Getting My Sketching Mojo Back with a Pumpkin and a Prompt

After eight months of sketching non-stop with my fountain pens and inks, my creativity finally went missing. For the last two months, I was hoping it would come back. It has slowly. I try not to force it. There are some days when I feel as though I should be doing something creative, but all I do is stare at a blank page for a few minutes. Then I would close my art journal and carry on with my other daily activities.

My Graphite Sketch

When I get stuck in a creative rut, I always fall back to sketching with my favorite art medium using graphite pencils. I used my mechanical pencil to sketch out an outline. I used my 2.0mm clutch pencil to create the dark lines and shading. I used my blending tortillon to blend/smudge the graphite onto my paper and to soften the harsh lines.

My Pen & Ink Wash Sketch

A few days later, I created a pen & ink wash sketch of my pumpkin. I used my Copic Multiliner to sketch the outline and also added contour lines to create the darker areas of the pumpkin. I used two fountain pen ink colors Oklahoma City and Steely Days for the pumpkin. For the stem, I used Kansas City and Melon Tea. For the shadow area under the pumpkin, I used Oklahoma City and then dabbed a bit of Thunderstorm and used my water brush to blend out and away.

My Watercolor Sketch

I was toying with the idea of getting back into using my watercolor paints for my artwork. Why not, right? I pulled out my Sennelier watercolor set and enjoyed my time mixing my paint colors. I used mostly a wet on dry technique since the paper I was using could only take light washes. For the last layer, I used a damp brush with my teal paint mix and created a few contour strokes to enhance the shape of my pumpkin.

Challenge: Find a pumpkin to use in your sketches. Use a picture if you can’t find a real or fake pumpkin. Use your pencil to create a graphite sketch. Then use your fountain pens and ink to create the second pumpkin sketch. If you have another art medium available (watercolor, charcoal, pastel, etc) create a third sketch.

My Art Journals:

Leda Art Supply Medium-size (5.7″x8.25″) with graphite pencils.

Stillman & Birn Alpha 7.5″x7.5″ softcover with fountain pen & ink.

hand●book journal co. 5.5″x5.5″ square with watercolor paints.

My Art Mediums:

Graphite – Pentel Energize Pencil with 0.7mm HB lead and Staedtler Clutch Pencil 925 35-20 with 2.0mm HB lead.

Fountain Pens & Inks – TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Robert Oster Oklahoma City, Steely Days, Kansas City, Melon Tea, and Thunderstorm

Watercolor Mixes: Sennelier French Artists Watercolor Travel Set (12). Lemon Yellow and Sepia to create yellow ochre. Ultramarine Deep and Sepia to create dark brown. Forest Green and Ultramarine Deep to create teal green.

Watercolor Brushes: Escoda 1548 Versatil Series Artist Watercolor Travel size 4 & 6

Workshop Prompt – Labor Day Weekend

Update (09/04): I started this sketch after I went grocery shopping and I picked up a few bottles of gluten free sauces. The colorful bottles caught my eye and I picked up my pencil and fountain pens and started to sketch.

From my two page spread, you can see I used a different style or flow going from left to right and curving up a bit. For the open white space, I plan on writing something about this dish or writing down the recipe.

It’s still a work in progress.

I have to admit that my sketching mojo has been a bit MIA (missing in action) for the last few weeks. I occasionally get in this sketching funk and sometimes it takes changing out ink colors in my art pens (TWSBI GOs) to get going again. My plan is to dump the remaining shimmering inks in my art pens and pick out some lovely Robert Oster ink colors. Okay…back to my original post.

Original post:

The prompt for the next several days is to sketch a theme that relates to what you will be doing over this holiday weekend. It could be items on your to-do-list, fun projects/hobbies, foods you enjoy, a place your are visiting, etc.

Challenge #1: Create a two page spread of your weekend activities. Think of the things you might be doing with friends and/or family or by yourself. Sketch one or a few items a day and build your story/theme.

I’ll be working on my own two page spread and post my updates in this blog post over the next few days. I will more than likely create a rough sketch with my pencil that will outline my theme for my long weekend. I have not decided whether I will I include just one day or cover three days on my two page spread. The possibilities are endless.

I will start my sketching process by thinking of the story I want to tell and figuring out a style to use. Will it look like a collage of items or random sketches across the paper? Or will I follow a pattern and place my sketches clockwise across the two pages?

