Review: Back Pocket Notebooks

Back Pocket Notebooks

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been testing out the Back Pocket Notebook. Although it’s not specifically a sketchbook, I’ve been using it for some lettering and drawings to see how it compares to sketch specific books.

To summarise, if you’re looking for a good quality, robust little notebook to carry around, I would definitely recommend the Back Pocket Notebooks.

Back Pocket Notebooks Back

I have a set of 3 Kraft Plain Notebooks, each of which contain 18 sheets or 36 pages of 120gsm paper and a stapled spine.

Back Pocket Notebooks Spine

At first glance they reminded me of the A6 Eco Starter Sketchbooks from Seawhite of Brighton. The Back Pocket Notebooks are slightly smaller, measuring 9 x 14 cm. The paper isn’t quite as thick as the Seawhite cartridge paper but there are more pages than the Eco Starter and the paper has a nice smooth surface, which I really appreciated when using fine liners and markers.

Back Pocket Notebook Inside

Although it’s described as a ‘plain’ notebook, I think that refers to the cover because it’s pointed out on the band holding the 3 notebooks together that the paper inside is actually cross grid. It’s similar to dotted paper but each ‘dot’ is a tiny cross. I’d never used that kind of paper before but it was kind of handy for keeping my hand lettering straight!

Back Pocket Notebook Felt Tip

The paper in the Back Pocket Notebook is perfect for either pen or pencil. I used a few different fine liners and felt tip pens, and the only pen that bled through to the other side of the page was the Copic marker. But Copic markers seem to bleed through almost all paper in my experience so this wasn’t a surprise or a big deal. I covered some large areas with Koi brush pens and even with the darker colours the dots on the paper do show but that may or may not be a problem for you. It didn’t bother me because I wasn’t trying to create a finished piece of artwork.

Back Pocket Notebook Gouache

I was able to apply a light wash of watercolour in the Back Pocket Notebook without any problems and the paper took gouache quite well too. The paper does buckle with both watercolour and gouache but even some dedicated watercolour paper does that so, again, this wasn’t a surprise or a problem for me.

I’ve carried the Back Pocket Notebook around in my bag and it’s stood up well to that without getting damaged so far. I wonder if rounded corners might make it a bit more robust in that respect if you were carrying it around in your bag or pocket every day.

The Back Pocket Notebooks are excellent quality, and the size means that they’re really easy to carry around without adding lots of extra weight or bulk. I wouldn’t use them to replace a dedicated sketchbook but as somewhere to keep notes and ideas, make simple line drawings and practise hand lettering, the Back Pocket Notebook is an excellent option and, as the name implies, highly portable too!

Thank you to Justin at Back Pocket Notebooks who gave me this set of Kraft Notebooks to test in exchange for an honest review.

Inktober 2016

I took part in Inktober again this October, which involves making an ink drawing every day for the whole month. Last year I drew whatever took my fancy each day but this year I decided to challenge myself a bit more by using the prompts that were published on Instagram.

Some days were more difficult than others, and some drawings didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked but that’s not really the point. Here are my 31 drawings from Inktober 2016 (each one is clickable if you want to see the full size image).

All of Inktober

Inktober drawings part 1

So, as you know, all through October I took part in the Inktober drawing challenge. The idea is to draw in ink as often as you can throughout the month, although most people seem to aim for daily drawings and that’s what I went for too.

Unlike the daily drawings that I set for myself in other months, I decided to not have a theme and a lot of the time that did make things more difficult because it creates a good atmosphere for procrastination while you decide what to draw.

Inktober drawings part 2

I spent one week of October in Toledo in Spain and that gave me lots of new inspiration for drawings, especially since we stayed in a house that had a lovely view across some of the city’s rooftops. So for a while Inktober became my motivation to keep a travel journal.

Some days I knew exactly what I wanted to draw and other days it was more of a struggle. Some drawings I was pleased with and others I wished I’d not done, or had taken more time over. Some were from ‘real life’ and others from photos and some feel more finished or ‘polished’ than others but that’s just how these things go.

You can see each of the individual drawings on my Instagram feed (and also on Twitter), where I shared them each day, and if you click on the collages in this post you can see a higher res version of each of them on Flickr (although the layout of the collages means that some of the drawings have been cropped slightly).

Did you take part in Inktober? If you did, please let me know in the comments below where I can find your drawings because I enjoy seeing all the different styles from that month.

P.S. Because I’m a day out of sync with my posts this week, my links post will be going up on Saturday instead of Friday.