Derwent Procolour Pencils and some cute bugs


Today, I wandered into my local stationers – Churchill’s – and found some items for my stationery stash.  Included were some coloured pencils from Derwent that are new to me.

They’re called Procolour and I picked up a tin of 24 of them. and you can see how much I paid on the tin, though they are available for less on Amazon.


I tried them out in my Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted BuJo on some cute bugs I’d drawn earlier today (yes, another collection is being assembled in my BuJo).  You can see the colouring at the top of the page, though I adjusted the brightness and contrast a tad.

The blurb on the tin says

Derwent Procolour pencils are the perfect combination of a strong point and smooth lay-down, with a texture that has the covering power of wax yet glides like an oil.  The richly pigmented pencils maintain a sharp point for detailed drawing; while minimal chipping and dusting keeps your work clean and smudge free. Suitable for a wide range of drawing techniques, available in a carefully selected range of 72 rich and vibrant colours.

I didn’t choose the best paper to test them on, though they’re more like to be used in my BuJo than anywhere else, but the colours are vibrant, even on the creamy coloured Leuchtturm paper.

They do lay down well, with a gentle pressure, and they layer nicely.

What I do like is that they have quite a wide ‘barrel’, which makes it a lot more comfortable to hold than other coloured pencils; my old, slightly arthriticy fingers don’t like narrow barrels when I need to press hard.  That’s why I tend towards water-based media or digital media these days; they keep my fingers happy and working.

The colour palette of the 24 set is actually nicely chosen, with plenty of my favourite colours.

I am very tempted to get the full set of 72, but I think I’ll wait for a little while.


Spring Equinox 2018


Yesterday was the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.  The first day of spring, astronomically speaking.  I decided I’d do a little BuJo page about the equinox, and after spelunking through my memory, books and the world weird web, I pulled together some ideas about it, as well as a little illustration.

For the first time I can remember, I sketched out the flowers and leaves in pencil before colouring the shapes in.  Then I added outlines and details to the colour.  I think I got a bit heavy handed with the outlines, but it’s all learning for me, expanding my artistic ‘tool-box’.

BuJos and Tombows



Tombow Dual Brush Pens

Today, I recieved a full set of the Tombow ABT Dual Brush pens and I’ve managed to swatch them out in my BuJo.

So far, so good.  They ‘stick’ a bit more to the paper in my Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid BuJo than the Zig Art and Graphic Twin pens or my Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens, but I like the colour palette.  I’m sure I will get a lot of use out of them for sure.


Talking of my BuJo, I’m going to bravely share some of the ‘spreads’ I’ve done and share some of my thoughts on BuJo and how it’s working for me so far.

Bujo02 There’s a lot of stuff out there about bullet journaling, and a good place to start is, the website of Ryder Carroll, credited with starting the bullet journal system.

What attracted me to this system is it’s total flexibility and how you’re encouraged to make it work for you.

Rather than planning my day out, other than appointments or important dates, I use mine more as a journal where I record what I have done that day.

I find lists of things to-do can be counter productive for me; if I don’t tick things off I can be very hard on myself.  However, by recording what I have done, that just feels far more positive to me.

So, I do have a couple of ‘trackers’ in my BuJo for things I would like to do on a daily basis.

Notice I wrote ‘I’d like to do’, not ‘I must’.  That takes a lot of pressure off me, as well as the guilt I can have if I don’t get done what I thought I could get done in a day.  I’m far more ‘productive’ if I just get along with things.  I’m lucky to have the luxury of doing this as I’m self-employed, as well as being an arty, creative person.

So, here are my trackers, as they appear in my BuJo:




I’ve noticed I have some colouring to do on some of them.  I decided I’d like my trackers to span a whole year, which seems to be working fine for me now. I also wanted to add some of my favourite quotes to remind me of why I want to keep track of these things and their importance to me.

I decided to add the quotes in boxes, and connect them with strings of little ‘doodles’ called dangles (the book I’m working on – A Dangle A Day – is spilling over into other areas of my creative life!) I like how they’re not all symmetrical in shape and arrangement.

I like how I can use my BuJo for daily practices of all kinds of things from drawing to hand lettering.  I can keep lists and notes on things that grab my attention.  I keep pages where I write down notes and ideas; not to-do lists, just notes to myself, or things I need to ask others about.

I have sections with botanical doodles/sketches, a list of sizes of picture frames and mats, the size of card blanks.  I have examples of hand lettering alphabets, with notes about them.  I have dangle directories too, a result of my work on A Dangle A Day.

The index is invaluable in helping me keep track of the collections, especially when they occur over multiple pages with other stuff in between.

Of course,  I also have weekly ‘diary’ pages, and I’ve been trying out different formats for them, including these:




I’ve changed my monthly view for April, and here it is:


The one for march didn’t have any room to write appointments or events in.  This one certainly does.  Not sure what I’m going to put on the right hand page yet, though I couldn’t resist drawing part of a mandala there.

