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Earth Day Sketch Contest Ends Tonight!

18 Apr

Our Earth Day Sketch Contest ends tonight! If you haven’t entered yet, check out the details below, and get your sketch in before midnight!

Enter our Earth Day Sketch Contest with one sketch / drawing of your choice that you feel embodies Earth Day. It can be literal or abstract, colorful or black & white. We want to see them all!

Scan your sketch or take a photo of it, and email it in a jpeg format to info@europeanpaper.com by April 18, 2012.

Please include your name, valid email address, and any commentary on your sketch you want to include.

The winner will be announced April 21 and will receive one sketchbook and one art set!

*By submitting your photo, you confirm you own the rights to it, it is of your own work, and you give us permission to use it on our website or in any marketing material for European Paper Company.

 

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Earth Day Sketch Contest!

7 Apr

Enter our Sketch Contest & celebrate Earth Day with European Paper Company!

Enter our Earth Day Sketch Contest with one sketch / drawing of your choice that you feel embodies Earth Day. It can be literal or abstract, colorful or black & white. We want to see them all!

Scan your sketch or take a photo of it, and email it in a jpeg format to info@europeanpaper.com by April 18, 2012.

Please include your name, valid email address, and any commentary on your sketch you want to include.

The winner will be announced April 21 and will receive one sketchbook and one art set!

*By submitting your photo, you confirm you own the rights to it, it is of your own work, and you give us permission to use it on our website or in any marketing material for European Paper Company.

 

Fountain Pen Water Painting

27 Mar

Isn’t it great when you find a new use for something? For those of us who love (and purchase) nice pens, it’s especially great because it makes your already valuable tools even more valuable. 

The particular use I’m going to share with you today works with any fountain pen no matter how expensive (or inexpensive) it may be. And for those of you with a creative aptitude, you’ll really like this.

Fountain Pen Water Painting is a very simple technique. Draw a line with your fountain pen, inked with a favorite color of course, and then come along with a wet brush to make it bleed.

It creates a lovely effect and really highlights your inks.

In the images of the orange flower, I’m using a LAMY Safari with a Fine nib and Diamine Ink in Pumpkin. I’m using a Kuretake Waterbrush, but you can use any water brush and for that matter, any paintbrush at all. What makes a waterbrush nice is that you can house the water in the barrel of the brush itself.

 

Do you see in the progression of the flower being colored in how much variation there is in the color of the ink? This technique really gives a lot of dimension to the piece and it looks lovely too.

I stumbled into this technique a few years ago. It was spring and I was sitting outside with some postcard-sized pieces of cardstock, a fountain pen and a waterbrush. I drew a simple outline of a manatee and then ran back over the lines with my water brush. The ink didn’t bleed, but rather I was able to spread the ink around to exactly the spot I wanted it. My simple line drawing of a manatee became a nicely shaded illustration in just a few seconds with very few tools.

Here’s the original manatee, it was done with a LAMY Safari as well and I used Diamine ink in Damson.

This method became my method of choice as time went on. All I needed was paper, a fountain pen (which I already carried in my purse) and a water brush. No need for paintbrushes, cups of water, mixing dishes, blotting towels … the simplicity of the technique and the portability of the items needed is what has kept me coming back.

This technique lends itself well to lettering. The effect created when you add a little water to ink is beautiful. I’ve used this on the front of notecards myself and I always surprise the recipient when I tell them it’s just a little ink and water and a few minutes of time.

Here is the front of a notecard. Just lines.

Now, with my waterbrush, I trace over the letters. And I go over the letters once more, making them even thicker.

This technique can include actual watercolors too. You follow the same procedure as above, except you fill in or highlight specific areas with watercolors, acrylics, inks, marker or otherwise. Don’t be afraid to add more than one additional color.

Aside from being fun, this technique is incredibly relaxing. Since you don’t have to fuss with many materials, your focus can entirely be on the illustration. And for those of you who enjoy scrapbooking, journaling or writing letters, you can probably see how the addition of a waterbrush might be a worthwhile one. The options are as endless as your inks!

A Guide to Recycled Paper

23 Feb

There was a time when recycled paper came in two hues: washed-out gray and off-yellow. Now, recycled paper is available in a rainbow of colors, a range of materials, and even with custom printing options. But not all recycled paper is created equal!

Buying recycled paper reduces the amount of waste ending up in the landfill. It also saves energy – recycled paper uses much less energy to produce – and recycling causes less air and water pollution than manufacturing “virgin” paper. However, make sure you’re getting the biggest environmentally friendly bang for your buck. Keep in mind a few recycled paper definitions that will help you choose the most eco-friendly option whether you’re buying journals, stationery, or even office supplies!

Post-Consumer Waste vs. Pre-Consumer Waste

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycled paper must be made from at least 30% post-consumer waste. That means that 30% has been used by a consumer, turned into a recycling program, and then reused to make new paper. Pre-consumer waste, on the other hand, uses scraps left over from the paper manufacturing process. While it’s good to use up that waste, it’s even better to eliminate it from the paper production process altogether, which means buying paper with the highest post-consumer waste content that you can find. For example, the Mudlark notecards boast 80% post-consumer waste, a very eco-friendly choice for writing that thank you note!