Here is a previous two page spread I created back in July. My theme/story shows random objects with curved shapes spread across both pages in my journal. My objects are connected with the lines I drew through most of my objects.

Here’s another two page spread I did back in May. My theme/story was how much I enjoyed my time at my local coffee shop and capturing a colorful scene by using most of my fountain pen inks I brought with me.

Here’s a sample of my one page sketch where I documented my morning food consumption. I had continued onto the next page with more foodie activities later that day. I need to look for my art journal to take a picture of what that two page spread looked like. In the meantime, this should give you an idea of my New Year’s Eve Day Foodie theme.

I’m adding the following picture of a sketch I did at the beach. This is an example of my “window” view sketch of the beach and the ripples of water.

The above pictures are simple sketches of what can be captured with your fountain pens and inks. Keep sketching and building your muscle memory. You can always start with a pencil sketch and add new sketches each day. You can also go back and use your fountain pen inks and create the washes later.

Challenge #2: Create a two page spread of a scene. It could be your front porch, your patio, your favorite shop, favorite restaurant, favorite vacation spot, etc.

I created the following sketch back in 2019. This was my first attempt at creating a two page spread. I used a combination of my fountain pen inks and watercolors to create the front entrance of a house I visited while on the island of Nevis.

Remember to take some time for yourself. Enjoy your sketching time. You have creative license to add or remove details. Perfection does not exist. No death grips. Have fun!

If you have a hard time getting motivated, don’t forget to review your handout(s) from my workshop. There might be something in there that will get you started in the right direction. Let me know if you have any questions.

Journals: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softcover A5. Travelogue handbook 5.5″x5.5″.

Fountain pens shown: turnt pen co. Pynchon in PM4 (Brooks). Lamy 2000 Makrolon. turnt pen co. Pynchon in Peacock (Dupras). TWSBI GOs.

My Lamy Gift Set

In my last post, I had my Lamy Marron filled with my lovely black ink called Shogun. I thought I would do a blog post about this special gift set I received.

This set included a lovely A5 hardbound journal with a beautiful rose gold geometric pattern. For this post, I will do a quick review of each product.

My Lamy Journal

I hate to admit this, but I only spent a few seconds checking out my new pen. I immediately gravitated towards my new journal to check out the lovely pages. I did some research and read the paper is acid free, bleed proof, and fountain pen ink friendly. It has two bookmark ribbons in black and bright neon green. It has 192 pages. The last eight pages in the journal have perforations to allow you to remove the sheets. There’s an elastic pen loop and a pocket in the back of the journal. The paper weight is around 92gsm. There is also an elastic closure to secure your closed journal.

After I opened my new journal I was surprised to see the lined paper. Yes, this is my first Lamy journal. From what I read on Lamy’s site, this paper is unique for those wishing to preserve personal notes in the form of handwriting.

The unique lines in this journal are interesting and would make a lovely practice journal for handwriting.

Before I start writing in a new journal, I always create an inky test page on the last two pages in the journal. That serves two purpose. First, I like to keep track of what inks I use in the journal and also see if there is any ghosting or bleed through. Second, after writing my first entry on my inky test page, the journal is no longer new and I can start journaling or sketching. I know, it’s a mind game I play with myself, but it does help me overcome the blank pages staring back at me. Hahaha!

From my inky test page, I do notice some bleed through on the backside of the page. Mostly it came from writing with my stub nib pens like my Pilot 742 SU and my TWSBI Swipe Stub 1.1. I can also see a few dots where my nib lingered a bit longer on the paper and showed up on the other side. So much for bleed proof paper.

With the paper having the unique lines, I was more conscious about the way I wrote in my journal. I took my time writing and in the end my handwriting turned out consistent and legible.

The only issue I have with this journal is the problematic bleed through. Maybe I’m suppose to use a Lamy with an extra fine nib with this journal. If anyone has a similar or different experience with this journal paper, let me know.

My Lamy LX Marron with Fine nib

Okay, back to my Lamy pen. The pen is made from lightweight aluminum with an anodized finish. The Marron color is a lovely dark brown color with bronze accents/trims. It’s a beautiful pen. What makes the LX model different than the AL Star model is the trim and the nib. On the top of the cap it’s the same trim color used in the clip and it looks like shiny metal.

The Lamy LX pen has a glossy black PVD nib with laser engraved Lamy name and nib size. The section is a bit more transparent than the AL Star model.

I’m finding the Lamy nibs work perfectly with shimmering inks.

