Monday, November 29, 2010

Eco-friendly O'Bon Pencils

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The more I dabble into all things artsy, the more I am drawn to things other than pen and ink.  Why?  Well, it really is rather nice to be able to erase errors... but I have to admit that I have always had a love for pencils, generally of the mechanical kind though.

Prior to the overthrow of society, by all things computer, the pencil was king.  I'm a CPA, in my other life,  and believe me when I say that you definitely did not want to have to completely redo a tax return for an error on the first line that was not found until the last line.  So yes, we prepared tax returns by hand and filled in the forms with a pencil.  I only wish that I had such pretty pencils to work with then.

Okay, pencils have now become a tool of the artist or, in my case, the wannabe artist.  Sketching, shading, doodling... so last week at the art store I came across these very cool looking animal print pencils.  Now, if a pencil has a downfall it is generally that it is not particularly ecofriendly.  After all, most pencils are made from wood and the last thing we want is to cut down trees for our art supplies.  So, enter O'Bon.

From the O'Bon website:

The World's Greatest Pencils
Made of the highest quality. These sharpen better, write cleaner and last longer than your standard dull pencil.
Made from Newspaper  
Finally, a true environmentally-friendly pencil. All O’BON pencils are made from recycled newspaper, tightly rolled around our excellent graphite. The result is a longer-lasting pencil that is fun and easy to sharpen. Ask a child to sharpen an O’BON pencil and enjoy the "oohs" and "aahs" of excitement and interest as old newspaper unfurls. At O'BON we make pencils that are uniquely different, with a great story embedded in the shavings.
Stunning Designs 
The first thing you’ll notice about O’BON pencils are the incredible designs. Beautiful prints in wildlife, rainbow or newsprint themes add color and fun to your writing and drawing. We are firmly against eco-friendly products being green and brown or bland and boring, and refuse to fall in line. So whether you use our pencils at home, in class or at work, rest assured they will always stand out.
Earth Friendly
We live in the midst of major environmental concerns where hundreds of acres of trees are chopped down in minutes to provide us with products we already have better alternatives for. This is why every O'BON product is manufactured using recycled or reusable materials.  Every year, thousands of new individuals say “NO” to wood pencils, and in return we plant a tree for every O'BON purchase.

These pencils are wonderful.  They put down a great line, sharpen easily and they are pretty.  The only style available to me at my art store was the wildlife pencils, which is just fine, it's what I would have chosen. Additionally, these pencils aren't hard on the pocket book, at 10 for $4.25 or $0.425 each, they really are a deal (I noticed that they are $5 for 10 on the website).

While you are on the O'Bon website, checkout the other great eco-friendly products that they have to offer, like the Sugarcane Series notebooks made with bagasse paper, or perhaps you'd rather have birds on your notebooks.  They also have an artist set of pencils and colored pencils available.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving USA - Happy Thursday Everyone Else

Today, of course, is Thanksgiving here in the USA - so I just want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and a wonderful time joyously spent with family and friends.

Be safe and don't eat or drink too much.

See you after the holiday.

To all my international friends, I wish you a wonderful and joyous Thursday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ecosystem Artist Journal Watermelon Large

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The Ecosystem Artist Journal in large is the largest journal that I currently own - it measures 7-1/4" by 9-3/4" - this is definitely not a book that you can slip into your pocket.

Here is is next to my large Moleskine sketchbook.

And with my large Webnotebook.

From the Ecosystem website:

the ecosystem life

An ecosystem notebook has a unique past, present and future: The book's past is the various parts made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper, its present is your thoughts and ideas recorded on the pages, and the future is your next step: save the book, or recycle it.

e•co sys•tem art•ist [ek-oh sis-tem ahr-tist]

An individual who utilizes their imagination to produce works that are beautiful and kind to the earth.

creativity is about options

Because you are creative, imaginative, and cherish the freedom to express yourself, each ecosystem artist item features blank paper inside. The 100% post-consumer recycled paper is smooth and perfect for creating your works of art.
Choose a cover format, flexi or hard; choose from our wide variety of colors; and, for a final touch, think about a pocket-insert for added functionality.

