In Search of Glory . . . and the Perfect Journal

Morning Glory Sunshine © 2005, jessica wesolek, santa fe, nm

The Glory is the Morning Glory, and we’ll get to that story in a minute.

The perfect journal is much harder to find. In fact, I haven’t found it yet.

But, I sometimes come close and I am very happy with my most recent discovery. My current Moleskine has been devoted to the most recent road trip, and so I decided to try a sketchbook found at the local art supply. It bills itself as “the only sketchbook you’ll ever need”. Pretty big talk so I had to try it.

Found the size I wanted (6″x9″) at Dick Blick here:

Bee Paper Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketchbook

The book is spiral bound, has 60 sheets of 93lb paper with a nice tooth, and a nice natural white color. (The color of my Moleskine Sketchbook drives me crazy.)

As soon as it arrived, I took it for a full test drive.

I love to tell stories in my art journals, and this is the story of my struggle to get Morning Glories in my garden this year.

The Uniball pens worked beautifully, and a tiny vignette using a waterbrush and the tips of watercolor pencils as a palette did not warp the paper at all. Nor did anything bleed through. The photo was printed on my Magic Matte 36lb and attached with double-stick tape. So far, so good.

More Uniball pens to write in different colors, and illustration done with watercolor pencils applied dry and blended with a waterbrush. Background wash applied with pan watercolors and waterbrush. Very little warping even with broader wet area.

Illustrations of the Solo cup is done with watercolor pencils applied dry and blended with a waterbrush. Photograph at the bottom is a Sheer Heaven transfer. I trimmed around the rock shapes on the Sheer Heaven before transferring.

This is just Uniball pen and another photo, but you can see the intense Solo cup painting through the paper – just barely.

Illustrations done with watercolor pencil. Even blending right to the page edge on the pepper shaker, did not warp the page. The bunnies were traced with Pitt Pens onto Sheer Heaven and transferred to this page. Notice how they are the mirror image of their previous appearance?

Everything I have tried so far in this sketchbook has been pleasing. It is fulfilling many of my requirements for the “perfect” journal, but I am not done yet – I have to try a larger, wetter,watercolor illustration and a large transfer, so stay tuned. The cost of the 6″ by 9″ Sketchbook at Dick Blick is around $10, and there are larger and smaller sizes available.

Just so you won’t be in suspense, the Morning Glories are still unmolested. This system really works!

16 thoughts on “In Search of Glory . . . and the Perfect Journal

  1. yogi

    what a wonderful journal story. Love your humour. Those bunnies were priceless and with their little comments made me chuckle Thanks and PS glad you’re enjoying your new journal.

  2. carol Balone

    This article is a lesson. Thanks, Jessica. I am looking forward to seeing the morning glories blossom. Good luck.

  3. Claire Ramsey

    Anything that is “super deluxe” has to be immodestly good! Thanks for the tip.

    I haven’t seen any rabbits in our garden patch but it might be because the dogs beat them to it! Our adventurous dogs ate ALL of the Hungarian peppers on the vine, and some of the vines. Next they started in on the tomatoes! Pepper doesn’t bother them so we put up a fence.

    When I did have bold, aggressive rabbits I decided I might as well just feed them twenty dollar bills, instead of going to the bother of buying seedlings and planting them. These rabbits were immune to used cat litter too!

  4. Teri C

    I LOVE your whole illustrated story and all the explanations. I do use this super sketchbook and agree with you, however, it does not take a heavy wash….at all!
    Thanks for this delightful post.

  5. Diana in Texas

    I love your Morning Glory story and especially your illustrations. I’ve used a 6 x 9 wire-bound journal by Canson called the Field Drawing Book which has 90 lb. acid-free paper. I like the way this type of journal lays flat. The cover is black and I decorate the front with “fiber art inchies.” These particular journals are at Michael’s for about $20, but waiting for a 50% off coupon makes it worth the wait. I also sell the decorated or embellished journals at a Holiday Bazaar. My blue morning glories did not come up this year either. Never thought about the seeds themselves. We’ve been frying here in Texas for 3 months.

  6. Judy L Hudgins

    Let us know what you think about the journal. I had not seen them before until I was at the art store pricing supplies for my classes. I fondled them and am waiting to see exactly what I need for class before I actually bought one. Might get one for my next journal.

    Next year, try Morning Glories interplanted with Moon Flowers, That way you have flowers all day and night. The Moon Flowers grow just like the MG’s (in fact, they are night flowering MG’s), but are huge and white and do have a bit of a scent.

  7. Jeanne

    LOVE that opening photo! I enjoy your humor and your sketches, and I always look forward to your postings about products: pens, pencils, printers, paper, Pan Pastel, etc. Well, blimey! Will you look at all those p’s!

  8. Nancy

    Spiral bound sketchbooks are my favorite. Thanks for sharing your testing. Look forward to reading more…

  9. Timaree

    I’m going to be trying Strathmore’s mixed media and watercolor sketchbooks soon. Have you tried them? It’d be interesting to know if there are any differences.

  10. jessica Post author

    HI All
    Timaree – Yes, I have tried the Strathmore Visual Journals – the Bristol which is a lot like the Moleskine Sketchbook paper but bright white, and the 90lb Watercolor one which we used for my Watercolor Workshop (Drown Your Inner Critic in Watercolor). I liked them both but my concern is they don’t have a lot of pages. Also, the watercolor is too textured for the transfers because I don’t like the distressed transfer look in my journals

    I just got the large (9×12) Strathmore 140lb Watercolor and the Vellum Surface Bristol Visual Journals for certain projects I am doing. I will let you know how they do.

    Judy – I tried Moonflowers a couple of years ago and could not get them to flower, while the Heavenly Blues were prolific and big as saucers. Could not figure it out, but next year I will try again!

  11. Jerrie

    I’m a morning glory & moonflower lover….my last attempt of seed starting them which was a few years ago, produced only one glorious morning glory bloom. (Just didn’t have enough sunlight on my back deck where I had them planted in containers)
    Another bunny deterrent is to sprinkle dried blood around & on the plant…It also serves to fertilize the plant and the results are surprising!
    For those of you who feed the birdies and don’t like feeding the squirrels, mix red pepper in the seed…..squirrels have taste buds and hate the red pepper!

    TeeHee…I bet that you didn’t expect such a response on your side subject Jessica!

  12. Barbara

    Love the morning glory!
    The square Aquabee Sketchbooks are my favorites, too. I use them in my classroom for the students (elementary). Barbara

  13. nancy t.

    Great post, informative info about your new sketchbook, and I’m so glad to know a way to keep the bunnies at bay! Thank you!! nancy p.s., for some reason I couldn’t leave my blog addy in the website box. It’s

  14. Pingback: Of Morning Glories and Metaphors . . .

  15. Jacque

    I’m just now seeing your post about the Bee sketchbook. I found one at Hobby Lobby and just love it. The paper is great and I use uniball pens and watercolor washes as well. The only thing I don’t like is the paper front cover. By covering it with fabric I can live with it, but wish it was completely hard bound. Otherwise, it fills the bill…good paper that can take ink and w/c washes on both sides, spiral binding, and my favorite size of 6×9. As often happens, Hobby Lobby no longer carries them, but I bought two once I realized that it was very close to the perfect sketch journal. And I plan to order more from the Aquabee website.

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