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

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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

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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

 

 

 

Sketching with AD Markers and planning this year’s holiday card

I haven’t had time over the last week for watercolors, but I am trying to find time for some quick pen and marker sketches.

We are growing a cutting garden this year and one of the seed packets we bought was a mix of mini sunflowers. They look so fun in the garden, and they make great cutting flowers for bouquets inside! They will be making a return next year. Down the road from the office there is a large construction site, a bean field is being turned into a hotel. The other day I spotted these two surveyors walking the site, their bright orange shirts really stood out against all the piles of fresh rock. The Post It Note was from a coworker who thought I needed a task for the day. I’m glad she gave me the task!

I’m also working on new ideas for this years holiday card.

I am currently leaning towards drawing B, with the two figures walking in the snow. I haven’t decided if I will paint the finished design in a loose watercolor style or go with the pen and watercolor sketch. I will post all updates as I go along.

Thanks for stopping by…Erik

Sketching with fountain pens and AD Markers

I’ve been mixing the AD Markers with my fountain pen sketches again, and I’m loving the results. I was planning to do some pen and watercolor sketches, but I don’t enjoy the results I get with the fountain pens and watercolor paper. I have truly tried every watercolor paper and watercolor sketchbook out there, and I just haven’t found a combo that works for me. My favorite watercolor paper is Saunders Waterford from St Cuthberts Mill. The cold press is great for watercolor, but the texture is a bit too rough for my pen lines.

I’m still bouncing around between a few different sketchbooks, no one ever said you can only work in one at a time!

Each of the three sketches are in three different sketchbooks. The potted white zinnia is in a blank Leuchtturm1917 A5 journal, the tree is a Strathmore 400 series sketchbook, and the pink zinnia is in an A5 Paper-Oh grid notebook.

That’s all for today…thanks…Erik

Welcome to my new site!

Welcome to my new site! It’s been a while since I’ve kept a blog, and to be honest I have missed it.

Most of what you’ll find here will be daily sketching and some random rambles and photography. I have always been a fan of doodling and little sketches, after years of making what I would call gallery art I was feeling a burnt out. I was spending a lot of time trying to make art that I thought people would buy. I’m now getting back to the fun and spontaneity of quick sketches and doodles. I also hope to toss in some urban sketching along the way.

This website will see some transformation as time goes on, but I will continue to build and post continually. For those of you who decide to follow by email, I will not be posting daily. I’m planning on posting once or twice a week, I won’t be flooding your email!

Thanks for stopping by…Erik