This Lamy pen is a snap cap which makes it a perfect art tool to use in creating my artwork.

My Lamy came with a blue ink cartridge. A converter has to be purchased separately. Luckily I keep a few spares on hand.

Pen: Lamy LX Marron with Fine nib

Ink: Jacques Herbin Shogun

Journal: Lamy A5 hardbound with rose gold geometric pattern

One Subject and Two Different Art Mediums

Sometime last year I created two beach sketches. One was a watercolor sketch in my watercolor journal. The other was a pen & ink sketch created in a different art journal.

This year, I thought it would be fun to create another one. This time I used one sketch book to create the two art samples.

Here’s a side-by-side view using the two different mediums.

The left side was created using my fountain pens and inks. The right side was created using my watercolor pans of colors.

I have several watercolor palettes in my collection and I chose a palette where I thought the colors would be similar to the fountain pen inks I used. During my watercolor session, it was amazing to see how close I could capture the colors I used in my pen & ink sketch.

My pen & ink sketch took less than an hour to create. I used three layers to build up the colors and contrast.

My watercolor sketch took a few hours to create. I started with the lightest colors first and built each layer using a darker color. I also had to wait for each layer to dry completely before I could paint additional colors. That is why it took so long to finish this piece.

I love working with this watercolor paper. It can handle the brush strokes and all the water I lay down on this paper. There is hardly any paper buckling and no bleed through on the back side of the paper.

Pens: Platinum Preppy in 02 (extra fine nib) with Carbon ink. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Diamine Candle Light, Vintage Copper, & Black Ivy. Robert Oster Thunderstorm

Watercolor Paints: Art Philosophy Confections Palette: Apple, White Mocha, Pistachio Cream, mix of Blackberry and Pecan (grays), and a mixture of Key Lime and Blueberry (teal)

Journal: Franklin-Christoph Watercolor VN

Journal Cover: Franklin-Christoph Vagabond NWF

My BUJO (Bullet Journal)

I have a BUJO that I use on a daily basis. I started this back in August 2020. I would do a page a day of my to-do lists, reminders to drink water, exercise, declutter, organize, run errands, etc. I would decorate each day with stickers and add thin strips of washi tape around the edges of the paper.

That lasted a week. As my days got busier, I had less time for decorating. My detailed lists became brief and shorter.

As time went on, I continued to create my daily pages and tried out different formats that made more sense to me and my lifestyle.

My monthly calendar page changed from pre-printed calendars to a two page spread that I drew out with my fountain pens and inks.

My daily pages were a waste of space and I was able to come up with another configuration of putting all seven days across a two page spread. That made a huge difference in my ability to see the whole week at a time.

It was back in early 2021 that I started this monthly and weekly configuration you see here from the two pictures. As I have limited space, no stickers or washi tapes are used. I might occasionally sneak in a sketch or two.

The little red cups I sketched out are reminders to drink water throughout the morning and afternoon.

I also record the weather outside (sunny, cloudy, rainy) and the temperature for the day. This activity allows me to do a bit of sketching in my daily BUJO.

My Stalogy journal holds a lot of pages and can get chunky as a result of all the washi tape and sticker applications. It’s a lovely journal I can leave open on my desk and the pages lay flat.

Pens: TWSBI Swipe in Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nib. Narwhal Voyage in New Orleans with Fine nib. Pilot Prera Red with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nib.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Vert Atlantide. Diamine Pink Glitz.

Journal: Stalogy 365 Editor in B6 with Navie Travels Journal cover

Random Sketch of a Wall

It appears I’m going through a shimmery-sparkly ink phase. I noticed most of my art fountain pens are filled with shimmering inks. I have to admit I enjoy seeing the shimmering particles in my sketches and especially when I’m moving my paper around at different angles.

I still have a few Diamine Inkvent inks in my GOs that were filled from last December when I was blogging about the daily ink colors. Yes, three months later and my pens are still writing. One yellow ink color (Candle Light) has slowly become a dislike for me. I felt as though the yellow leaning orange color was not working in my sketches. So that pen finally went into my cleaning bin.

I looked for another yellow color to add to my palette and went with Heart of Gold. This is a lovely and bright shimmering gold ink color. More shimmers!

For the last few weeks, my focus has been sketching buildings and I’m currently experimenting with a few shimmering brown colors that I have in my collection. Winter Spice has been fun to sketch with and leaves behind a lovely combination of green sheen and blue shimmers on my paper. It has a lot of personality for a brown ink.

