New Tangle Pattern Nolashrim; Review-Carnet de Voyage Travel Album

One lucky winner will be receiving TWO Carnet de Voyage travel albums of his or her own! Giveaway closed 3/13/12.

A few weeks ago I received a package in the mail.  It was totally unexpected, and seeing that it was from Karen at Exaclair, I knew it would be something exciting.  And…oh…it was!

My breath was literally taken away when I discovered the two Carnet de Voyage Travel Albums inside. I headed for the computer to look up more information about them, but couldn’t find a thing.  A few emails later, and a phone call with Karen, and I found out that these were a brand new item, not yet for sale.  I mentioned that I was planning to giveaway one of the albums, and she insisted that I keep both, and she would send one to the winner.

So this giveaway is all from Exaclair!  I’m only hosting, and happy to be doing so.  Thank you, Karen!

I’ve been teasing you with posts, but now it’s time for the complete skinny-

The Carnet de Voyage Travel Album

The Specs:

·         Small-5.8x8,26  in(148 x 210 mm)
·         Large-8.3x11.7 in (21 x 29,7 cm)
·         30 sheets
·         Acid-free paper
·         Color-coordinated double wire coil
·         Clear Acetate cover with watermark & images
·         Paper weight-83 lb. (180 g)
·         Elastic Band (fastened with grommets)
·         Sturdy Cardboard backing
·         Made in France by Clairefontaine

Look and Feel:
The look is marvelous!  The cover has a mix of photos, pattern design and watermarks with a blend of natural, Asian and nautical elements.  All of these are pulled together with an acute color-coordination that is just awesome.  Even the wire coils are chosen with an eye to the color.

Thought was also put into the weight of the se albums.  The paper is heavy enough to be durable and to hold up to most mediums, without being too heavy to carry. 

The paper has some tooth, but isn’t rough.  It’s textured enough for watercolor but smooth enough for pen, and just perfect for color pencil.  The back is somewhat smoother, but still has some tooth.

I colored lightly with a Neocolor II wax pastel and a No. 2 pencil, so you can get a little idea of the texture of the paper (front).
Normally, I don’t care for coil bindings, but found that the spacing on these books was perfect for my hand—I could use them as a rest while working.  Of course, that will differ for people depending on hand size.  The coils are no larger than they need to be for easy turning.   They do make it difficult to color right up to the edges with pen and marker.  With brush, it doesn’t make too much difference.

The punched holes allow the pages to slide a bit more than I like.  I think the paper is sturdy enough to take the stress, but the holes may show wear eventually.


A confession—I’d decided not to use the first page.  The covers are so beautiful that I worried I would ruin the effect. Then, I painted a page in the smaller album, using Nicholson’s Peerless Watercolors.  I was going to put zentangle® patterns down, but then realized I had painted on the first page.  So much for making decisions, lol.  I just wasn’t thinking.  But something must have been going on somewhere in my brain.   While I was painting, more or less randomly, I saw an orange, and I planned to emphasize a still life when I add tangle patterns.  But then I closed the cover….oh my!  I’d painted a huge orange moon, and ripples in the water, and, amazing as that cover was, it became even more amazing.  I wasn’t thinking, but my artistic muse was watching out for me!

Neocolor II-water-soluble wax pastels:
I decided to try out Neocolor II pastels for the first page of the large album.  I wasn’t as happy with the effect, finding it difficult to smooth out the lines.  I think this is more my lack of experience with Neocolor II’s than with the paper.  I haven’t used this product much, and need to learn more.  The cover is still fantastic—I think my lines are used to advantage, but I prefer the more intense color that the Peerless gives.

A second try with the Neocolor II pastels wasn’t much better.  Now, in my own defense—the ocean waves wouldn’t hold still while I was trying to paint them, and my bird model flew off before I even finished the outline.  What’s an artist to do?  I, maybe, tried to get too fancy with a ‘through the window’ effect.   But I did learn that the paper in the Carnet de Voyage will curl with heavy washes. If you weight it down once dry, the curl disappears completely.