Recycled Content

You might find paper products labeled with a “recycled content” or “contains recycled content” claim. In these cases, the product has less than 30% post-consumer waste or contains only pre-consumer waste. While it’s great to buy products that use any amount of recycled content, these paper options are on the low end of the eco-friendly paper scale.

Chlorine Free

You might see a number of chlorine-related claims on paper products. The bottom line: The chlorine bleaching process produces tons of toxins that may disrupt our immune systems. If you’re looking for top-shelf eco-friendly paper products, you want to find the “100% chlorine free” claim, which means the virgin paper wasn’t bleached with chlorine at any point, or – even better – the “processed chlorine free” claim, which indicates that the recycled content wasn’t bleached with chlorine.

Acid Free

Acid-free paper production neutralizes the acids that occur in wood pulp to create longer-lasting paper that won’t yellow over time. The paper itself can last from 500 to 1,000 years, which has made it appealing to archivists and scrapbookers, but that long-lasting feature has made it a subject of numerous eco-debates. However, the process to make the paper is significantly more environmentally friendly than the process to produce standard paper. So don’t choose paper simply because it’s acid free; choose a paper that is environmentally responsible in some other way and is acid-free.

Tree-Free Fiber

A tree-free fiber claim on a paper product means that material was derived from a source other than trees. These tree-free options are usually a little more expensive but provide you with the most sustainable paper option. Tree-free fibers include animal poop, hemp, textile scraps, sugar cane husks, and more. Check out the Cherry Blossoms Large Lokta Journal or the Poo Poo Paper Elephant Silhouette Journal for tree-free fiber options.

Sustainable Certifications

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) are both non-profit, non-governmental organizations that promote responsible forest management. Seals from these organizations indicate that paper has been approved in their certification processes. As is the case whenever multiple organizations provide the same function, there is significant debate over which certification is better; in North America, it seems the preference is for the FSC seal.

Finally, to score more eco-friendly points, look for recycled paper that is printed with soy-based ink. Traditional ink is petroleum-based, so soy is a gentler alternative.


New Brands on the Horizon

15 Feb

We’re opening the doors wide and are looking into all kinds of new brands to bring onto EuropeanPaper.com. We want to know what YOU are dying to get your hands on. Choose one or more of the brands listed, or add another we haven’t thought of – all are welcome!

 

Traveling “Outside of Myself” with a Moleskine Journal

15 Nov

A sampling of pages from Rudberg's art journal.

One day I received an envelope from the Art House Co-op, which owns and manages The Brooklyn Art Library gallery in New York. I had applied to participate in their annual Sketchbook Project, which allows people from all over the world to create their writing and art in “sketchbooks.” Expecting an artist’s book with thick pages, I was surprised to find a small blank Moleskine journal in the envelope.

Since I had never completed a full artist’s book before, I needed inspiration—some creative spark—to get started. Created in the 1990s, Moleskine was based on the iconic black hardcover journals used by famous artists and writers, such as van Gogh, Picasso, and Hemingway, in their travels. Like these artists, I could showcase my work in a journal, but unlike them, my travels would take place in my imagination.

I stared at the journal and thought about how I was going to create my art in about half the size I was used to working with (this Moleskine was 5 x 8.25 inches). I could use any medium as long as the journal maintained the same dimensions when closed. (Some people in the past got around this restriction by creating poster-size pages that worked like fold-out maps.) I was determined to honor the tradition of using the Moleskine as a journal and not as an altered book.

The journal itself—a large plain Cahier—was simply a cardboard cover with stitching down the spine, and 40 blank sheets (80 pages) inside. On the front inside cover was an “Art House Library” pocket, with an inserted card. The card said “Shh… this is a library.” My name, location, a theme that I selected from a list (“Outside of myself”), barcode, and online location for my journal were printed on the inside back cover.

The inside cover of Rudberg's art journal.

I named the journal “Beside Myself” with the subtitle “modern life, nature, and everything else in between.” I wanted to review and provide commentary on what I had learned so far about art and life. I would pretend to be my doppelgänger looking over my shoulder while I worked.

I created a series of drawings and gave them playful names such as: my brain on art; unisex head and Warhol sketch; my favorite soap and emoto phone; one continuous puzzle and protection against the evil eye; heart is where the home is and heart coral; life is a maze and play the game of life; and odd couple Norma Desmond and Bozo the Clown.

In this journal, I included a range of media: prints, etchings, screenprints, and mixed-media art, using ink, colored pencils, paint, digital media, glue, tape, and acrylic medium. I then applied a fixative spray to each page so that the pages would not stick together. The pages remained intact and sturdy no matter what I did with them.

As I worked with my journal, I noticed that it was developing into a living thing – a personification of my creativity and an expression of my inner spirit. It was a sad day when I had to mail back my Moleskine journal, but I knew that it would continue to live on in my heart and in the “cloud.”

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