I went ahead and filled another empty GO with Cocoa Shimmer. This is a lovely warm brown ink color with gold shimmers. A lovely subtle brown color. In my sketch above, I accidentally picked up Winter Spice and used it on the middle section of the wood. When I saw what I had done, I decided to use Cocoa Shimmer for the remaining wooden structure. It will be interesting to see how these two colors work together in my future sketches.

From the picture above you can see I’ve switched to a different journal for this sketch. I was trying out a wire bound Canson sketch journal for an upcoming project I’m working on. So far, it’s working nicely.

Pens: Copic Multiliner SP in 0.7 and 0.1mm. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Colorverse Brane (Glistening). Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Vintage Copper, Winter Spice, and Cocoa Shimmer.

Journal: Canson Artist Mixed Media 138lb (224g) 5.5″ x 8.5″

Decorating My Art Journal

Several blog posts ago, I mentioned that my black chunky pocket art journal had a bare cover. It’s been bothering me. All of my other art journals have some sort of personalization in the form of stickers of my artwork or some vinyl designs.

I attempted to use my Cricut Joy (mini) to cut out some small vinyl designs, but was having a problem with it my since the last Cricut updates. I can make a bluetooth connection, but after 2-4 minutes I would lose connectivity. It’s an absolute pain when the Joy is in the middle of cutting and it loses connectivity. I’ve had a few vinyls that were cut on the wonky side or unplanned cuts into the middle of the designs. I hope the next Cricut updates will fix this connectivity issue with my Joy as I had this similar issue late last year. It’s really disheartening when I can’t use my cute little Cricut Joy.

I ended up using my reliable Cricut Maker to cut my vinyl decals. Using my huge 12″x12″ mat for my small 2″x4″ vinyl pieces was a bit of an overkill, but it worked flawlessly.

Did I mention how much I love my Maker?! It’s a wonderful machine to use and works brilliantly. Okay, back to decorating my journal cover.

I wanted to dedicate this chunky journal for my pen & ink art sketches. I have a bad habit of reaching for the nearest art journal and start doing my artsy thing and hours later realize that I did a watercolor sketch in my pen & ink journal or vice versa.

I created my design (text & images) in the Cricut Design Space software. I ended up with 5 layers or 5 basic project cuts as I was using different vinyl types and colors. In the following picture, I used my transfer tape to add the vinyl letters (first cut project).

I slowly peel off the transfer tape (at an angle) from my journal cover.

I was so excited about decorating/applying my vinyls and was not paying attention to what I was suppose to be doing. I centered my title on the cover and forgot I was suppose to add a fountain pen vinyl image next to it. Good thing I will be adding some other colorful images to my cover. Maybe no one will notice.

When I was designing my cover in the Cricut software, I forgot to straighten my fountain pen image before cutting the vinyl for it. This represented my second project cut. I took my transfer tape and lined it up parallel with my fountain pen vinyl and removed it from the vinyl backing paper.

It made it easier to position and apply the fountain pen vinyl design onto my journal cover.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to photograph and share pictures of my transfer tape in this blog post. You can see it’s looking a bit abused and had lots of lint stuck to it. I’ve been using this same piece of tape for several projects now and it still has quite a bit of tacky adhesive on it.

I wanted to add some splash of colors to my black journal cover. I cut out some ink splat images (project cut 3, 4 & 5) in different sizes using my metallic vinyl. The vinyl colors reminded me of Diamine Vintage Copper, Subzero, and Pink Ice.

Check out my chunky art journal! My cover no longer looks plain and I can easily identify the use for my pen & ink sketches.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover (4″x6″)

Vinyl Cutter: Cricut Maker

Vinyls used:

  • Pen & Ink lettering (Premium Textured Metallic Vinyl in Bronze)
  • Fountain Pen (Premium Textured Metallic Vinyl in Champagne)
  • Ink Splats (Paper Studio Removable Vinyl in Metallic Blue, Metallic Pink, and Metallic Copper)

Using a Fine Liner Pen in My Pen & Ink Sketches

As a few of you know, I enjoy using my Platinum Preppy (02) with Platinum Carbon ink to create my initial pen & ink sketches. I was struggling a bit and recently had a fall-out-of-love feeling with my Preppy. I found my Preppy fountain pen a bit too sharp to use on my Stillman & Birn Journal paper. I was not able to create some fine, continuous, and clean lines on my slightly textured art paper.

