Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This Venezia Book is no doubt one of my absolute favorite products I've yet to review. And why is that? It's the paper...it's all about the paper with this one.
They come in 4x6", 6x9" and 9x12".
From the Artifolk Website:
Fabriano Venezia Drawing Books
"These beautifully made sketching books from Fabriano have 48 sheets of their smooth Fabriano Accademia paper.
Accademia paper is wood free, surface sized and acid free. The casebound, stitched pages of the Venezia books are 200gsm and have a sewn-in page marker."
And from the Savoire-Faire Website:
"A true example of fine art Italian bookbinding, Venezia is an upscale European sketchbook/journal perfect for writing, drawing, and even light water media. Features heavyweight Fabriano Accademia acid-free white fine art drawing paper with a very alluring texture....Red Bordeaux linen binding and satin ribbon bookmark."
For size comparison:
Smith & Papier Sketch Journal
Fabriano Venezia Book
Rag & Bone Journal
It's closest to the Rag & Bone with it's 6x9" size, but as you can see from this image, the Rag & Bone paper isn't as wide as in the Venezia. R&B paper is bright white, and the Venezia a soft off white.
An indication to what inspired the funky cover print. I'm not crazy about the print, but again - with this one, it's all about the paper.
Fabriano paper is made in Italy, and I am assuming that "Made in BiH" (Bosnia & Herzegovina) is where the books are assembled.
Designs inside the front cover - detailed inside the back cover: "The ancient fabrianese marks are reproduced on the flyleaf of the second cover. They are the first example of watermark, a technique invented in the Middle Ages by fabrianese craftsmen and used by them as a distinction mark."
The book opens flat (with a little encouragement) and lies flat. This is thick paper and you will sometimes be writing in/out of just a small bit of hump.
My first impressions included the following:
"Beautiful book - smells wonderful"
"Paper is interesting, very thick, smooth, but with tooth in a good way. Paper feels very luxurious."
"Nothing makes me happier than a paper that reflects a pens true nib width."
"Unsure of the cost of this book. I bet it's pricey. Could easily see a $30 price tag on it."
Boy, was I wrong about price. Try halving that $30 guesstimate. The 6x9" book runs about $15. Wow, right?
And here's my typical 10 fountain pen/ink test.
I almost laughed out loud like a giddy school girl. Nibs write true to width. No feathering, no spreading, no bleeding, no see-through and it dries quickly on the page.
The paper is smooth, but it is drawing paper and it does have a very slight tooth. It is not a shiny paper.
And while most paper will take a light watercolor wash that ends up kind of blah, or "claim" to take a wash and it's just o.k., this paper is pretty serious about it's claim because it responds better than I'd expected. It does not bleed into the paper into formless blobs that run together. Colors stay bright and defined.
I am no expert when it comes to watercolor paper, but I think I have an idea on what makes it good. The paint on the paper should be able to be re-activated once the paper is dry. You would be surprised at how many papers do not allow this simple action to happen.
Next, paints should be able to be mixed directly on the paper. The above example shows just that.
Mandala drawn with a Lamy Safari EF nibbed fountain pen filled with Noodler's Red-Black ink.
Stabilo 88 Markers - worked great, but I don't suggest scrubbing repeatedly over the same spot with a marker or watercolor brush. After all, it is a drawing paper, and will only take so much.
Faber Castell Brush pens - look great.
Sharpie & Staedtler Lumocolor, worked well with minimal bleed through.
Drawing pencils in varying hardnesses. All worked wonderfully - though I'm not a big fan of "H" pencils on any paper. (So why do I even have any? They came in a set.)
In closing, the book could use an elastic closure. That's my only critique. I think it's an excellent product for people who use a lot of different media in their journals, but especially fountain pens. :o)