Above: Quick pear sketches using the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (PPBP) in a handmade journal made with defunct printmaking paper that I'm totally besotted with.
Slowly, inevitably, I am working my way through this journal I made in the early 2000s with the last of a now defunct printmaking paper. It is so fabulous not only as bookbinding paper, but for all the visual arts.
You'll see a tab in the gutter. I actually bound this book with tabs because I collage a lot in my journals and this creates extra space at the spine for that added bulk and protects the spine. However I don't recommend you do this if you're binding your own books. It creates a book that is lower at the fore edge than the spine and when you finish casing it in and have to quick whip it into a press or under some weights, you have to first put in some clean blank waste paper at various points in the textblock to offset this—but this can lead to some impressing of the lines of those inserted papers into the pages of the book if you don't get it right, and you shouldn't be opening your book yet anyway (all my students can hear my voice in their head telling them this), and time is a-wasting!
The sad thing is that I have this lovely book with great space for collage and I haven't collaged anything in it because I want to use each of these pages for ink or paint.
It is wonderful the way the PPBP and other pens move across this surface. The paper is very smooth, but there is a very slight tooth and that tooth allows you to get interesting "dry' brush shading with the pen. Let's just say it is always fun to work on this paper. On Thursday I'd been at the computer most of the day and really wanted to sketch so I savored the moment.
Friday morning on my bike ride I came up with a wonderful plan on how to use the tabs while still savoring all the pages for sketching—if I decide to follow through on that at an event in a couple weeks I will post about it again here.
Enjoy your favorite papers while you have them. Don't let your internal critic or your inclination to resistance fake you out into setting them aside for when you've reached your peak, or mastered your skills, or the planets are in alignment.
Saving or hoarding for another day—it's not a good thing. Work more NOW!
Don't buy into the Myth of Scarcity. You'll find something else to work on later. Something you'll be able to turn to your hand because you've prepared yourself.
Appreciate your materials while you work with them. That loving appreciation will help you recognize the next favorite when it presents itself.
Here's an idea: You know that favorite, really special pen that you put in a drawer and are saving until you can hatch like Anders Zorn? Or those paint sticks that cost the earth but you just don't have the hang of yet, but will some day when you understand perspective? Or…? You fill in the blank.
Go get it/them out right now. Unwrap them; fill them up with ink if necessary; and have them right on hand ready to be called into action the next time you are setting out to sketch or are going into the other room to sketch your luncheon vegetables.
And use them.
Everyday, for as long as you can.
And during that time, write on your pages about how it feels to use them; what they feel like against the paper you're working on; how they create lines that you like, or blend in ways that you hunger for.
Write about everything you notice. SAVOR the entire experience—which includes writing about how they smell (especially if you are using paper, never forget how wonderful paper can smell).
When you run out, or if you lose something, or drop it and it isn't fixable—have a moment of silence to honor your partner in sketching. Thank it for the help and insight it gave you.
Then go to your drawer and get something else to work with. (You can even draw your old tool in commemoration.)
And get right back to work.