I dug around in my art drawers looking for a “pen” with permanent ink. I have a bunch of Sakura Microns, but they have brush tips that I used for my calligraphy. I finally came across a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen I had purchased several years ago. I was amazed that this pen still had some ink and I was able to do a few sketches including this gnome.

In the above sketch, I used my PITT fine liner pen with black ink to sketch the outline of my gnome. I also used the pen to add in some lines in the gnome’s beard. Sadly when the ink ran out of my PITT pen I had to dispose of it.

I watched a few art lessons and saw an interesting art pen other artists used for their sketches. This particular fine liner pen uses pigment ink and is waterproof. It’s the Copic Multiliner SP and it’s made in Japan.

This pen comes in 10 different nib sizes including a brush nib. The sizes start from a very, very fine 0.03mm to a 0.7mm line size. It took me awhile to figure out which nib size to get and I ended up getting three different pens in 0.1, 0.3, & 0.5 nib sizes. Copic also carries their Multiliner SP pens in a 10-pen set with all the different sizes one could need to sketch with.

Once my pens arrived I could not wait to try them out. I did a writing sample to compare the different the nib sizes. Initially, the 0.3 and 0.5 nibs appear to write very similar on my paper. When I looked at the nibs close up, I could see the 0.3 nib was slightly smaller than the 0.5 nib.

I can definitely see the 0.1 nib writes extremely fine compared to the other two sizes I have. Depending on the paper I use, my Copic pen with 0.1 nib makes a tiny noise when I sketch with it. Maybe I need to lighten my grip on the pen and put less pressure on the paper. I’ve read a few comments where other artists mention how delicate the finer nibs are especially the 0.03 and 0.05 nibs. My pen with 0.1 nib might fall into this category.

Here’s a close up picture of the Copic nibs. You can definitely see how delicate the 0.1mm nib is. The 0.5 and the 0.3 nibs are very close in size, but you can see a slight difference.

The nibs: 0.5mm, 0.3mm, and 0.1mm

Here’s my colorful gnome sketch where I used my Copic Multiliner SP to draw the outline of the gnome and a few lines around the beard.

I used my 0.1mm pen to outline the beard.

Here’s a pen & ink sketch of my fountain pen using my Platinum Preppy to create the outline of sketch. Notice the broken lines on the paper (left side) and in my fountain pen sketch.

The Copic Multiliner SP pens have an aluminum body. It’s lightweight and feels good in my hand. You will notice that I have been calling the Copic pen’s tip…a nib. That’s because the nibs are replaceable and can be pulled out of the pen. That is so cool! The ink inside the aluminum body contains a black ink cartridge that can also be replaced. When the ink runs out all I need to do is pull out the cartridge and put in a new one. I saw the spare nibs and ink cartridges are available online. It will be interesting to see if my local art shop carries them as well.

I can now say I’m a Copic Multiliner SP fan. I like the clean lines this pen creates on the various art papers I use. It’s a pigment ink pen. The ink is water- and Copic-proof meaning it will not smear when water or other Copic alcohol-based pens are used to draw over this ink. I like the idea I can replace or swap around the different size nibs. I also like the ability to replace the black ink cartridge when needed.

Fountain Pens: Lamy 2000 Makrolon with EF nib. TWSBI Swipe Salmon with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Platinum Preppy with 02 nib.

Fine Liner Pens: Faber-Castell PITT artist pen in size S with black Indian ink. Copic Multiliner SP in sizes 0.1, 0.3, & 0.5 with black pigment ink.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardbound (4″x6″)

Year End Thoughts for 2021

So I ran out of time to do a pictorial collage of all the things I was involved in this year. One could say I was all over the place. Sometimes the mood or an idea would hit me and I would switch gears on the fly. This month had been an extremely busy time for me as I had to take care of year end tasks and long to-do-lists . I also had 30+ blog post entries for the month of December. Yes, I had a lot of inks to chat about as well as share a few pieces of my artwork.

I started the year creating lots of pen & ink artwork. That was mostly because I had too many fountain pens filled with shimmering inks and I had the overwhelming urge to just sketch with my fountain pens. It also helped that I sketched my pens dry. Used up more ink!

I also entered an art contest over at Pen Chalet. I received honorable mention for my Sedona sketch using the three Robert Oster Exclusive Pen Chalet ink colors: Sedona Red, Saguaro Green, and Monsoon Sky. They used my artwork to create some stickers.

