View Full Version : 'large' moleskine - one used for all sorts

05-03-2010, 11:10 AM

Hi all :)

These are some pages from a 'large' moleskine - they aren't really large though are they? I rather like its strange paper for some drawing media. Some of my sketchbooks are kept for specific subjects - like the coast - but this one is just an anything-goes one.

The first one is studies of a cardoon (cousin to artichokes, a large thistle) flower - I really like the scaliness and the contrasts in texture.

It's done in coloured pencil (polychromos mostly) and biro (Parker ballpoint pen). I don't really do still life as finished paintings but sometimes enjoy doing these small detailed sketches.

Braeburn apple in watercolour on one side (stuck in) and coloured pencil on the other page - complete with label :)


A sketch of a friend's thatched cottage being re-thatched.

You can see a whole lot of my sketchbooks here (http://sitekreator.com/viviensketches/main_page.html) if you are interested - you can see how they usually work in series.

05-03-2010, 11:26 AM
Great sketches. Really like the apple with the label on it. :)

05-03-2010, 11:28 AM

oil paint in the moleskine sketchbook


pencil and coloured pencil in the moleskine

05-03-2010, 11:29 AM
thanks Debby - that was quick!

05-03-2010, 12:46 PM
Vivien, I'm awed. You're way ahead of me on sketchbook detail and accuracy. I like your large Moleskine. I think it's the same kind I've got the small one of. Gorgeous landscapes, they really move me. How'd you do oils on that paper? That's so cool!

Beautiful drawing of the thatched cottage in process of re-thatching. That makes me wish I could go there in person, it's just the kind of exotic thing that I dream of being able to draw someday. Beautiful cardoon and apples too. Seems like you enjoy changing mediums as much as I do.

AZ Traveler
05-03-2010, 02:48 PM
Beautiful work, Vivien. :thumbsup:

If you haven't already, you should consider posting some of your art and 'skine pages at: http://www.skineart.com/ ...

As the name implies, it is a website dedicated to any form of artwork done in a Moleskine.

Best wishes, ...

05-03-2010, 04:37 PM
Gorgeous work, Vivien. Your level of detail and use of color are amazing. And I love that you are using this book as a catch-all. I'm very surprised that you used oil paint in the moleskine??? Did you do anything to cure the oil paint so the pages don't stick together?

Very nice work.

Vivien Maloney
05-03-2010, 05:06 PM
Hi Vivien from another Vivien; Gorgeous work in your Sketchbooks.

05-03-2010, 05:35 PM
Debby, Robert, Delbert, Jean and Viv - thank you :)

I often use oil paint in sketch books and it's fine. The pages never stick - you can close the book and work on the next page, on and on .... You get a monoprint on the facing page but that's fine, I don't mind that. With this one I simply put a blank sheet of paper in between the pages while I went on to the next page. I don't prime it - just work straight onto the paper - moleskine or cartridge.

Over years it will probably rot the paper - but Toulouse Lautrec and Degas have work that still survives so I'll be long gone by then!

Working plein air I tend to use Griffin Alkyds (quick drying oils) but it works just as well with normal oils as long as you don't trowel the paint on :)

Sometimes oils are just better for the colour and speed I need.

I'll take a look at that moleskine site - no I've never posted there, it sounds interesting. ... oh it is - I've bookmarked it

05-03-2010, 05:57 PM

another page in this book of the dawn from the window of our holiday rental

05-03-2010, 06:20 PM
That last one is just so, so, breath taking.

05-04-2010, 10:34 AM
I have'nt tried a moleskine yet. I love the landscapes and their vivid colors. I agree with Debby - the last sketch looks so serene.

05-04-2010, 10:45 AM
Beautiful dawn scene. That is so lovely. I like the way your interweaving strokes give a nice overall texture, that made the clouds look very natural.

05-04-2010, 02:30 PM
Vivien, I like your sketches they are truly beautiful.
And what's more I love your attitude towards the the longevity of sketches :thumbsup:. Now I'm determined to go and try working with oil paints in my sketchbooks, too. :)

05-04-2010, 05:18 PM
nice sketches! I really have a hard time laying down colors using colored pencils though, the paper seems too glossy, well for the moleskin i have. :clap:

05-05-2010, 07:27 AM
Thank you all :)

Prismalos - do you use prismacolour (guessing from your name?)?? I'm using polychromos and being oil based they work beautifully in the moleskine and I can build colours easily. Lyra also work well.

