Sometimes you have to scour the aisles to find what you’re looking for. When your search for art supplies fails you, I’ve had a lot of luck locating items in a department or section I might not expect. While I was browsing the paper mache section of a national art supply chain store, I found two new art journals that demonstrate current trends in sketchbooks or illustration materials and wanted to share them with you here.
The first little natural, unbleached journal is distributed by Darice out of Ohio. It’s constructed from recycled materials [faits de materiaux recycles] and is ready to decorate [pretes a decorer]. It’s a 5 x 7 inch [12.7 x 17.78 cm] left-handed or top sided spiral bound hobby and craft item, originally designed for ages 8 and up. Although made in the Philippines, it has a French marketing approach and is shown on the left hand side of the image above. The front and back covers are thick chipboard with a distinct crinkle style and would hold up to some pretty rough handling. About 20 or so thin sheets of paper inside have a mottled or handmade feel with minor white and blue spotting throughout. If you can imagine the consistency of a child’s school lunch paper bag, you’ve got the right idea. Or imagine a stiff brown paper towel so often found in restrooms. Only future attempts at absorbance testing will tell us how much water and media the pages will hold. I’m particularly excited to see how the gel pens fare in this one and am hoping certain colors will pop against the brown pages. This paper will fold, bend and crinkle quite well and the spiral binding allows a lot of room for building up individual pages with collage layers. Here’s Briedah’s blog which explains how she took a page from her Paper Mache Journal and distressed it for a more folksy feel.
The second journal follows the booming trend of industrial chic with a journal designed by artist Susan Lenart Kazmer. It’s distributed by the Horizon Group USA of Dayton, New Jersey and yes, it’s made in China. Originally designed for artists over the age of 14, it’s advertised in both French and Spanish with a strong bent on embellishment suggestions with found object jewelry components from Industrial Chic. It measures 5.85 x 7.8 in [14.8 x 19.8 cm] and holds 104 pages [52 sheets] of unruled pages. This is a fairly new staple-bound product without a lot of information available. Sheets are off-white, possibly bleached, pressed or perhaps even recycled. The paper itself is thin and semi-transparent and just by visual inspection, will not hold water or heavy media well at all. The cover is standard thin cardboard, similar to a cahier journal. The pages do look like they will handle pencil, charcoal and perhaps crayon quite well. A flexible and easy-going book, I would love to see how this one behaves with inks and a variety of pen styles. Note: The paper is so thin it buckles a bit just with standard handling, you may want to protect the journal book with an outer covering or encasements of some type if you’re traveling with it. Imagine inexpensive toilet paper or inexpensive child’s art class rolled paper and you’re close to the weight. Also, the product has a slight petroleum fragrance to it, probably from rollers off the assembly line or overseas packing.
Shauna Lee Lange is an art advisory founded 2006 and located in Southwest Florida. We’re visual thinkers & idea strategists, public art communicators and cultural curators helping to create a wide arrange of public and private art projects. We’re also developing in the fields of art & history preservation & conservation. Much of our work involves a love of maritime, seaport, nautical and coastal themes. 941.875.5190 Mobile or 941.875.9090 Direct.