Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Ok, I'll own up to it. I have a "thing" about paper. Ever since I was a child and my Mom would take me into the local stationary store, I just loved the smell and feel of paper. And I'm not really sure which I like more - holding a brand new journal up to my nose or flipping through the pages of a recently completed one. Either way, there's a certain Zen-like satisfaction involved.
With all the the various books in my arsenal, some have definitely risen above the rest.
For writing, I prefer Moleskine large ruled hardback journals. While the paper quality is less than perfect, (the thin paper sometimes allows certain fountain pen inks to bleed through) I prefer to use them for one main reason. They lie flat when opened. Most of my writing is done with the book propped on my leg- never at a desk. The size of the large opened Moleskine allows perfect balance for me to write easily on both the left and right hand sides of the book. I'm also quite keen on the light ivory color of the paper.
The spiral bound Apica "Exist" notebook has a much better quality paper than the Moleskines, but I just don't care for writing in a spiral bound book. They don't provide enough surface balance when they are folded back. (For my popular "leg writing" method.)
While not hard bound, the Moleskine Cahiers are a thin alternative to carrying a full sized journal. At about 80 pages, I like to use them for specific projects, and on-location note taking. I have both the large and small sizes, but prefer the large for the margin space at the top of the page.
Rhodia notebooks have a very good quality fountain pen friendly paper. (But it IS a very bright white) They have many notebooks in all different sizes and configurations, and I always like to keep a small 3x4" pad in my bag to jot down information I may need to refer to at a later time. I see that they have added a number of new ruled products to their lineup - I'll have to get some of those.
As a less expensive alternative to the Moleskines, I've tried one of the Hand*Book Artist Journals, and no sir, I don't like them at all. (Flickr review on Hand*Book) Once you get past the nice fabric cover, you find light ivory pages with the strangest of textures. While I might not care for this texture, it has held up well to pen, pencil, some markers, and light water color washes with little to no buckling. Sadly, though I barely use this book, it's starting to fall apart. The signatures are sewn in with only two stingy stitches and they started to give (then finally gave in) with very little effort. I will not be buying another.
For all purpose sketching/drawing with pen, pencil, fountain pen, marker, etc., I'm quite partial to the Canson Sketch Pads. It's a heavyweight sketch paper that's 100% recycled. It's help up well against all the dry media I have used on it, as well as some light water color washes. (The pages do slightly buckle.) I have these in just about every size available.
Canson also makes what they call an " All Media" book that's supposed to do just that. It's a heavier paper that's supposed to be better for taking watercolor, but in my experience, it buckles too much and I don't like the texture of the paper or the weight. I will not be buying another.
For drawing with markers, Borden & Riley #234 Paris Bleedproof paper for pens is very smooth, very white, and practically bleedproof. I have to say practically because my Staedtler Lumocolor markers seem to have the ability to bleed through brick. I really like this paper a lot, but because of it's ultra-smooth finish, I haven't yet found a use for it other than for markers.
I have a number of different books/tablets/pads for watercolor, but in my opinion, there is one product that is my clear favorite. Cachet Watercolor Sketchbooks come in 7x5" and 10x7" sizes, have a sturdy double spiral binding, are Dutch linen bound, and are filled with 25 sheets of medium tooth 80lb paper. Saturate this paper, and you might get a little buckling, but it flattens nicely once you close the cover. (Wait til dry to close!) The sizes (and durability) of these books makes them excellent for travel. Since I am admittedly in love with these books and the quality of the paper. it's quite difficult for me to use them only for painting. I've used marker on this paper, and drawn on them with fountain pens. The books themselves aren't cheap- ($9 for the small, $13 for the large) so I reserve buying them for when I receive a 30% coupon for my local art supply store.