Silvia, do try the oils - they work really well on paper . I'll be interested to see what you do with them.



and studies of wave dynamics - just trying to work out how the sea was moving - pencil and polychromos coloured pencils

05-05-2010, 11:34 AM
Your waves are magnificent. I love trying to sketch waves, it's one of the toughest subjects anyone can draw because of their constant motion. Wonderful shading and accuracy! I can see the motion in those studies and the color one is spot on for colors.

I tried oils on paper, or at least thinned oil pastels in my latest sketch in the Goof Off Book, will post it when I've looked at the other sketches. Thank you for showing how effective they can be on paper!

05-05-2010, 12:00 PM
Very nice work indeed! I'm intrigued that oil paint works with your moleskine sketchbook. I'm going to try some gouache, which works well in Moleskine's watercolor book, but I wasn't sure about the drawing book paper.

05-05-2010, 05:03 PM
This is why this new forum is so cool. I like seeing how people work things out in their sketchbooks. Those waves are wonderful.

05-06-2010, 08:53 AM
It's lovely to see you here and see your sketches Vivien :) I did a Art House project using a moleskin and I didn't enjoy using the paper at all, however having seen and read your thread and what mediums you are using maybe I should reevaluate. Very impressed with your waves, yikes I wouldn't even know where to start.
cheers from an expat in yellow springs, ohio

05-06-2010, 10:25 AM
Hello Vivien,

Those cardoon flowers are simply beautiful!

I am really amazed how you could pulled out those drawings on the thin Moleskine paper! Those are really inspiring, and I am looking forward to see more of your works :)

05-07-2010, 10:35 AM
Amazing! Well, actually, Prismacolors are not available here, as well as Lyra. After having thrown out the cheap stuff I used as I was starting out, I'm using Caran d'Ache Prismalo and Supracolor and Derwent (they work beautifully!) Faber-Castell Polychromos are on the way too.

Thanks for sharing your waves! :)

05-07-2010, 11:17 AM
I will try it for sure and I will be posting it in this forum, too :).

Those waves are beautiful, did you draw them from life?

05-07-2010, 03:19 PM
just watching the repeating patterns of movement Alfreda :) - and yes, the moleskine is limited in just what works with it - and for me the size is limiting as I prefer to work about 4 or 8 times that size - I wish they made it, with the same paper, much larger. I really like its strange paper with some media,

Thanks everyone for the great comments.

Whereas watercolours make cheap or light papers buckle, oil paint and turps don't, so they work really well in sketchbooks.

05-08-2010, 01:33 AM
Great journal you have going here, Vivien. I really like the sketch of your friend's cottage the oil landscapes are beautiful. I am happy I found this channel.


AZ Traveler
05-08-2010, 05:03 AM
Vivien, have you seen the watercolor Moleskine Folios? They have the same paper and landscape orientation as the smaller versions but are available in A3, 11.75 x 16.5-inches (297 × 420 mm), and A4, 8.25 x 11.75-inches (210 x 297 mm). After a perusal of the internet, I purchased one of each through Amazon. They had the best prices and FREE shipping for orders over $25 USD.

I'm enjoying your journal progress.

Best wishes, ...

05-08-2010, 09:44 AM
Vivien, these are all just beautiful. I haven't ever kept a journal of any kind but reading all the posts here and seeing all the great art has inspired me. I also think it will make me sketch more often. We are going on a trip soon and I'm ordering a Moleshine to take with me. I'm glad for your comments about Polychromo color pencils. I'll be sure to take mine on the trip.
Thanks so much!

05-08-2010, 12:04 PM
Great book, Vivien! Love that cardoon and those waves.

Vivien Maloney
05-08-2010, 03:12 PM
Vivien; (seems funny typing my own name for someone else) Love the waves. They are so hard to sketch with their constant motion, but you've caught them beautifully.

05-16-2010, 03:22 AM
Delbert - yes I've got 2 of the watercolour moleskines - one lovely big folio size one and one the next size down. I quite like the paper.

Viv - it is strange typing your 'own' name isn't it :) - it's not common so I only occasionally come acroos another Viv/Vivien

Dena do keep a sketchbook/journal - I know some of you here like to keep it 'perfect' but I treat mine as somewhere where I don't have to worry about a finished painting - it's just for me, so there is no pressure. I have things stuck in, bits and pieces about the subject/weather/light/place written - sometimes lists of art materials or artists quotes - anything goes.

Doug and nhyde thanks :)

I'm going to get a book of coastal sketches in a watercolour book scanned and put them in their own thread when I manage the time.

05-16-2010, 10:57 PM
What wonderful drawings! I really like the graphite cottage sketch, but they're all great.