I’ve found it is easy to get lost in bullet journaling; especially the creative parts. That’s fine when it doesn’t take me away from things that must be done, such as doing books. But it’s a different way of practicing drawing, hand lettering, organising thoughts/interests/memories/ideas and so on rather than in multiple books (journal, diary, sketchbook, note book) – they can all go in one book.

If you’d like to see any of these, let me know and I may share some, or little tutorials on how I draw stuff.

The flexibility and the ability to change what doesn’t work easily is the biggest draw, as well as the ‘permission’ to do what you need to do, what is right for you.  There’s no shoulds or shouldn’ts about it.

The other thing is not to get hung up on perfection.  I get things wrong in it all the time, or don’t like what I’ve done.  These can be ‘fixed’ by the use of correction tape or sticking a new piece of paper over the mistake if it’s a biggie. I just have to remind myself it’s a work in progress, it’s hand-made (well the content is if not the notebook itself), and it will help me, I hope, to accept that something is ‘good enough’ without it having to be perfect in all ways.

I already really dislike the heading for my Mood Tracker, but it’ll do for now.  I may change it with paper and sticky stuff.  Or I’ll just leave it so I can see how my hand lettering progresses over time.



Spectrum Noir Artline Pens – a review

“These quality fine line pens are perfect for sketching, outlining and colouring fine detail.  Various line widths and colours.  Quality micro-pigment inks.  Light-fast and Water-proof.  Quick drying and smudge-proof.”

That’s what it said on the back of the pack of these pens.

After reading that information and watching a video on YouTube reviewing the pens, I thought ‘marvellous – I’ll give them a go’.

So, I ordered a set on Amazon and they arrived yesterday.

I was particularly interested in their waterproof and  quick drying smudge-proof claims. I tend to use a lot of water-based media in my work, my Sakura Pigma Microns and Uniball UniPin pens work perfectly adequately.

Naturally, I wanted to test them out.  In the back of my bullet journal (BuJo) I have pages set aside for testing media.  So, I drew some lines from each pen, and a pattern with the brush pen.  The pens wrote smoothly, though the nibs feel rather soft and I don’t know how they’ll hold up with  using them with my not very light hand.  Time will tell on that one.

The ArtLiner pens didn’t bleed through the Leuchtturm paper, though there was some ghosting, which happens with many pens.

The brush pen was not pleasant to use, but that’s down to personal preference.  I write/draw with quite a firm pressure, and this pen just doesn’t suit me at all.

However, I did manage to smudge the lines because the lines remained wet for quite a while.  I was disappointed with that.  Maybe these pens were a bit too ‘juicy’ to dry quickly, or maybe it was the smooth nature of the Leuchtturm paper that resulted in them taking a little longer to dry.

To test this out, I drew a design on some Canson Mixed Media Imagine paper using the 05 and 03 Spectrum Noir Artliner pens. Here’s a photo of part of the drawing.


First thing I noticed was that the ink took a while to dry on this paper too, and though you can’t see it on this image, I did manage to smudge the ink on some of the leaves at the top.

I left the drawing to dry for a goodly amount of time (my cat, Cuffs, needed a long cuddle before he settled back down for big sleeps) and came back to colour it.

I started off using Faber-Castell’s Pitt Artist Pens, which I used to colour the top part of the image.  I noticed that the colours looked a bit duller than usual.  That signalled some warning bells in my mind.

I switched to Zig Clean Colour Real Brush pens with a Tombow Dual Brush blender pen.  I definitely noticed the black ink spreading.  You can see that in the rows of leaves dangling down, especially those on the right side.

I left this drawing overnight and went back to it not long ago.  I added just clean water to the bottom leaf on the right.  You can see how much the ink bled and smudged.

Not happy. But I wondered if it was the paper.  So I went back to the test I did in the back of my BuJo, and you can see here the results of that.


The Tombow blender pen, Zig Art and Graphic Twin pens, Zig Clean Colour Real Brush and Pitt Artist pens all caused the ink from the ArtLiners to bleed.  All of these are water-based media.

So, from my little tests, these are not what they claim.  Maybe I had a dodgy set, but for all the pens to behave in a similar way?

I won’t be buying them again. I’ll stick to my trusty Sakura Pigma Micron or Uniball Unipin pens, and they are pens I would recommend to anyone.

Just to emphasise, I don’t have any connection with Spectrum Noir, I bought the product myself, and I just wanted to share my thoughts with you on these.

A Dangle A Day

As it’s WIP Wednesday, I thought I’d share the cover of my current work in progress – A Dangle A Day.  It’s all about drawing dangles and stuff the Angela Porter way. I’m doing all the illustrations plus the writing too!  It’s not a colouring book, it’s a tutorial book. There’s going to be a little bit in it about BuJos (bullet journals) too!

It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon; release date is 6 Sept 2018.