Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tangle Pattern Penrose & Review of the Daycraft Signature Duo #zentangle #tanglepattern #DayCraft

 Review of the Daycraft Signature Duo
The moment I saw this promo video for the Signature Duo, I was in love.  I knew it was a journal that you would be interested in, because it is different!
I want to thank Daycraft for graciously sending me a copy so I could review it.

(Note: the new tangle pattern is toward the bottom of the post)

No. of pages: 160 pages
      80 pages lined - 6.5mm lined cream color paper
      80 pages dotGrid - 5mm dotted cream color paper
Cover material: Fine Italian PU
Edge printing: Inkjet printed edges
Duo-tone soft cover (comes in 5 two-color combinations. Mine is the Red/Burgundy)

Look & Feel
At first glance you might think this is a nice looking journal.  Leatherette-style cover, edging printed in contrasting color.  Nice.  But something is different and you look closer.  The front and back are different colors.  The edging color is different on one side than the other.  And there is something strange going on in the middle of the book!

The Signature Duo is two books in one.  Each side has a front and the two sides share a back, which has a different color on both sides.

There are two pages of matching colored papers on either side.

(Note: for some reason both my camera and scanner are picking up the burgundy as far more violet than it is)

On one side you have lined paper...

...and on the other side you have dotGrid paper.

It's all a little hard to explain and not easy to photograph.  If you watch the video I referenced at the beginning of this post, it becomes immediately understandable.

The dots and lines are both in a brownish-gray ink.  The dots seemed much lighter to me than the lines did.  Some people will be happy with this, but those with fading eyesight might like them darker.  The paper is very smooth, bordering on slick.

The concern with a book like this is whether it is going to be comfortable to use.  It is fairly light and surprisingly flexible.

I tried folding the cover behind, as you might while standing and writing in the book, and you can do it, though it takes a bit more effort to hold it tight.  If you have arthritis or weak hands, folding back might be a problem.

The pages lie flat, but one side has more support than the other.  I found it easy enough to adjust but the problem might be worse as you get to the back of the book.  If you are drawing and doing a double spread over both pages, you might have some problem.

All in all, I noticed the difference, but didn't find it a problem to write or draw in the book.  I was sitting at a desk with the book lying flat.

I had not problems with feathering.  The drying times were faster than I thought they would be, but there was slightly more show-through and bleed-through than I expected.  That said, neither show-through or bleed-through were terribly bad, and it was the wet fountain pen inks that went through.  It wasn't bad at all with the roller-balls and gel inks.

Even with the wettest inks I wouldn't hesitate to write on both sides.  Depending on what I was doing, I might not draw on both sides.

Alcohol Marker & Colored Pencil
I decided to do a bleedthrumanade on the dotGrid side, coloring one side of the page with Copic alcohol markers.  On the front side I then added layers of colored pencil.  On the back side I used Pigma Micron pens to add tangle patterns.

I feared that the paper would be too slick and the colored pencil would slide, but I had no problem building up layers or blending.  I didn't use the alcohol marker on the right bottom, so I could test the colored pencil alone.  I wouldn't recommend this as a colored pencil paper, but it is fine for light use or mixed use as I done here.

The alcohol marker didn't feather, and the colors are bright.  There was not buckling, dimpling or curving of the paper.

The bleed-through to the back was about 60 %.  

Fabric-tipped pens
I used three point sizes .005, .02, .08 for this piece.  The paper gives a crisp, sharp line without any feathering.  It was easy to build up values getting faint, wispy lines as well as bold lines.

Using the dotGrid to Tangle
I like using dotGrid paper to practice tangles, and to draw up my patterns, because the grids provide a guide that you don't notice later.  The lightness of the grid in this journal is perfect for my eyes. It helps me keep each step of the pattern a similar size.

Some of you may recognize this as the Penrose triangle, aka the impossible triangle or the tribar.  The arrows are meant to show you the direction in which I drew the inside lines for steps 4-6.

I don't believe anyone else has drawn up pattern steps in the Zentangle®  mode for this well-known , but if anyone does know of a similar pattern, please let me know so I can give credit.

So, is the Signature Duo a novelty journal, or a fantastic new design?  The answer is somewhere in between.  Daycraft suggests the split format encourages you to use both left and right sides of the brain, and I think for some it may be true.

It is a little more difficult to use than a standard journal, and some might not find the look or concept enough to overlook that.  Others won't be put off and will eagerly journal away.  There is something about actually flipping over and using the other side, that I personally find appealing.

I intend to use the lined side for notes about ideas that are forming for future art, and the dotGrid I'll use for drawing and creating tangles.

For the rest of you, you'll need to decide how excited the design makes versus the way you like to approach your journaling.

Other reviews
The Gadgeteer

Of Note
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