AZ Traveler
05-17-2010, 12:43 AM
" ... Delbert - yes I've got 2 of the watercolour moleskines - one lovely big folio size one and one the next size down. I quite like the paper."

Hi, Vivien. I really like the watercolor paper too as well as the larger size - especially the A3. I also like having all my projects in one place.

Looking forward to seeing more of your journal progress.

Best wishes, ...

05-17-2010, 11:02 AM
Great fun pages!

05-17-2010, 05:16 PM
This one was done of one of the windows in the farmhouse we were staying at - the stone walls were about 30 inches deep, making for very large windowsills.

Coloured pencil - mainly Polychromos and Lyra but a bit of a mixturehttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-May-2010/53888-e__one_of_the_kitchen_windows_Bosworlas_in_moleskine.jpg

the yellow light coming in the window is a bit more subtle than this - the scanner picks it up a bit too much

05-17-2010, 11:02 PM
I really like this window sketch. Well done.

05-17-2010, 11:15 PM
Vivien, that window is magnificent! I love the deep thick wall and the way you've conveyed its solidity. I'm familiar with what scanners do to that cream coloured paper so that makes the yellow pop out more. It either pops out or it vanishes. Everything's so accurate and the overall texture is unified, it's so lovely. Gorgeous shadow colours. Great composition and balance.

05-18-2010, 03:25 PM
thanks :)

05-19-2010, 01:48 AM
Wow, It's a room in your moleskine! I like the way you capture areas in real life into paper. Thanks for sharing :)

05-19-2010, 05:10 PM
thanks Raymond :)

06-01-2010, 05:44 AM

Feather in coloured pencil - I really like drawing feathers, all those textures to catch

06-01-2010, 02:41 PM
Vhere - great journal! Just LOVE the sea pictures... Cornwall looks so like Guernsey where i'm from... colors of the sea, the rocks and pink flowers on the cliff face... perfect!
Love that feather too! You captured that down perfectly!

06-01-2010, 04:51 PM
thanks Rachel :)

I think it is quite a bit like the Channel Islands - though I've never been there, only seen photos. I'd love to go. How great being brought up on an island. (there are more paintings of Cornwall in the Canson book thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=621901))

Texas now? you couldn't have more of an extreme difference unless you'd gone to Alaska!

06-01-2010, 04:59 PM
That's one fantastic feather!

06-01-2010, 05:43 PM
I will take a look at your other thread! :-)

06-01-2010, 07:28 PM

Feather in coloured pencil - I really like drawing feathers, all those textures to catch
At first glance I thought you glued a feather in to start a collage. This is incredible realism. Your textures are glorious. The way it's matted and fluffy and crooked, that's what makes it perfect! Love it!

06-02-2010, 03:28 AM
thanks :lol:


I did a whole series of them, sold a few and did some in a sketchbook exchange (http://flyingpictures.wordpress.com/) I was part of, which was a real buzz and might interest people here

06-02-2010, 05:58 AM
Vivien, allow me to comment once more and share how amazed I am at your works. The details, the texture, the "finesse" (as we say in French, meaning something really detailed in a refined way) of your work is a real lesson to me. That feather is simply amazing :) Love the window drawing as well :)

06-02-2010, 08:03 AM
Nice feather texture! Reminds me of practicing a lot of those for angel wings..

06-02-2010, 02:57 PM
thanks Sandra and Raymond - angels wings? that would take a lot of feather drawing!

06-02-2010, 04:15 PM
Very realistic feather. Just beautiful.

AZ Traveler
06-02-2010, 04:26 PM
Wonderful CP technique on your feather. You've captured it's gossamer frailty. My first guess was WCs. Kudos, Vivien. :thumbsup:

06-04-2010, 10:09 AM
thanks :>)


biro sketch of a small curious rock full of holes

06-04-2010, 12:06 PM
Cool looking rock, but it also kind of looks like part of a dinosaur skull.

06-04-2010, 11:50 PM
Vivien, I love your eroded rock full of holes. I would've had to do it too if I saw that, it's beautiful and so interesting. Wonderful roundness, shading, detail and sense of how worn it is. You really captured its character.

06-06-2010, 08:29 AM
thanks Robert


my grandson playing football last autumn - I confess, from photos - I can't get detail that quickly :cat:

06-06-2010, 09:09 AM
Great sketches of your grandson! I couldn't either.

The only way I started getting details on my cat in motion was drawing him so many times sleeping or from photos that I knew the details. If you did gestures of him while he's actually running around that had about as much detail as a gingerbread man, you could always grab his clothes, watch him sleep or look at photos for the details later.

