First: Today's doodle (this will allow you to skip my rambling if you want to).
|Costume design doodle - Graphite, mechanical pencil and some ink using a micron pen on plain moleskine notebook. Aprox: 30 mins.|
I enjoy drawing outfits, I have been playing with designs of a coat like this for a while. I am not very good at sewing (my biggest achievement so far has been an cute pleated apron), so I doubt I'll ever be able to make something like this.
|Shiba Inu - Graphite, mechanical pencil and some ink using micron pens on plain moleskine notebook. Aprox: 20 mins.|
And now, to the rambling: you might have noticed that I use moleskine notebooks a lot for drawing. This doesn't come out of a devotion for the brand or type of notebook, it is actually kind of a silly story.
While in college I would mostly draw on any sketchbook I found on sale, I would go to Michaels and buy a bunch of whichever was "buy one get one free" and then apply a coupon to keep my costs down, (thrifty sketchbook hoarders, unite!).
When you are sketching it really doesn't matter what paper you use, sure, you can have a favorite, maybe you like something more rough that your pencil can grab onto, maybe you like smooth paper to glide over, but in the end, any paper is good when you just need to pour out some ideas. Getting a sketchbook helps keeping your doodles wrangled in one place though, otherwise you end up with a bunch of loose sheets floating about and they get difficult to store and keep track of.
It is also nice to see the drawings in order and figure out where you improved or what needs more work.
All in all, you don't need a fancy notebook to begin with, that said, sometimes a fancy notebook is nice.
I ended up with a rather sizable collection of moleskins when Borders went under. There was a Borders bookstore very close to my office, I used to visit and buy books on time to time during my lunch break, when the "going out of business" sales started I would check stuff out on time to time as the price cuts got deeper each week.
During one of my excursions I noticed and entire moleskine display with a big SALE sign on it. At first the different colors available caught my eye. I just automatically went for the blue and turquoise ones, but as I looked them over and discovered most of them were unruled... I sort of lost it and let my art supply hoarding tendencies take over.
I am sure everybody has a dormant (or not so dormant) magpie like reflex that allows you to hoard stuff, for some it is all about shoes, for others shiny things and jewelry in general, some like purses, others clothes, etc but for me... it is all about art supplies, especially pencils, brushes and acrylic paint colors. I am not kidding, I normally take my husband with me to the art store because he will tell me when I am getting out of control. My eye literally twitches and I have to take several steps back and have a little talk with myself about budget, needs, and space.
Anyway, this time my husband was there as well, but before he could do anything to stop me, I had loaded an entire basket with moleskine notebooks (I will also add, I had never owned one before, so I was def. going out of my gourd), and I was guarding them with Smeagol-like zeal... I might or might not have uttered a "My preciousss" while stroking my loot. I guess we were lucky they didn't have carts available, otherwise I might have just emptied the entire display into one and laughed maniacally all the way down the check-out line and out the door.
Once we got home and dropped the bag filled with notebooks onto the living room's floor I started to figure out the scale of the purchase I had just made. Moleskines are not famous for being cheap, I was lucky and they were on sale, and even if they had been affordable run of the mill notebooks, the sheer amount of bound paper I had just brought into the house would still be ridiculous.
Don't believe me? Ok well, here's a photo of what's left. I have used about 3 other packs of notebooks already.
|Behold! Mount Doom Notebook!|
The poor notebooks sat on a bookshelf glaring at me for months. I know notebooks can't glare, but to me, it felt as if they were... judging me along the way for not cracking one open already and draw.
Now that I have been drawing again and going through a notebook here and there I can say... I like them!
They are smart-looking, the paper is high quality stuff, my graphite and leads slide on the surface easily and that helps keep my hand from cramping up. The smaller sizes are great to keep on my purse and doing quick sketches, the larger ones are good for more detailed drawing, but I wouldn't recommend it to lay down drawings you intend to develop a lot.
The pages are too thin for really heavy inking, they do work well with some ink, they can wield some watercolor use but wrinkle at the edges. Still, the watercolor won't bleed through to the next page, which I was surprised about. I am probably going to tinker with acrylics and see how they do with those.
Several of my creative friends say they don't buy moleskines just because they are intimidated to doodle on them. They feel pressured to turn every page into a beautiful drawing, and I can totally understand why. When you see what other artists do with theirs, you sort of feel like you have to take advantage of yours and make it amazing. I decided I didn't care, that it was MY notebook and anyway, it was just blank paper, so I dove right in, but that's just me.
Hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a bookshelf's worth of filled-in notebooks to feel proud of, not because every page is an incredible piece of art, but because I kept trying, even when I messed up... and in the end, isn't that with life is all about?