Leda Goes Hawaiian

Waikiki Beach by GJ Gillespie
Travel Art Sketchbook Passes Pacific Island Field Test with Flying Colors

Kirkland, January 2, 2016

THE LEDA ART SUPPLY LABS in Kirkland, Washington set out on a bold, quality control mission: Test the Leda art Journal's performance in the harshest tropical conditions of the Hawaiian Islands.

Would the dense, 81 pound paper and flexible all-weather cover withstand the high humidity, 80 degree temperatures and tropical rain storms that blast Oahu in December?

To find out Leda Creative Director GJ Gillespie and his wife Teresa, both artists, agreed to subject two Odyssey journals to rigorous sketching for six days in the island paradise.

GJ with Leda Sketchbook 
"Its a difficult job, but someone has to do it," says GJ Gillespie, who founded the company in July, 2015 to fulfill his dream of creating the ideal travel art journal.

The positive results are not surprising based on the strong customer reviews. With a 93 percent five star rating on Amazon, doodlers across the country have nothing but praise for the large, 7 x 10 inch sketch pad, which some say is the finest that they have ever owned.

The couple began making sketches of bathers and tourists lounging on Waikiki beach or exploring stores, coffee shops, restaurants and hotels lavishly decorated for the holidays. Other venues included the Honolulu Art Museum and Zoo, a secluded hike to the Makapuu Tide Pools in the south of Oahu and a drive to the north shore, famous for surfing competitions, shaved ice and exotic waterfalls.

"The quality of paper definitely holds up," says Teresa, attorney and Dean of a business school.

"Even after putting water color on both sides, the pages don't bleed or buckle," she reports.

The Ideal Travel Journal: Leda Odyssey 
Teresa used pencil and ink pen, while GJ used a simple ball point pen borrowed from the New Ontani Hotel in Kapiolani Park. In the evenings after dinner, water color was added to bring the sketches to life.

"The paper is dense, but not too thick. It has a fine tooth that takes application of pencil, pen or ink very well," says GJ.

"We knew how well the water coloring works from other tests of the paper when we designed the product. But, using it extensively on our vacation only confirmed that Leda Art Supply hit an artistic home run with the Odyssey Journal."

The proudest moment of the Hawaiian field test occurred while hiking back from a waterfall at the Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens and Cultural Reserve at the North Shore. Suddenly a heavy rain storm burst from the previously sunny sky.  Still a mile from the rental car, the couple huddled under a Hau tree, trying to escape the down pour with little success. With shirts and shorts drenched, GJ looked down to see that the sketchbooks were untouched. The leather-like all weather cover protected the art inside without a trace.

Customers confirm that the Leda sketchbook is all that it claims to be and more. In a typical glowing review,  S Marinez found that the Leda is superior to other brands:

"I have used Moleskine journals for years and while I like the hardcover exterior and compact size, the paper left something to be desired. I set out to find a notebook with thick, smooth pages that can hold up to daily abuse and travel. What won me over to Leda was that for the same price (or less) I was getting heavier paper than most other well known brands.

"At first I thought that the Odyssey was almost too big, but once I actually started sketching I found the extra real estate very useful. The paper is just the right color and the pages are high enough quality that sketches don't show through the back….I think Leda has a winning formula with this book. …[F]or sketching this one hits the sweet spot. Will definitely be getting more in the future!"

Order the Leda Odyssey on Amazon now


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