The jury is out on using this product with the album.  I’ve had trouble with the Neocolor pastels on other paper, so it could be me that’s the problem, lol. 

Fiber-Tipped Pen:
I used Micron Pigmas .01 & .05 and a Sharpie Fineliner pen (not marker) to draw these two Zentangle®-inspired art (ZIA) works.   If you use a light-hand you can get a broken effect by not pushing down the fibers of the papers.  This is nice for shading effects.  (Tangle Patterns used-Stubs, Cadent Cross, Swaddle, Hi-Cs, Inlay)

 I don’t usually go for a sharp, bold contrast but I wanted to show that you get a clear, crisp line with your pen, so I went for less delicate shading, and more of a wood-cut look to illustrate my new tangle pattern Nolashrim.

A note about the pattern.  The Nolashrim pattern is best done working row by row, in the same manner as if you were weaving.  If you try to draw all the boxes first you’ll have a hard time getting the curved lines to fit in between.  The name—basket rims are commonly done with ‘lashing’, but this pattern was inspired by a basket with a ‘No Lash Rim’.  I just ran those words together. 

Alcohol Markers
I used my Copics to do a Bleedthrumanade, and the color is absolutely brilliant.  People have literally drawn a breath of surprise when they opened the album to this page. 

The amount of bleed-through is about 50%.  I forgot to scan these pages before I started drawing, but I think you can still see the difference in color intensity between the front and back.

I did a ZIA pattern drawing on the front, but I decided to so something quite different with the back. 

Which brings us to…

Mixed Media:
Given the very nature of the album, I feel sure some people will consider using it for art journaling, with collage and various items glued to it.  I decided to do a page that had some weight, and lots of glue.

I had so much fun with this one!

I was inspired by this work from Lyneen Jesse (Note: the blog hop giveaway is now closed).  The Bleedthrumanade I’d created made me think of a cosmic stream, sort of the Gulf Stream of the Cosmos, with tons of intergalactic junk, and I just had this vision of a rather normal-looking dog asking a couple of Steampunk critters what Steampunk was all about.

I stamped some images on blue tissue paper and glued them down.  I crumpled up some of the tissue and used it to simulate waves.  A sharpie marker (not pen) was used for writing, and then I glued on some pieces I’d made with Creative Paperclay®, Delight™, and Amazing Mold Putty.  The last touch was to glue on some lace. 
Normally, you’d do something like this for a book cover, or a canvas, not an interior page, but I wanted to overdo it, and see how the paper fared.

No buckling or dimpling occurred from the glue and there was good adhesion.  The clay items are well and truly stuck.  If you prop the book open so the page stands on its own, there is no droop because of the weight.  I didn’t try gesso, but I’m sure it would do fine. 

I think the only problem that might occur, if you started collaging, or throwing lots of heavy media at the album, would be that the elastic band couldn’t stretch enough to keep the album closed.

Colored Pencil:
The Clairefontaine paper in this album has enough tooth that I knew color pencil would do well, and I was right.  The pencil picks out the texture of the paper nicely.  You'll recognize the drawing from above.  I just turned it a different direction.  I laid down several layers of color with no hint of wax buildup.  I could easily have continued on to achieve more solid colors, but decided to leave this with delicate hues in contrast to the alcohol marker.  You can achieve a wide range of effects on this paper.  

In Conclusion:
I love these albums!  They combine attractive good looks with sturdy capability.  They work well with a variety of mediums. I’ll be traveling myself in a couple of weeks, and you may be sure that I’ll have mine in my carry bag!

The Contest:

   The Prize: One winner will receive two Carnet de Voyage   Travel Albums-one of each size.
   Giveaway closed 3/13/12 .
    The RulesU.S. only.

Comment on this post.  Include an email address in the comment. 
If you are uncomfortable leaving that information in a comment, email it to me at If I don't get an email address, one way or the other, your comment won't be included in the entries.

Oh, and if the winner uses their prize as a sketchbook, Karen would love a photo of their work to be used in a blog post with credit and a link to them.