New Field Notes Format – Dime Novel Edition

Some know Field Notes as a company that produces thin, 3.5×5.5 notepads in a series of ‘themes.’  Most of the time these notebooks come with lines, graph or dot-grid paper but once in a while they produce a series with blank pages and these are great for use as small quick-sketch notebooks.  Most famous, thanks to Tina Koyama, is the Sweet Tooth series that had blank pages and came in red, yellow and blue paper books.  Tina has done, by my count, a zillion or so sketches in the red ones.

A recent release by Field Notes may be the most useful notebook yet for sketchers.  No, they won’t replace my Stillman & Birn books but for quick-sketches they’re just dandy.  The release is called the Dime Novel Edition and reflects the format (4.25 x 6.5) of dime novels of the early 1900s.  The paper is blank, except for a small page number in the upper right corner.

Instead of their typical staple-bound 48-page form, this book has three signatures (72pages) that are sewn together and then wrapped with a heavy cardboard cover.  To sweeten the pot, Field Notes uses really nice 70# paper that has just enough tooth to make it nice for drawing pencils and great for fountain pen.  I’ve only done a bit of testing but I saw no evidence of bleedthrough with this paper though there is a bit of ghosting.

I find the size ideal, mostly because it’s very thin – about 1/4″ thick, light and yet large enough that if you draw across the gutter you have a 6,5 x 8.5 page to work on.  Oh…and if you go through it, pressing each page open (the book handles this quite easily), it will also lay flat.

The 70# paper does limit what you can do with water, but if you don’t slop on too much water, you can use watercolor as well.  Watercolor pencils seem to work particularly well, but again, you need to keep the water applications light or you’ll get some buckling of the paper.

The books are sold as a 2-pack for $12.95.  Page count here exceeds the total pages contained in the 3-packs of the 3×5 Moleskine books that many use for this purpose and the paper here is far superior so if you carry such a notebook with you, give these a look.

 

A Little Bit Of Blue

Once upon a time the Field Notes company released an edition of their small sketchbooks called Sweet Tooth and it contained a red, a yellow and a blue notebook as a three pack.  Several of us started drawing in the red ones because it creates a bright mid-tone between our black and white pens.  Tina Koyama has become queen of the Sweet Tooth, using mostly red but sometimes blue notebooks.

vignette from imagination while watching baseball

Me, while I did some “serious” sketches in a couple red books, I’ve mostly relegated these books to really quick-n-dirty sketches, done while waiting for someone or small sketches from my imagination while I watch baseball.  I don’t scan these sketches as there’s just too many of them, none worthy of consideration but they help train my brain to draw, which is the reason I do them.

I feel I’ve plagiarized this from somewhere but I don’t know from where. Done from “imagination” while watching baseball

Real quick sketch of part of our skyline

I’m posting a couple of them here so I’ll have an excuse to post a nod to Tina’s ‘abandoned couch’ series.  I was waiting for our gang to show up to draw and across the street was an abandoned couch with a couple matching chairs piled up on top of it.  I thought immediately of Tina.

In honor of Tina Koyama’s abandoned couch series

 

sketch, Sketching Small In Ottawa

I got to spend a week in Ottawa, mostly visiting my daughter but I also wandering around and sketching.  I’m in the process of scanning the sketches and thought I’d start a short series of posts with a few of the many tiny sketches I did while there.  The tan ones were done in one of my mustache books while the red ones were done in a Field Notes Sweet Tooth notebook.

2016-06-20people1I’m going to include only two of the people sketches I did, mostly because I’m lazy and didn’t want to scan any more.  The first is my favorite of all of them; a woman wearing a hijab.  This scarf was gorgeous, with silver threads running through it that made it glisten.  I got caught up in the curves and folds of the fabric to the point that my coffee went cold.

2016-06-20people2This one was a bit unique in that I was waiting for me daughter at school and saw this unusually talk Asian woman.  Not an important sketch by any measure but I enjoy capturing the variability of the human form.

If you follow this blog you know that I’ve been having fun sketching with the Field Notes Sweet Tooth edition, particularly the red notebook of the set.  I’m going to have to buy a couple more packs as I’m using up my red ones.  It’s really fun having the red as a mid-tone with black and white inks on either side.  Here are a couple lamp posts, one of my favorite sketching subjects.

2016-06-21lamp post12016-06-21lamp post2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016-06-26artgallery

 

My daughter and I bought sandwiches and walked down to the Ottawa River where 7-stage canal locks lower boats from the Rideau Canal to the river.  It’s a beautiful place and we fed chipmunks and watched a young rabbit chow down on the foliage a few feet from us.  I mentioned to her that I wished that I had a loose and quick style that would allow me to capture things like the Art Museum that was visible up the hill from where we sat.  To demonstrate that I don’t have one, I did this sketch of it in just a few minutes between sandwich bites.

On another day I started walking from Parliament towards a pair of statues that honor firefighters, but I ended up doing sketches along the way and didn’t get to the firefighters until late in the afternoon.  By then I’d been pretty well beaten down by the particularly hot day so I decided to do a small ‘red’ sketch.  I’m really glad things worked out the way they did as I really liked the result.  Hope you do too.

2016-06-24fireman

 

Drawing Carriage Horses

All summer long tourists pay to be hauled around the old city behind beautiful horses who just shake their heads, saying “Why can’t they walk?  They could use the exercise.”  These horses are beautiful and we got the opportunity to visit the facilities where the horses live and where carriages are maintained.

2016-06-17fencepostI couldn’t stay long this day so I started with a bunch of quick sketches of horses, or rather horse parts because the horses were moving around the yard a lot early in the morning.   I sat down and did a quick sketch of the building area and then then I got out a Field Notes red notebook and drew an interesting set of shapes in the form of a fence post with rope wrapped around it.

As I was doing that a horse walked over to find out what I was doing.  It just stood there, watching.  It was a perfect portrait angle so I started drawing its head.  What a magnificent animal.  He (?) was mostly black with a bit of white along the top of the muzzle.  And then he walked away, satisfied that I was not very interesting afterall.  I had half a drawing.

I finished up the post/rope sketch and was about to draw a dandelion when another horse, this one light brown wandered over.  Not the same angle but I started talking to him and he maintained his interest in me long enough for me to finish this sketch.  I think the muzzle is too thin but otherwise I kinda like it.  Then it was my time to leave and so I headed for a bus.

2016-06-17horse

The Vikings Showed Up In Quebec

Some 500 years before Columbus, the Vikings were wandering around what is now the east coast of Canada.  They came by ship of course and some of their descendents decided to make the trip again.  Thirty-six days crossing the Atlantic resulted in them showing up in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

20160616vikingship

They decided to visit Quebec City and they showed up last Friday.  I thought it might be fun to draw the ship so I headed down to the harbor area.  Unfortunately, a lot of other people decided they should go to the harbor area too, armed with cameras, bicycles, strollers, and there was a guy with a wagon.  There were enough people to make it difficult to stick your cell phone in the air to get a shot of the ship without a dozen heads in the picture.  Sitting down to draw the ship caused one to get a great view of a lot of…well, let’s just say the view of the people was lower than those heads.  The best I could do was to stand, actually having to move around to get a glimpse of the nose of the boat as I did this quick sketch of the dragon figurehead.

Field Notes, Platinum 3776

Field Notes, Platinum 3776