I'm featured under the, "Tips from the Pro's" section of the B5 Perfect Sketchbook campaign hosted on Indiegogo. Something that I left out from my tips for beginning watercolor artists was the importance of painting plein air. I gave a basic run down of some helpful things, but I think I really left out what I love most about my experience with the medium, which are a few things: it's easy to set up & break down, you can go anywhere with it without holding you down, and you have one shot to make something out of it.
Being able to paint outside is something you can't mimic when working in the studio. There are a lot of challenges including natural environments (rain, wind, terrain), moving targets, and the physical shift of time. However, all of those experiences find its way into the painting and you get to take it home, add it to your collection, and remember those exact feelings anytime you look back at them. Being faced with those kind of obstacles can also help you in the studio and vice versa by committing to decisions and splicing your eye for design. So, yes make some time to go outside whether it's the first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or when you're in between errands.
The team behind the project is Erwin Lian and Bynd Artisan. Erwin is an artist from Singapore and Bynd Artisan is a paper/bookbinding/leather goods company. This is their second project for a crowd sourcing campaign. The first was the Pocket Sized Perfect Sketchbook (below).
Along with being featured under the campaign site, I was among four others to be given a prototype of the Perfect Sketchbook B5. Our mission, should we choose to accept was to test it out, see if it was perfect to our standards, and give Erwin our feedback. It could be a possibility of that scenario was just all in my head, however I wanted to give Erwin my personal feedback and report to him if anything was off.
The info above are specs that are identified in the campaign page. But here's a reminder. It's made out of recycled leather, has 56 pages of Fabriano 140 lb. cold-pressed watercolor paper, hand torn edges, personalized for an additional fee, and standard ribbon and inside pocket.
-Ideal size; it's not too big, nor not too small, it's just right.
-Fine paper; 140 lb. cold pressed Fabriano paper. suitable for drawing and ideal for painting. Lifts pigments well, retains color vibrancy, excellent gradation effects.
-Personlized; debossed name, message, phrase option.
-Deckled edges; that personal aesthetic that gives it that hand touch feel instead of machine. I don't know about you, but I really like tearing my paper without the use of a blade.
-Cover; I'm a sucker for this muted orange cover over the Pocket's Gray.
-Paper; Although Fabriano is exceptional paper, I really liked the paper that was used for the Pocket which was Saunders Waterford. It was smoother and had an interesting feel when you lay down a wash. Can't pinpoint it just yet, but I like it.
-Value & Color Chart; I noticed that the value chart has been taken out for the B5. Honestly, I barely used it when I had the Pocket, so maybe it was removed to cut costs? I really liked the idea though. Also, having a color chart would be nice. However, it's probably more practical for the owner to make their own instead of relying on what another person sees.
-Size; the B5 is great, no doubt. But I like to imagine a bigger book. B3 perhaps? I know it would cost more, but a person can dream right?
I've been carrying this book everywhere I go, so I'm constantly painting or drawing in it. It's a great size for plein air, especially when you have 45-60 min to kill. The selected sketches were done in less than an hour, usually when I'm waiting in between errands, traveling, or something fast before clocking in to work!
I'm about reaching the halfway point of the book, and I'm definitely sold to own a few more. I own three of the Pocket PSB, two of which are still sealed in its package. I've a feeling that I'm about to treat the B5 the same way. Mostly because, once this campaign is over, you won't find them on shelves anywhere, which makes them extra, extra special. Knowing me, I'm probably going to use one every three years or something crazy.
In the last 10 days of the campaign, Erwin will be stepping up his prizes for his Share & Win give aways. Throughout the campaign, he was announcing daily winners for leftover Pocket PSB's. This time, he has big prizes including: Rosemary & Da Vinci brushes, ink fillers for fountain pens, and 1 B5 Perfect Sketchbook with hand made Fabriano watercolor paper, bound with genuine leather from Bynd Artisan. Those last 10 days will be one hell of a ride! All you need to do is share the campaign on any social media platform and send a picture of it with the #theperfectsketchbook to this email and you'll be entered in a Superman cup filled with other potential winners.
Go get yourselves, a friend, a friend of a friend's friend one of these books. Check out the campaign through any of these links below!
The Perfect Sketchbook