But that took hundreds of cat sketches of the exact same cat before I could do that with Ari. These are fantastic. Nothing like having a good camera -- and grandkids, though I haven't started drawing mine that much yet. I probably should. But they're always in motion at high speed!

06-06-2010, 09:29 AM
Great sketches and paintings! Love the oil ones, and that recent feather looks so nice and fluffy :D Well done on the textures :) I like how you use the colour pencils too, with the differently coloured strokes.

06-06-2010, 01:57 PM
Photo references are essential when a young child is in constant motion. Very good sketches of your grandson.

06-06-2010, 03:14 PM
Vivien, those sketches of your grandson are absolutely adorable, and even though they are from photos, you captured the joy and movement very well.

06-07-2010, 02:10 AM
thanks everyone :)

06-08-2010, 05:09 PM
Vivien, I love the feather! I feel like I can touch it. Nice motion sketches of your grandson. You make me want to get back to doing some CP sketching one of these days.


06-09-2010, 01:09 AM
thanks Jamie - I use them when I need to keep clean!

06-09-2010, 02:49 AM
Beautiful sketches.

06-09-2010, 11:51 PM
Youre child sketches are great, you can see the simple joy of youth in them.


06-10-2010, 04:51 PM
thanks :)

06-19-2010, 04:41 AM


This one is a study of the groyne (sea defence) on the beach in north Norfolk with its gorgeous aged and bleached wood and the pebbles stacked up inbetween the posts by the sea like an Andy Goldsworthy creation :)

06-19-2010, 07:17 AM
What an interesting subject! You should use it for "wood" and "stone" for the scavenger hunt. Great sketch!

06-19-2010, 11:41 AM
Oh that's beautiful! And yes, it'd count for the Scavenger hunt since you did it from life. That's fantastic. It must be such a beautiful place.

06-19-2010, 11:43 AM
This is so cool.

06-21-2010, 01:10 PM
What an interesting subject! You should use it for "wood" and "stone" for the scavenger hunt. Great sketch!

the scavenger hunts are great but I just don't have time at the moment to commit to all the subjects - and I can't just appear with a single one! I've popped in occasionally when I have had the time and enjoyed it.

07-18-2010, 08:50 AM

A very quick pencil scribble to remind myself of the scene - abandoned tin mines and billowing wildflowers along the side of the very narrow road that leads down from the moor towards the sea.

Vivien Maloney
07-18-2010, 02:17 PM
Oh Vivien, your work is so inspiring! Love all of it, the feather is awesome and the sketches of your grandchildren as so filled with the feeling of love and laughter. I checked out your sketchbook exchange link and have bookmarked it to read in more depth. I'm in a similar thing in NZ with PANZ (pastel artists of New Zealand). We have a portfolio of pastel works, which is posted to the members in the Portfolio, and each member puts their new work into it, takes out their old work and comments on the other artists work. I've been in it for approx 8 years. It works really well, and the Portfolio turns up in the post about 4 times a year.
I really enjoy your work and follow both your Journals with interest.

07-18-2010, 02:54 PM
Thanks Viv :) - that sketchbook exchange was so much fun, which shows in our posts in the blog - my book is a much treasured possession now with all the work by the members.

Your travelling portfolio sounds amazing and so long lasting and a very different idea.

07-18-2010, 06:07 PM
Lively sketch. One of my goals is to learn to do that, quickly get a few scribbles down on the page to capture the essence of what I am seeing. You have inspired me.

07-18-2010, 06:59 PM

07-25-2010, 07:17 AM

This was one done of my grandson as a baby (portraits aren't at all what I normally do). From a photo as small children and babies don't cooperate by posing :cat:

mechanical pencil in the moleskine

07-25-2010, 07:48 AM
Oh, that is adorable! You should do more portraits - you are good at them.

07-25-2010, 11:44 AM
Lovely work, Vivien! I read the part where you wrote that you use oil paint on your sketchbooks. I have never tried that and I will do that today since I am primarily an oil painter.

That portrait of your grandson is charming. :)

07-25-2010, 01:15 PM
Vivien, great drawing of the baby! At that age they won't hold still, the only chance of doing them from life is sound asleep - and that's like a sleeping cat, they'll still move and shift around a lot. Well done!

07-25-2010, 05:37 PM
Beautiful baby. I think you do, do portraits. That is a wonderful drawing.

07-25-2010, 06:39 PM
What a lovely close up portrait of the baby grandchild. Its amazing what you've done with a mechanical plencil. The Moleskine seems to take it well, with all that value range you got there. Did you do some smudging? Its difficult to tell how you did the soft tones on the baby's face. I like to see your ways of mark making for different subject matter and purpose.

