Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Candy Temptation

3/22/16 Pilot Parallel fountain pen, Field Notes Sweet Tooth edition.
I’m a sucker – again. Maybe it was the candy theme, or maybe it was just the playful colors. In any case, despite knowing that Field Notes Brand notebooks have failed me again and again, I succumbed to temptation and traded with someone on Facebook for a pack of the latest limited edition release, Sweet Tooth. I was able to resist the last couple of editions because I knew the paper weight wouldn’t satisfy me, but Sweet Tooth contains 70-pound paper (same weight as the Workshop Companion, which is the only edition I’ve been happy sketching in). It’s also Field Notes’ first edition with no ruling at all. I’ve been clamoring for more books with blank pages for years – but ironically and cruelly, these blank pages are colored.

When I saw those colors, I knew they wouldn’t be much good for general sketching. The red (“Tangy Orange,” according to the specs) is the darkest and probably the most difficult of the three colors to sketch on, but in general I like the look of stark black against red, so I started with that one.

3/23/16 fountain pen, brush pen, gel pen
After sketching the magnolia tree in Shoreline yesterday, I turned my car around 180 degrees for a different view and took out a modified Pilot Parallel pen filled with black ink. Taking advantage of the pen’s ability to make a variety of marks, I just went for the silhouette look (above). As expected, the 70-pound paper held up well to the Parallel’s heavy output of ink. In fact, the modified nib is a little rough, sometimes scratching the paper when I go over the same lines several times, yet there was no trace of ghosting or bleeding. Washing a few test marks didn’t cause ghosting, either. The result was a stark, surreal look that I actually like. It’s not for every day, but it might be just right for days when I’m seeing red. 

Field Notes' latest Sweet Tooth limited edition. The inner paper
colors are the same as the covers.
Today I looked around my desk and grabbed my Deleter Neopiko brush pen (included in my review of non-hairy brush pens), Platinum Carbon desk pen and white Sakura Gelly Roll pen to sketch my pencil sharpener. Red is the new toned tan. J

Maybe Im not a sucker after all.

Incidentally, this edition has another unique feature: the pages are perforated. I always carry a small scratch pad (the kind found next to hotel room phones, where I also get my ballpoint pens) in my bag for jotting information to give to others. Carrying a Sweet Tooth has eliminated the scratch pad from my bag – I’ll just rip out a page from the back.

In related news, I’ve lately taken a “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude about all the rest of my Field Notes and other brands of notebooks containing paper I can’t use with a fountain pen. Instead of whining, I now use – ta-da! – a ballpoint pen like the rest of the cheap-paper-using world. Ever since I “discovered” them a couple months ago, I’ve continued to experiment with ballpoints in certain circumstances, usually when riding the bus. In addition to writing on any paper I happen to have, retractable ballpoints have an important benefit that I hadn’t even thought of until I started using them: I no longer have to worry (somewhat neurotically) about dropping a fountain pen cap and having it roll away under the bus seats, never to be seen again.

Surprisingly, my brush pens – both hairy and non-hairy alike – also do well in these notebooks that are unfriendly to fountain pens.

So I really have stopped whining. Really! At least about pocket notebooks. This week.

2/11/16 ballpoint pen, Field Notes
3/11/16 ballpoint pen, Field Notes


  1. convinced me. Today I cracked open a red Sweet Tooth and started drawing in it. Thanks for the push.

    I was drawing dancers today using a Fisher Space Pen red cartridge in a Parker Jotter ballpoint. I love these cartridges as they provide very consistent ink flow. I don't like the space pens themselves but the cartridges will fit in any Parker ballpoint and most "twist" ballpoints. Besides, Fisher makes nice brown and red cartridges. Glad you're going to get use from all those flimsy paper Field Notes :-)

    1. Yay for Sweet Tooth! Looking forward to seeing your sketches!

      - Tina


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