The Stan Files Volume I #02

Stan thinks 45°F is perfect grilling weather…

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Daffodils and robins

The weather is slowly warming up in the garden. Today and tomorrow are pushing 60°F and 70ºF. We did have a thick mat of snow for Sunday, but once the sun came out that quickly disappeared.

Garden journal 021718As I walked around the yard on Saturday, everywhere I looked I could see daffodils pushing up through the garden debris. We grow a lot of daffodils. Once they start to show color in their buds I cut them by the handful to bring inside. I will leave a few flowers from each clump to enjoy in the yard, but having fresh cut flowers inside is so nice.

Garden journal 021818I had a chance Sunday to fire up the grill, 45°F is grilling weather for me. While I was out there I could hear several robins in the neighborhood trees. Every week more and more birds are arriving. I still haven’t seen the wrens that take up residence in our yard in the summer, but I think it’s still a bit too cold for them.

Garden journal 021918The maple trees are also starting to flower. Another welcome sight of spring. The branches are becoming covered in clusters of red buds. Even from a distance you can see the trees getting a red hue to them.

I’ve always enjoyed nature and watching it change season to season. But since I’ve started on this daily visual garden journal I am seeing so much more. I find myself looking up at the trees and down at the dirt all the time. Listening to the sounds, smelling the air. Really focusing on the physical world around me. With this world becoming more and more attached to devices, I really hope that by me sharing these images and thoughts someone will stop, even for a minute, and just look at the world outside. There is so much more than what we hold in our hands. Please enjoy it.

That’s all the rambles for today – thank you – Erik

Could this be the Holy Grail of sketchbooks?

I have spent the last several years looking for the perfect sketchbook. I think I can honestly say I have purchased and tried everything out there. I have two cabinets loaded with partially used sketchbooks. I have also passed along several of my trial and error sketchbooks to a budding young artist.

What makes a perfect sketchbook for me? It really comes down to just a few key things. My preferred tools for sketching are pencil and pen sometimes together. I also use both fiber tipped pens and fountain pens, and I will occasionally use bottled ink and or art markers to add a little color. The sketchbook MUST be able to handle all of these. Smooth enough for pen, yet just enough tooth for the pencil.

That’s where the Landland sketchbooks come in. For me, these little books handle all those requirements with style, and a few additional perks.

Landland sketchbooks

Let’s start with the covers. Landland is a screen printing company, the amazing covers are their leftover and sample prints for their posters. Most of the covers in my collection have been hit multiple times, which I love. The front cover is folded in half making it a nice sturdy thickness. The back cover is also folded in half but they cut the inside flap creating a pocket, a really nice touch.

The paper is 70 pound text paper from the French Paper Company. French Paper is a family owned, US based paper mill. The paper has a great balance of smooth and tooth to handle both pen and pencil with ease. The 70 pound weight also makes it incredibly fountain pen friendly, and fiber tipped pen friendly. I can and have used both sides of the page with little to no bleed-through from both pens. I can also apply fountain pen ink with a brush from the bottle without issue. Now, my AD Markers do bleed through, but let’s be honest, they bleed through everything. The paper is also a nice soft white without being too beige or too bright, and it has a nice speckle to it.

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Landland sketchbook with Robert Oster inks

011818 chickadee back

Reverse side of the chickadee drawing shown above

The two samples above show the amount bleed-through when using fountain pen ink applied with a brush.

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Landland sketchbook with Robert Oster ink

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Reverse side of the the chickadee drawing shown above

The two samples above show the bleed-through when using a fountain pen, the bottom image is the reverse side of the blue chickadee. The image ghosting through hardly interferes with the wren drawn with pencil and art pens.

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Landland sketchbook with art pens and AD Markers

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Landland sketchbook with pencil

These books are bound on the short side, for landscape use. I thought that might bother me, I’m used to working portrait with binding on the long side, but I’m really enjoying this format. And because I drop them vertically in my messenger bag I don’t need to worry about the binding get snagged on anything in the bag. The books also have nicely rounded corners that I find keeps them from getting dinged-up.

I carry two of these sketchbooks with my everyday; one as a daily garden journal, and one for whatever I feel like scribbling around with. Unless Landland or French Paper make some serious changes to either product or format, I don’t see a need for me to keep searching for the dream sketchbook. I found my Holy Grail of sketchbooks

This is the link to Landland’s home page – http://landland.net/
This is the link to Landland’s store – Store
This is the link to Landland’s sketchbooks –Sketchbooks
This is the link to my favorite t-shirt that Landland sells – highly recommend grabbing this one, it looks way more fantastic in person – Awesome t-shirt

Disclaimer: This review is my own opinion of the above mentioned product. I was not asked, coerced, or requested to share my opinion. I was also not paid, threatened, given free samples, or bribed with a puppy.

