Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fabriano Venezia Sketchbook Journal

I recently got this Fabriano Venezia journal and have been looking forward to dipping into it. New journals are always a little intimidating until a few pages are underway. The nicer the paper, the harder it is to get started in them! Leaving the first page blank often helps, so I skipped over that one and filled the next two pages with some watercolor sketches.
This journal is stitch bound, with very thick pages that take ink and watercolor quite well. I’m impressed with it so far, and looking forward to trying some other mediums with it, though I suspect it will remain mostly an ink/watercolor journal. It is currently at the top of my “favorite journals” list! One negative thing worth noting is that the journal does not open as flat as a Moleskine does. It’s so easy to draw/paint across two pages on the Moleskines; not so much on this one.
In the photo above, you can see my little half pan box. This is actually only supposed to contain 12 half pans, with the center section empty for a travel brush, but I reconfigured it with 18 half pans and a whole pan that holds my little piece of sponge. When doing these quick sketches, I like having lots of colors. The two brushes shown are Escoda sable travel brushes. They come apart and the brush can go inside the gold sleeve, protecting it for travel. Last time I traveled with them though, they drove the security people crazy on the Xray machine!
Here’s an image that you can click on to enlarge it and see the pages better:
The butterfly was sketched from a New York Times article on Bladimir Nabakov’s butterfly research, and the little still life is from a sketching Scavenger Hunt posted to the Artwork from Life forum on Wetcanvas.


  1. These journals are fabulous for all media, wet and dry. I got one accidentally from a friend, and used it or perhaps even abused it with collage, ink, acrylic, and watercolour.

    I do wish, however, it would lay flat.

  2. Wow the colors look wonderful...I haven't tried this journal, but have heard great reports...

  3. Kate, I like the Fabriano Venezia quite a bit, and the colors are actually more vibrant than they appear in these photos! My gripe is that I wish it would open more fully, and stay open without quite so much help. A lot of my sketching is done out on location. I find this book really hard to work in without it being clipped open to a board. That means I have to pack a bag at least 2x the width of the book, in order to carry the board around. Even though it's Coroplast and weighs almost nothing, sometimes I just want to stick a sketchbook in a small bag and go! I also find it a bit challenging to draw/paint into such a deep gutter. I have about seven or eight, two-page spreads left in this one, and then I'm going to try a Stillman and Birn Alpha for my multi-media sketches and wet media sketches, and a Stillman and Birn Epsilon for pen/ink/dry media. I've already reviewed their Beta book and have used the Delta quite a bit too, but I prefer stitchbound/hardcover sketchbooks since I like to work across the spreads.