Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Art Alternatives brand (The same people that bring you the Pen & Ink journals) Sketch and Draw books on top of small Moleskine journal. Sketch & Draw products are designed and manufactured to be sold by independent art retailers.
They come in portrait and landscape sizes.
They have a colored diagonal elastic band to hold the book closed, (like the Canteo journal) rather than the more commonly used vertical band.
From the Art Alternatives Website "Sketch and draw when the muse inspires, anywhere, anytime. The pages within these sketch books eagerly receive pen, pencil and light washes. They offer ample tooth for laying down graphite, charcoal, pastel, colored pencil and ink. Each acid-free blank sketch book features an elastic closure, bookmark and expandable inner pocket. The portrait books measure 3-1/2" x 5-1/2" and the landscape books measure 5-1/2" x 3-1/2""
The MSRP on these books is $9.99
Find a local retailer that carries the Sketch & Draw books Here or buy online for only $6.49 each Here
Small Sketch & Draw Journal on top of a Moleskine Sketchbook and the Pen & Ink Sketchbook with medium weight pages. (The heavy weight Sketchbook is thicker, like the Sketch & Draw.)
Each has a ribbon bookmark, (which could be longer) and the Sketch & Draw bookmark is color coordinated to match the elastic band.
The cover on the Sketch & Draw is different than on the sketchbooks. This is a harder cover unlike the soft-feel cover on the sketchbooks. It's closer to a Moleskine cover, but slightly different.
The book opens flat, but because of the harder cover material, the spine is rigid and does not allow the book to lie flat.
Two stitches sew each signature in place.
There is a large rear pocket inside the back cover.
Of the fountain pens and inks tested, there was no bleeding, feathering, spreading or show through, though the paper is a bit toothy and I'm not sure I'd want to use these specifically to write in as a regular journal.
The paper is toothy because it's designed to be used with various drawing media.
The paper in the Sketch and draw sort of reminds me of the paper in the Hand*Book Journals, but I think it's thicker in the Sketch & Draw.
An interesting feature - the paper in the Sketch & Draw books has a different amount of tooth on each side of the paper. It's rougher on one side more than the other. This means that if you want to draw on consecutive pages, the tooth will be different unless you are at the middle of a signature.
Page corners are rounded.
I tried this book with Prismacolor colored pencils (shown above) and Cretacolor Mololith graphite pencils. The texture is quite nice for sketching with dry media.
I also tested it with Stabilo 88 markers, and Faber Castell Brush pens. It took the markers quite well, though I typically prefer to use markers on a smoother surface.
I tested the Sketch & Draw with a light watercolor wash on consecutive pages to see how it would react to the different tooth. There was a little difference, but nothing drastic. This paper takes a wash fairly well - it didn't really buckle.
The books are filled with 128 pages of buff-colored acid free 110g/m paper.
In closing, I think that this is a pretty interesting and versatile product for people that wish to draw with different kinds of media.
It's comparable in price and design to the popular Moleskine, but Moleskine Sketchbooks only have 80 pages, (versus 128 in the Sketch & Draw) and the paper found in them are more of an "oak tag" shiny card stock that isn't as versatile as the Sketch & Draw.