I also started 2021 with a lovely Benu Euphoria called Bora Bora that Hubby gave me for a Christmas present at the end of 2020. I also ventured into and acquired a few unique fountain pens made by a few boutique pen turners.

I played around with pointed pen calligraphy and tried out different flex nibs. I attempted to do my daily calligraphy practice until I got bored. This hobby likes to come and go throughout the year.

I did a few reviews on fountain pens (Esterbrook, Franklin-Christoph, Pilot, Opus88, SchonDSGN, Maiora), inks (Vinta Inks, Birmingham Pen Co, Private Reserve, Rohrer & Klingner, Van Dieman’s), papers and journals, graphite pencil holders, watercolor paints, paint palettes, carrying cases/pouches, and art tools that caught my interest.

Let’s not forget my fiber arts where I remembered to squeeze my yarns and fabrics as they were feeling neglected from the lack of attention. This was the result of having too many hobbies and therefore no blog posts were created in this area.

I was invited to teach a pen & ink wash workshop at the DC Pen Show. The one workshop turned into three workshops. I felt blessed to be able to share what I know about fountain pens and inks and how to create art with these tools. Oh and use up more ink! 😂

I had some time to get back into my Cricut hobby. I created lots of stickers of my artwork, personalized many water containers, mugs, coasters, journals, and accessories. I also ventured into engraving acrylic (future blog post).

In my artwork, I tend to see too many details and want to sketch everything I see. I made an effort this year to practice sketching loosely and quickly. I just focused on the main shapes and what was important to show on paper. This way of sketching is something I’ve always wanted to do well with and this will take me into another adventure in the new year.

Here is my last artwork for 2021. This morning I spent a few minutes with “drawing my day” or DMD which I will refer to in my future blog posts. My theme for this morning was what I had for breakfast. My hope is to do a daily sketch of my day. Practice sketching techniques and develop my muscle memory. Fill up a page or two. Write a description. Tell a story.

Pens: Turnt Pen Co Pynchon in Primary Manipulation 4 (F-C Fine nib) and Peacock (Esterbrook Medium nib). Lamy 2000 in Makrolon with Extra Fine nib.

Inks: Rober Oster Thunderstorm. Diamine: Seize the Night, Winter Spice, Candle Light, Party Time, & All the Best. Van Dieman’s Ink: Morning Mist, Parrot Fish, and Devil’s Kitchen.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha

Journal Cover: Lochby Field Journal

Double Wired Journal Notebook

(Edit: I forgot to mention I purchased my journal for $5 + tax. I need to remember that not everyone is familiar with some of stores I have access to).

I was at my local “Five Below” store and came across this journal/notebook. I was rubbing my hand across the paper (because that is what fountain pen folks do) to get an idea how smooth this paper was. I decided to give this notebook a try with my fountain pens and inks.

Here is the front cover with a cool looking design.

Here is the back of the cover.

This journal is 6.875″ x 10″ and about 3/4″ thick. This notebook contains 240 pages of lined paper. The front and back cover appears to be made of thick cardboard.

Overall, it feels like a chunky journal especially with the double wired spine.

Here is my test page written with some of the Diamine Inkvent calendar inks and my fountain pens with wet nibs. The shading and shimmers definitely appear on this paper.

Upon closer inspection, I can definitely see the shimmer from Vintage Copper and the sheen from Stargazer and Ruby Blues with this paper.

I can also see the shading from Candle Light and Raspberry Rose. Winter Spice is showing off a bit of shimmer.

I like how this paper shows off the ink’s color and characteristics. Hardly any feathering on the paper.

Here’s the backside of my test page. No bleed through at all. I was surprised even writing with my Stub 1.1 nibs. I would have expected to see “dots” where my nib stayed on the paper a bit longer.

I like the wider spiral on this journal. I have no issues flipping pages back and forth. Have you ever had a spiral notebook that was difficult to flip through?

I like the stiff thick cardboard covers that protects the paper in this journal. Also, I like how I can fold the pages back and can write on one side of the page at a time. The stiff cardboard provides a nice sturdy surface to write on.

For the price and the amount of pages in this journal I think this is a great buy.

Pen: Conklin Duragraph Brushed Titanium with Rose Gold trim and Omniflex nib.

Inks: Various inks from Diamine 2021 Inkvent Calendar

Journal: Five Below lined with 240 pages.