Inspiration. Part 1. An Ode to Stationery

Where do you get your inspiration from? AAA! That question makes me want to run away, scream really loud and eat crisps in a corner. That's the initial reaction. But once I start digging deep into my process I kind of enjoy exploring that inspiration and stuff and actually it's quite hard to stop (love over thinking and over analysing, woop woop! ;). 

One thing I always felt inspired by is STATIONERY! Even as a little kid I enjoyed notebooks, paper, pencils and my Dad's technical drawing set (it had several compasses, lots of funky metal things and it was stored in a beautiful velvet case). Choosing a Diary for a new school year was better than Christmas! And of course... drawing paper, sketchbooks, pads, notepads.. ohhh! A lot of my friends in art school said they could draw on a napkin, toilet paper or newspaper. They couldn't care less. And I was envious of their freedom & I felt like a spoiled brat needing beautiful paper and the perfect pencil. I thought I might grow out of it, teach myself to be less of a paper/tool snob. Nope, that didn't happen. But what happened is that I embraced the addiction. And the addiction is now fuelling my inspiration, creativity, work and in the end is bringing me money! 

andsmilestudio illustration, girl in blue jungle

In the beginning of summer I heard from MARK + FOLD, they were kind enough to give me one of their beautiful hand bound sketchbooks to fill with whatever I fancied.  Usually I hoard sketchbooks & notebooks, the more I like them the less likely I am to use it. So this time I was actually forced to start using the sketchbook I liked the most. It felt terrifying and liberating at the same time.

mark + fold and travel kit by andsmile studio


I instantly felt in love with the texture of the cloth/cover. It's very tactile and made me want to pick up the sketchbook more, which led to drawing more, keeping it always in my bag and getting it out as soon as I had a minute or two. 

The paper was quite thin and very smooth. I was a bit worried about how much paint it would be able to take and was pleasantly surprised that despite being quite thin and delicate it could handle all the paint I wanted to layer on it! And I did some thick paint pages there! 

I took the sketchbook to V&A with my sister when she visited, to a cute plant caffe in East London and even ordered a beetroot coffee to match the drawing (purely for a photo), I took it on a mini holiday to Cornwall, I took it to the parks on the picnics with cider and strawberries and spent many weekend mornings playing with paint on the pages of the sketchbook. 


It really inspired me to create work I wouldn't have created and it encouraged me to draw more. That's the point of a great sketchbook, right? I'm a big believer in spending money on something which makes you happy. And beautiful paper and cloth bound sketchbooks is something which is making me happy & inspired! 

andsmilestudio illustration viktorija semjonova girls in pink and blue
andsmilestudio illustration viktorija semjonova girls in pink and blue

Here is the final result of a sketchbook.

They are inviting everyone to share the contents of your sketchbooks & notebooks. And I really love seeing insides of someones notebook, so please do share! :) #pageturnerproject

MARK + FOLD kindly gave me the sketchbook but my review of their sketchbook is my opinion. I am really in love with their beautiful products. :) 

What inspires you?