First Journal Sketch of the Year

January 6, 2014


Above: First page spread in my first journal for 2014—a 5.5 x 8 inch Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media SOFT-COVER/BOUND journal with SEWN signatures. Warm up sketch from photo projected on my computer screen—it was below zero and too cold for me to go to the zoo and walk around between the buildings! Even I have my limit on cold.) Staedtler Pigment Liner and light washes of Schmincke gouache.

I've been away from the computer most of the past week, back only to check on a couple messages and get gone again. Typically I'll have posts in the queue that simply post while I'm away, but not this time. But I'm getting back into the swing of posting today.

I returned to my computer to find that my friend Ricë Freeman-Zachery had written a post: Roz Stendahl is Brilliant over at Create Mixed Media a North Light Books blog. It made me smile and laugh. (Ricë does that.

She was writing about my New Year's Day ritual and how she was going to get her variation done.

I can't take any credit for that particular brilliance, however, because my ritual grew out of a discussion I had with a wise artist (alluded to in that post but who wanted to be anonymous).

I don't know if I'm a type A person or a type B person or where I rank on all those quadrants of the various personality tests. (I took several decades ago when I worked outside the home and they seemed rather silly because on any given day you can answer differently, even fifteen minutes later. To put it another way, I had a boss who hired me for my writing skills, and after a year of working with me referred to me as "so visual" in a staff meeting.) Let's just say I do know that before I spoke with my friend my New Year's Day ritual was a bit more of a scorched earth policy type of thing. A real push to get a lot done. And not something I really enjoyed much.

Having dogs for a number of years got me part way there. The dogs made me ready to accept my friend's wisdom. Now every year I do in fact fill the first day of the New Year with a little bit of everything I love.

So this year I got a sketch done in the morning "before the day got away from me." It was too cold to go to the zoo so I wouldn't be put off—I sketched anyway. I didn't stress about the cold, or the frustration of not seeing the live animals to sketch—I just sketched and went on to the next thing. There will be plenty of time to go to the zoo when Minnesota thaws a little bit.

I had several discussions with Dick throughout the day. It was the one day during his holiday that we didn't watch a movie. (Look I'm pretty much going to do enough movie viewing all year long anyway, so I don't need to make a point of it on New Year's Day.)

I even managed to test a new product—the 5.5 x 8 inch Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media SOFT-BOUND journal with sewn signatures. Of course I've already reviewed this paper—the Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper is my favorite mixed media paper (be sure to get the 500 series). You can read my thoughts about the paper and also the other mixed media papers from Strathmore by entering "Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media" into this blog's search engine. Let's just say it is one of my all time favorite papers because of its qualities and versatility.

What's new about "the product" today is the soft-bound journal. This is a newer product from Strathmore. The covers of this bound journal are flexible cardstock with a laminate covering that's chocolate brown. (The signatures are sewn just like Strathmore's hard covered journals.)  

Why would you want a soft-covered/soft-bound journal you ask?

Well I think some people prefer this type of journal because it squishes into already filled-to-the-brim packs and purses. And some people like the lighter weight for the same size of journal with hard covers. 

But what everyone agrees on is that they need sewn signatures and so many soft-cover/bound journals are perfect bound and therefore worthless. (Perfect bound means you have single sheets stacked together and coated on the spine edge with glue like a pad of paper—that's all that holds the pages in and when you open a perfect bound journal the pages fall out sooner rather than latter.)

Strathmore has made a soft-cover/bound journal with SEWN SIGNATURES so these pages aren't going to fall out.

Now as to how the covers will wear and so on, I can't say because I'm only about 14 spreads into this book. I'll have more to say when I fill the journal—preferably with some pages made at the zoo if it warms up a bit!

I'll keep you posted. But I wanted to alert you to the fact that these books are available. You can get them with watercolor pages and also tan or gray drawing paper. So if a soft-cover/bound journal is what you need you look into this product.

I hope 2014 got off to a good start for you and you're several page spreads into whatever new journal you're working in.

P.S. Dick just came in and said, "You're just as snotty this year as you were last year." I guess it's going to be a good year!

    • Miss T
    • January 6, 2014

    Dick cracks me up!

    • Molly Vollmer
    • January 6, 2014

    Brillant beginning to the year. You didn’t say what kind of bird. I have Audubon’s 2014 Songbird calendar. Each month is double paged. January has over 20 bird photos! Very helpful to a shutin. Here’s hoping that 2014 has more health and happiness for all of us.

  1. Reply

    Molly, sorry I don’t know which type of finch this is. It isn’t in the book near the aviary and finches aren’t my speciality. The birds they have there are not local species, but fancy “pet” type brought in from other areas.

    Stay warm. Hope you have a great 2014!

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