Let me start by confessing that when I get excited about a product, I love to tell people about it. It’s similar to how I would never keep my favorite trail a secret from my friends. Currently, I’m geeking out on the Baron Fig 2018 Planner, which I have big plans for. Before I dive into my project, it would be fun to get other artists on board.
I should mention I have no affiliation with Baron Fig—I’m just happy to promote brands I love when I believe my friends will love them too. This comes from being a thoughtful consumer, but also a designer who can appreciate a great product when I see one. This particular product was an excellent investment for me; not only will I enjoy using it, it will serve as a valuable tool in my growth as an artist.
The trusty Baron Fig Confidant
I’ve been using the Baron Fig Confidant notebook for my UX and visual design work for the last few years. I don’t remember how I first discovered Baron Fig, but I do remember unpackaging my first notebook from them. Inside the cleanly designed and neatly fitting box, the notebook is accompanied by a simple illustrated card reading “Tools for Thinkers”. For me, new notebooks are exactly that. They feel the same as new sketchbooks, each offering the promise of untapped inspiration and creativity.
Upon removing the cover of the box, it’s immediately apparent how well-crafted the notebook is. The hard bound, cloth-covered book opens perfectly flat from any page, creating an uninterrupted spread. The notebooks are available with blank, ruled, or dot grid pages. The dot grid is perfect for my design work and the paper is heavy enough to hold up to the many scribbles from my pens.
The beautiful Baron Fig Planner
The Baron Fig newsletter occasionally announces new products and limited edition notebooks. It was in this email that I discovered their new planner, and I had to get my hands on one. On the outside, the Baron Fig Planner is a replication of the classic Confidant notebook that I’m so familiar with. However, the planner is only available in one size and color, unlike the two color options and three sizes of the Confidant.
I honestly prefer to manage my calendar and projects digitally, but with the planner’s minimal design and open spaces in the daily and weekly layouts, it’s the perfect framework for daily doodles and sketches.
Ever since my days of sketching during my bus commute, as I share in my recent post, I’ve recognized small sheets as the perfect canvas for casual and consistent sketching. It’s less intimidating to get started with and easier to keep up with when trying to create and maintain the habit of sketching. It’s also more likely that I won’t hold my artwork too dearly, allowing me to be braver in my artistic exploration.
I would say the only aspect of the planner that makes it less than perfect for sketching is the weight of its pages. It’s not as thin as many notebooks, but if you work primarily in pen like myself, you’ll see through the pages a bit.
At the start of 2018, I’ll be diving into the Baron Fig Planner with the goal of sketching in it every single day of the year. Taking it further, I’ll be challenging myself to explore new subject matter along the way.
The daily sketch challenge
I created this challenge for myself, but in my excitement over how rewarding it will be, as well as my keen interest in seeing other people sketch more, I wanted to offer this challenge to my fellow artists. I believe it will be a fun activity for both established and aspiring artists. Here’s what I’ll be up to:
Before the first day of each month, I’ll be assigning challenges to myself in the monthly overview spreads. I’ll write a note for each day of the month, specifying the subject matter or concept I’ll need to sketch on that given day.
Each and every day, I will sketch in the approprite box within the weekly spreads, while accomplishing the assigned challenges noted in the monthly spreads.
Along the way
The first spread in the notebook is an annual overview. I’ll use this section to cross off individual days that I manage to sketch on time. On days I miss (if there are any), I’ll still go back and sketch the challenge of the day, but I’ll circle that day on the annual view to highlight that I had missed it and returned to it later. This way, a lost day isn’t truly a lost day, but I’ll still have a record of how consistent I was in staying on track.
With the last 20% of the planner consisting of dot grid pages for taking notes, I’ll use this section to write about my progress and jot plans for future projects if my daily doodle inspires a bigger, better concept.
I hope other artists find this as fun as I do. I’m really excited to get to work! At $22, the planner might be pricey when you think of it as a notebook. However, it’s comparable to competing products, and extremely affordable—or at the least a sound investment—if you think of it as a sketchbook that will last an entire year.
The next Baron Fig product on my list of desired acquisitions is their backpack. I’m not sure I would be as stoked about it if they hadn’t already won me over as a loyal customer, but the qualities are hard to ignore. I admire how well the designers translated their notebook design into a backpack, all the way down to laying flat.
What helps you stay accountable to sketching on a regular basis? Do you have a favorite notebook or sketchbook? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.
And if you plan to pick up a Baron Fig Planner to participate in this daily sketch challenge, I would love to hear from you and follow along. Comment here and tag me on Instagram!