Published: September 2016

Fall is finally here.

After a balmy summer, I'm glad fall has finally arrived. Not that it's that much cooler yet... but fall is absolutely my favorite season.

I spent much of September working on various sections of the site. I rewrote the about page, added to the work samples and updated some of my personal info. It's been a while since I updated any of those pages and it was long overdue. I placed ads on Sketchbook B and In Store Columbia. I restructured some of the page templates, started using subheads and now include an "about the author" blurb at the end of each post.

Since most of my spare time was spent working on the behind the scenes stuff, I didn't write much this month. I am, however, really happy with what I did publish. This week, I started a new recurring series: Designer Toolkit. Every Friday, I'm going to highlight pens, pencils, notebooks and more that I think designers will enjoy using. (And I've actually got two more regular series coming in October.)

Things have been slow over at In Store Columbia. Only one post this month. I will try to get back up to a weekly posting schedule in October.

-B

 

P.S. If you want a Christmas card from Team Wertz this year, click on the big red button and make sure we have your address. We are actually going to mail one this year.


 
 

On Instagram

War Memorial gets really dark on a rainy morning.

A photo posted by Bob Wertz (@sketchbookb) on


Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. In his spare time, he checks the weather to see if it's getting cold yet. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram.

Beyond Moleskines, Field Notes and Sharpies

Finding the best tools for designers

Designers love their Moleskines, Field Notes and Sharpies. And all of these are great tools. Go to any meeting of designers, look around and that’s pretty much all you see.

But about a year ago, I discovered the Pen Addict podcast and an entirely new world of pens, pencils and paper. A range of outstanding tools for writing and sketching that I never knew existed. Modern fountain pens. Japanese pens you can’t get in the standard US retail channels. Nice mechanical pencils. Wooden pencils. Sharpeners. New notebook brands.

Very few designers seem to know about the range of options that are out there and I really think designers would enjoy these writing instruments.

So I’m starting a new weekly series: Designer Toolkit.

Each Friday, I’ll profile a pen, pencil or paper product and tell you why designers should try it out. (The first post — about the Kuru Toga mechanical pencil — is already up.) And since many of these materials aren’t available in your local office supply store, I’ll let you know where you can get them.

These new tools may or may not replace your Moleskines, Field Notes and Sharpies. But they will open up a whole world of tools that you didn’t even know existed.


Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. In his spare time, he talks too much about pens and pencils. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram.

Designer Toolbox: The Kuru Toga mechanical pencil

A mechanical pencil with a twist

Red Kuru Toga with red lead

Designer Toolkit is a new weekly series on Sketchbook B that will highlight an analog tool that designers should be using.

 

Why designers will love THE KURU TOGA:

  • Precise, consistent lines. The Kuru Toga is a Japanese mechanical pencil with a cool trick... the lead rotates every time you pick up the tip of the pencil, keeping the point even and consistent. Great for sketching or taking notes.

  • Range of thicknesses. Kuru Togas are available in .03, .05 and .07 mm. Pick the line thickness that's perfect for your sketching style. 

  • Colored lead. Some Kuru Togas come with colored lead to match their body color. I've got a red Kuru Toga with red lead (pictured above) that's great for marking up proofs. 

Things to know:

  • U.S. vs Japanese models. In U.S. retail channels, you can find a limited selection of Kuru Togas, so you can pick up a basic model at your local Staples. But if you want more options — and trust me, you do — order from a company like Jet Pens and select from a wider variety. 
  • Disney edition. Love Mickey? You can get Japanese Disney-themed Kuru Togas through Jet Pens. 

How much?

The Uni Kuru Toga starts at about $5. You can find the entire range at Jet Pens.


Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. In his spare time, he apparently talks too much about pens and pencils. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram.