Review & Artwork: Meadwestvaco Day Runner Floral Explosion Academic Planner

Meadwestvaco Day Runner Floral Explosion Academic Planner

Every year I invest in a calendar/planner that will fit in my purse.  Traditionally, it has been a Mead calendar because of the price and durability.  So when Alex, at Shoplet (Thank you, Alex!), asked me if I would be willing to review a product, I opted for the Meadwestvaco Day Runner Academic Planner.    You know I love using journals in ways they weren’t built for, and I’m no   different with plans for my planners! I chose the Floral Explosion version because it worked into my plans, and when I saw how pretty the planner was, I knew I’d chosen well.

The Academic planner is a wire-bound planner with a leatherette-style cover, light-weight but sturdy.

The Specs:  Item # – DRN816300A – Weekly, Monthly – 3.75” x 6.75” – July till June – 1 Week Per 2 Page(s), 1 Month Per 2 Page(s) – Floral

3 year reference (2010-2012)

Personal Profile

2 Contact pages

2 Notes Pages

Event Calendar for special dates

Holiday List for 2011, 2012, 2013 (US, Canada & Mexico)

There are two views for each month: a 2-page overview of the entire month and a 2-page per week, giving you more room for comments.



I tried several different pens and pen colors.  There was a very slight bleed-through with fountain pen, and some shadow.  The other pens didn’t show through (there are watermarks on each page, which show faintly in the scan).









What I’ve wanted to do for some time now, is start an art journal and I decided to test drive this planner for that role.  So dumped some gesso on a page to see what would happen.  Would the paper hold up? Buckle? Shred?  Would the ink show through?



I was surprised at how well the paper did.  At first, it curled, but as the gesso dried it evened out.  It doesn’t lay completely flat, but I think the unevenness has more to do with the thickness of the gesso, than with the paper buckling.


But, even with the gesso, the Fountain pen ink shows through.  There is some shadowing with the other inks, but they are very faint.


But here is that same page with some Ceramcoat paint and some tangles done with Micron Pigma and Brush pen!  The floral explosion design makes a beautiful border.  And I even got some sgraffito effects by running a credit card across the paint before it dried.







I decided to try various mediums to see how they would work.

I used Brilliance stamp ink pads on the page below.


Disappointingly, I couldn’t get the color to scan or photo well.  I had to photo the flat paper from the side to catch the gleam.  What looks like white below is actually a glimmer of copper and platinum.


I tangled this page using a Bic Atlantis retractable ballpoint pen.


Because of the refraction, in reality the pen looks like it is embossed on the page.

I want to have several pages of the planner gessoed, with colored backgrounds ready for journaling, so I continued to test mediums.


On the next page I used Daniel Smith Watercolor Interference watercolors, which show as one color in some lights, and another color in others.  Again, I had a hard time getting the color to show properly in a scan.  The close-up to the left gives you an idea of the shine.

I also tried pressing a foil embellishment into the wet ground.  Not a good idea.  The paper tore a little bit.  But, when I applied the paint, it tamped right down. The paper in this planner is tough!

This close-up gives you an idea of the shine.  

Strangely, this watercolor was the only medium that bled through to the other side!  It was very faint, however.

I went on to try Letraset Promarkers, Derwent Metallic Colored Pencil, and Faber-Castell Brush Pens over gesso.  All of these covered well, but did show line marks where the color overlaps.  I believe these could be smoothed out by rubbing as the color applies.  I’ll also be trying these without gesso.  There was no bleedthrough except when I strayed off the gessoed areas.

On some pages, I just used a pencil to create a grid, and I’ll use these to draw and label new tangle patterns.  They’ll be a reference when I’m tangling on my art pages.

I intend to keep gessoing or making grids of each page as the date is passed.  If there is some special note I want to keep, I’ll just outline around it.  During the year, I’ll have a calendar and planner, as well as an art journal that I’ll always have on hand.  It will be all the more a momento because the date tabs will give me a sense of when I wrote or drew in the journal.

You’ll be seeing more of these pages as I tangle them throughout the year.

The Meadwestvaco Day Runner Academic Planner is a well-laid out and handy-sized calendar/planner for everyday use.  It holds up surprisingly well to gesso, wet media and special effects techniques, so it will certainly take whatever beating it will get in your purse or pocket!

Interested in seeing how other artists have used office supplies for art? Visit the Shoplet blog for cool videos and posts of office supplies used to create unusual art.

Need office supplies?  Visit

Disclaimer:  I received this product for review, but did not receive any other reimbursement.  


Published by Life Imitates Doodles Art, Reviews & Tutorials

Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pens. I'm a self-taught artist who dances about with all sorts of artistic mediums. My main loves are Watercolor, Zentangle and Ballpoint pen. The subjects of my work are many and varied and change at whim. I'm a little bit crazy, but doesn't that come with being an artist? At my Life Imitates Doodles Blog, I post a list of resource links for Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways two times a week. I also write reviews, hold giveaways and share my art work.

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