Thanks for reading my not too long review – Erik!

Spring is slowly coming to the garden

This has been a wild week for weather in our garden. Tuesday morning the temperature was 16°F, by Thursday morning it was 49°F. This morning it’s a more seasonal 37°F.

I’ve started using AD Markers again with my sketching. I love these markers, best out there in my opinion. They do bleed through the Landland paper, but markers bleed through everything. It just means I’ll be buying more of these little sketchbooks.

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Everyday that I get to go outside I feel better. Just smelling the dirt and hearing the sounds is so nice. This morning I could hear several song birds. Knowing they have returned to the yard is a real treat, a nice change of pace from the usual chatter of the sparrows. Nothing against the sparrows, they are good for keeping the bug population in check, but they aren’t my favorite bird in the yard.

wren 021318This is a quick wren I drew over lunch. I keep a limited number of colored pencils in my pencil bag, I think just this blue and green actually. Mixing these with the graphite pencil and pen gives me just enough color variety to keep it a bit fresh. I could invest in another pencil bag, but my messenger bag is already heavy enough.

That’s all for today, thanks for taking the time to read my rambles…Erik

 

 

 

The daily garden journal and a bonus chickadee

It feels like winter is really holding on tight. I realize we aren’t officially in spring, but once January hits I’m pretty much ready for the snow to be gone and spring to arrive. Wishful thinking, I know.

I was looking out the back door on Sunday hoping to see something that would inspire me to draw. But there is only so much you can do with snow-covered grass and bare branches poking up around the garden. As I was standing there holding my pencil and Landland sketchbook, I could hear the tea kettle rumbling away on the counter top. And then it hit, the tea kettle. One of my favorite kitchen gadgets. Especially this time of year.

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I found a couple of pencils from General Pencil Company rolling around the back of a drawer, that’s what I used for this quick sketch. Really nice pencils too.

This morning as I took my seat at my art table, I looked out the window behind me and noticed how the rooftops made an interesting pattern in front of the trees. I have the window shade in my room adjusted so the top is just about eye level for me, so when I sit my view is mostly trees and sky.

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That was the winning view for today’s garden journal.

I promise, once spring arrives the garden journal will be far more garden than what I see out the window. Or in the kitchen. But I am trying to keep to the theme!

I was able to sneak in a quick chickadee sketch at lunch today.

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I went with my Landland sketchbook and Robert Oster Signature Ink, Soda Pop Blue, loaded my 05 Preppy pen. Here is the link to Robert Oster Signature Ink. Wonderful inks. Both from a pen and from the bottle with a brush. I prefer to use these inks instead of watercolors with my pencil and pen drawings. The colors are very deep and vibrant.

That’s all for today – thanks – Erik

 

The garden journal and a new project

The daily garden journal continues. To be honest I really picked a challenging time of year to start a garden journal. It’s cold, snowy, and not a lot is happening in the garden. But I also enjoy the challenge that adds. I’ve been using a variety of fiber tip pens and fountain pens for my drawings. The fountain pens are great when I’m using colored ink, but the fiber tip pens are my first choice for black lines. The Faber-Castell PITT pens have always been my favorite. Over the years I have tried several different brands and styles of fountain pens, but I keep coming back the Preppy pens from Platinum. The $3.00 price on these pens is also hard to beat.

020518 begonia020618 fresh snowfall020718 morning tea020818 redbud020918 cut flowers021018 wisteria arbor

I am now using a sketchbook from Landland, I’ll go over the details for this switch in a future post. But this is a great little sketchbook!

 

For several years I have been drawing an alter ego in various shapes and styles. I’ve named him Stan. I wanted to include a female companion for Stan, but I haven’t been able to come up with a figure I was really happy with. So Stan has a little bird. That’s his companion through life.

020618 stan

Stan usually isn’t this angry, but he’s rather frustrated with the current weather conditions. I’ve decided to create a weekly comic strip featuring Stan. I haven’t decided which day I’ll post Stan, but my goal is to be consistent with the posting. I am a big fan of Field Notes pocket notebooks, those will be the notebooks I will be using for The Stan Files. The size and portability of the notebooks will really help me be consistent with the comic. I also think the faint grid lines will keep things a bit more free and organic. More spontaneous.

That’s all for this post, thanks for stopping by – Erik