doesn't so much when you use it, especially if you turn it on it's side, so I decided to go ahead and post it.

For my examples I tried out something new.  Well, not so new, but used a bit differently.  In crafting, tags and cards are often distressed by inking up foam pads with color from stamping inkpads.  I love the glow and antiqued colors that you get this way, and thought--why not do this for a background?

So I did.  With a foam pad, I rubbed color from Tim Holtz Distress inkpads--Old Paper, Shabby Shutters, and Vintage Photo--on a page  in my Rhodia DotWebbie.  I used the same colors in Distress markers to do the line work and shadows (plus the marker Tumbled Glass).

Seashells Washed Ashore
I used the same colors here, but added some Spiced Marigold.  Because my Black Soot Distress marker is out of ink, I used a Micron pigma for the darkest lines.  I highlighted some areas with a gold gel pen.
Freia's tree

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Link to tangle pattern Spinstar

CZT Lara Williams has posted the step-out to her tangle pattern Spinstar! 

Tangle pattern LawnYawns

My latest tangle pattern is a result of insomnia, and patterns thus developed are always a bit strange.

These odd little flower-fungus type thingies seemed like they were yawning.  I envisioned a field of yawning flower-fungus thingies invading the lawn.  It would be an interesting twist on the usual dandelion.

After I drew this, I was off to bed counting LawnYawners til I dozed off to sleep.

Link to tangle pattern PIA

The link to CZT Margaret Bremner's tangle pattern PIA has been posted at

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Link to tangle pattern Jilli

CZT Sue Jacobs has posted the step out to her tangle pattern Jilli!

Part II-Review of the Leuchtturm Pocket Hard Cover Ruled Notebook

Shortly before the end of the year, I won a Leuchtturm Pocket Hard Cover Ruled Notebook from European Paper and wrote a quick review (Part 1), covering the look and feel of the product.  With the holidays coming on, I didn't have time for more.

But since then I've been working away, using various mediums in the notebook, and today I'm sharing my review of the Leuchtturm's performance (is that the right word?  Does a notebook or sketchbook 'perform'. Vroooom, vrooom! Yes.  I think it does, lol)

For reference, here's the Leuchtturm and specs for the book I'm reviewing.  It is a lined notebook, but as usual I draw, paint and scribble in it anyway.

Hard Cover
3.5 x 6 pocketbook size (90x150mm)
185 Numbered Pages
80 gsm Acid-Free Paper
     Paper Color White
     Page Style Ruled
     Elastic Eco Cred Acid-Free (pH Neutral)
     Page Corners Rounded
Matching Elastic Closure & Placeholder
Thread-Bound (Sewn) Binding
Color-coordinated cloth Ribbon
Table of Contents Page
8 Perforated Pages for Quick Notes
Rear Expandable Pocket
Labeling Stickers
Comes in 9 colors.  I received Purple.
Front of page                              Back of page


Most people will use their Leuchtturm for writing, so I pulled out various pens and tested for feathering, smearing, show through and bleed through (to the back of the page).  

At the end of each line, I drew a dot, circling and letting the ink saturate the page.  With drawing you might get this kind of coverage, but it would be unusual for writing unless you were using a very wet pen.  I like to test for the worst case scenarios.

Drying times were a bit slow, but not excessively.  I wrote, counted to 10, and ran my finger across the line.  The dots I'd done using Noodler's ink smeared.  The written lines did not. The same thing is true for the Pentel Energel.  

Although my scan doesn't show it well, in all cases the show through is heavier than I expected. The only bleed through came from the Noodler's North African Violet, which was written with a Lamy Safari extra broad nib. 

There was no feathering (except from the damaged Micron Pigma and that is due to the pen).

Art pens

The top of this page was done with a Micron Pigma .05 and the bottom with a .005.  While I personally prefer a larger size journal for drawing in, I can't complain about the paper.  The lines are bold and crisp, giving a sharp contrast.  The paper is smooth, so it's more difficult to get the wispy lines I love--you need more tooth for that--but it's easy to control and balance your lights and darks.

Alcohol Marker

Next up I used my Copic alcohol markers.  I was very surprised.  The paper in the Leuchtturm is hard and smooth, but not slick, and I expected fairly bright coloring.  Instead it was muted, almost a tint.  Bleedthrough to the back of the page was about 75%.  

I found the lighter color rather refreshing but had to be careful with the linework (done with a Micron Pigma).  I usually do very dense work with heavy shading, but the color would have drowned if I'd done that here.

Colored Pencil

After my experience with the alcohol markers I wasn't surprised that colored pencils also resulted in a muted tones.  I used Lyra Rembrandts, which are not overly waxy and usually have a deep pigment.  I wasn't able to build up layers of color, but still find the delicate tones pleasing.

Wax Pastels

Now I was curious to see if I could get deeper tones.  I also wanted to try some wet medium, so I colored a page using Neocolor II wax pastels.  These look like crayons.  Only crayons that go on with deep smears of pigment.  Then you take a brush and blend the colors with water or a Dove blender.

As you can see, the tones are still muted, but much deeper than I achieved with colored pencils. 

I used a Dove blender for this.  It isn't quite as wet as water and there was no dimpling, and only the slightest curl at the edge of the paper.  There was no show through or bleed through.  However, when I tangled with a Micron, afterwards, it caused a debossed effect on the back of the page, where the pen lines are slightly raised.  This didn't happen when I drew with the same pens without prior coloring, so I believe the Dove blender changes the quality of the paper.

Faber-Castell Gelatos

I'm not sure what Faber-Castell Gelatos are, exactly.  They look like lipstick, and you smear them on, leaving a sort of waxy paste, and then you buff them dry, or wet them and use them like water-colors.  They tend to clog art pens a bit, so I just did a rough sketch.  

I was impressed at how well the Leuchtturm handled the Dove Blender, so I wanted to see what would happen when the paper got really wet.  I smeared on some black and some white gelato, and then sprayed the page until the paper was soft and sagging. I used a brush to spread the color a little, but mostly just let it run. When it dried I added a little detail with metallic markers.

After the pages dried, you could tell I'd used water.  There's a little dimpling, and the paper has that 'crackling' that occurs after you add water.  It isn't much though.  You could use this book for watercolor washes.

Water-soluable markers

Tim Holtz Distress Markers are water-soluble markers with a soft brush end and then a hard plastic tip at the other end.  I used a wet brush (water) to blend the colors, but didn't saturate the page nearly as much. There was just the slightest of dimpling and curl at the edges.  No crackle.

The colors are muted, but the pigment's richer than it was with alcohol markers.  There was no pilling, which I often get with these markers (I am using them differently than they were intended for-giving those brush tips a work out, lol).

Although, I like the delicate colors I get in this book, I'll be more likely to stay with black and white drawings. I wouldn't use colored pencil, but wouldn't hesitate to use wet mediums.

It's a pleasure to write in, but the amount of show through on the back of the page may be disturbing to some.  It's a sturdy make without being too heavy, and is flexible enough that you can fold it back like a spiral bound, if needed.

I believe I'm going to use this notebook as my daily purse carry, which means it will be used for notes and doodling when I'm waiting around. 

You can find the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook at European Paper .  I want to thank them again for their generous giveaway and for giving the chance to review this notebook!

Ginger Horse #ZentangleInspiredArt #FountainPen #PenAndInk

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