07-25-2010, 07:47 PM
lovely baby portrait Vivien, I like the way you have smoothed some areas but left other bits sketchy - much more interesting than a photograph! :)

07-26-2010, 08:58 AM
I love this baby portrait, cute little nose!!! wouldn't say that you don't normally do portraits, you did this one so well.

09-07-2010, 06:14 PM
thank you :)

I just bought a Lamy pen - at the moment it's got the blue ink in that came with it but I'll refill it with black.

I've got a Rotring fountain pen, with a finer nib, that is currently somewhere 'safe' - in other words I can't find it! I don't very often use pen but felt like a change.

this is simply a page of experiments to see what I can do with it. I know moleskine doesn't work well with water but with a little scrubbing it was possible to do a wash for shadows.

09-07-2010, 06:16 PM
thank you :)

I just bought a Lamy pen - at the moment it's got the blue ink in that came with it but I'll refill it with black.

I've got a Rotring fountain pen, with a finer nib, that is currently somewhere 'safe' - in other words I can't find it! I don't very often use pen but felt like a change.

this is simply a page of experiments to see what I can do with it. I know moleskine doesn't work well with water but with a little scrubbing it was possible to do a wash for shadows.


09-07-2010, 08:52 PM
Cool experimental page.

09-08-2010, 03:08 AM
I use Noodler's Bulletproof ink in my Lamy Vivien with a filler convertor. It's waterproof when dry but can be washed over before then.

I find the Lamy more expressive, you can vary the pressure to get a different line. I seem to have spent half my working life cleaning rotring pens :rolleyes:


09-08-2010, 09:31 AM
yes they do clog up I have to agree - probably why it's currently mislaid, not having been used in a LONG time.

That expressiveness of line with different pressure is exactly what I want :)

Thanks for the info on the ink - I'll definitely look that up as I bought a converter. I'm just using up the blue that came with it while I work out what it does

That's why it's worth putting scribbles in this thread as well - such useful info :)

09-08-2010, 09:39 AM
This is the Noodlers Eternal (http://www.thewritingdesk.co.uk/showproduct.php?brand=Noodlers&range=Eternal%20bottled%20ink&cat=ink) waterproof ink I use Vivien. The 85 ml bottle will las t me a LONG time.

One filling before I went to Italy a couple of years ago lasted six days of sketching. (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6854014)


09-08-2010, 09:41 AM
oh - where do you get the ink from Doug? looking online it seems to be only from the US

oh we crossed here! is this where you buy from? they are currently out of stock :(

that is good for lasting - the Rotring cartridges used to dry out rapidly

I'm just worried (being clumsy!) about its total staining properties!

09-08-2010, 09:44 AM
I ordered my pens and Noodlers inks from The Writing Desk. I also have grey an sepia ink.


09-08-2010, 09:45 AM

09-08-2010, 09:47 AM
X posted again :)

I have had no problems with the ink or pen. Drying time depends on the weather. In the summer it dries quickly and can be washed over without running. In damp weather it takes a little while and can smudge.


09-08-2010, 11:49 AM
Hi Vivien,

Haven't checked here for too long (now have the thread subscribed for a reminder) and really glad I finally did. Great work here, and what a fine variety of subjects - love the feather, the seawall, the baby, the kids...great stuff! I've dabbled with pen, but the clogging issue (coupled with my inherent laziness about things that need cleaning - :) ) means I've not used it much. I loved your comment about a pen being 'in a safe place' (meaning lost). I can relate. We were in our previous house for 23 years before we moved into our current one 8 eight years ago. In the process of moving, I unearthed all sorts of neat stuff that had been 'safely stored' and had all intentions of keeping track of the items. A number of them are now 'safely stored' in our current house. :o

09-09-2010, 05:59 PM

oh I can so relate to that! I'm good at chaotic but hopeless at organised!

09-09-2010, 09:25 PM
Heh, I can relate to that, your Rotring pen being "somewhere safe" and you can't find it. Eventually when you move or something, or are madly looking for something else, it'll turn up and its hiding place seem so obvious it's time to bang head on desk. I've done that loads of times.

Including moving something aside three or four times while I was looking for it.

Gorgeous blue ink sketches with the Lamy pen. There's something beautiful about blue monochrome pen drawing. I did the same thing with a fountain pen when I first got it, used up the blue cartridge that was in it but liked the resulting drawings so much that I was disappointed just using the black. The slight washes with it are an elegant touch, they look great.