This particular notebook has a flexible cover.  If you don't like creases and dents definitely opt for the hardcover.  I do very much like the watermelon color, but not caring for blank covers I had to add some decoration.  Crystal paw prints (from Michael's) and my pawprint stamp.

The paper in this journal is a bright white, which I personally prefer for all my writing and drawing.  Also, all the pages are microperforated for removal if you so desire. 

Keep in mind that this paper is 100% post-consumer recycled, so it is fairly lightweight.  That being said there is substantial show through and even some bleed through with my Sakura Pigma Micron and my Copic Multiliner SP (these pens do not bleed through on higher quality paper). 

Pretty much the same result with fountain pens with some feathering added in.

The prerequisite back pocket and, unique to the Ecosystem journals, a registration number which will provide you will detailed information about your journal and potentially return it to you if it is ever lost.

Now all that being said, you would think that I might not like this journal - large, so-so paper, so-so cover.   But, and I don't know why, this journal somehow appeals to me.  I like using it and I like carrying it.  So what if the paper and cover aren't perfect, it makes me happy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More from the Art Journal

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This is the first Artist's Trading Card (ATC) that I have done.  It has been mailed to a very good friend.

A few more ATCs

Monday, November 15, 2010

Moleskine Van Gogh Museum Sketchbook

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Sometime in October there was a Tweet that said Amazon had these Moleskine Sketchbooks on sale for $4.99 each, that is $20 less that the normal retail for these small notebooks so I grabbed two while they were available.

I like these sketchbooks, they are great for every medium, except watercolor and this small, 3-1/2 x 5-1/2 inch sized is great for carrying in pocket or purse.

Moleskine is not generally my first choice in a notebook, their regular paper does not play well with fountain pens, but the sketchbooks perform admirably and I have been using a larger version for my art journal.

At this price I had to grab a couple. (Interesting, I just noticed that, unlike the large regular Moleskine sketchbook, these small Museum sketchbooks do not have a ribbon marker.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Featured Pen - Stypen Creeks n' Creeks Set

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Ok, Ok, - not posting to my blog is driving me crazy.  I hand wrote this post before I succumbed.

The following in from a news release dated May 19, 2004:
PARIS, May 19 /PRNewswire/ --
Effective today, BIC has acquired 100% of Stypen SA, a French manufacturer of writing instruments since 1934. Stypen, which specialises in refillable fountain pens, recorded sales of EUR 17m in 2003. The Company is present mainly in France.
This acquisition illustrates BIC's strategy to develop its stationery business in new segments. Stypen has a 10% share of the "school refillable fountain pen" category, one of the largest writing instrument segments in France today. In addition, Stypen has an attractive portfolio of licensed brands, as well as an imprinted business, which BIC will leverage to strengthen its position in Europe.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper - November 9, 2010

Well, it's time for another fun carnival.  This month the carnival is hosted by The Pen Addict, so be sure to drop in and say "hi!!".

Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper - November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Apica Notebook - CD-10

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The APICA CD series notebooks are imported from Japan and are made from acid-free paper. Sophisticated designs, modern styling and a variety of colors and sizes.

This particular notebook is the CD-10, which measures 105 x 148 mm, or 4-1/4 x 5-3/4 inches, it is the perfect size for pocket or purse.

The paper is 52 sheets ruled, smooth.

They handle fountain pen ink extremely well, with no bleed through or feathering and very little show through. I highly recommend these notebooks if you have not tried them before. You may purchase these notebooks at The Daily Planner, Stylus Fine Pens, WetPaint, Amazon or eBay.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Clairefontaine Roadbook Followup

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So this is a follow-up to my previous review of the Clairefontaine Roadbook.  I took the Clairefontaine Roadbook with me on my recent trip to NYC to use as a daily journal to keep track of  where we went and what we saw every day.  It was also used as a sketchbook and fountain pen tester. Prior to leaving I added my own little pocket in the back, out of a piece of paper from a multimedia sketchbook.

This little notebook held up very well throughout the whole trip, with only one complaint: the glue on the front and back covers did not hold very well, although the glue on the spine remained intact. With this one exception, it performed admirably. Oh, yeah, they really should add the pocket.