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Moleskine are a brand that are synonymous with class. Their sleek leather, slightly yellowed thick paper does wonders on the eyes and fingers.
I ordered the large moleskine sketchbook because I finished my old one and was looking for a change from the horrible stock paper that you can get from a supermarket. I wanted to spend a modest amount of money on something that would last. I found these on amazon for cheaper than anywhere else so I went ahead and bought the sketchbook and the music sketchbook aswell.
My initial impression was largely positive as I'd never really came into contact with 'classy' books like these before. For a while I treated it like absolute gold until I realised that most of the personality of something like this comes from its scars and odd scratches.
The paper itself was very good for pen, for pencil it wasn't as good, I think it has something to do with the grain in the paper? Either way it didn't concern me because I do ink drawings. The paper was thick and managed to handle the majority of inks I used (although not permanent marker). The ink never managed to bleed through to the other page which was an extreme delight, it meant I had free reign over all my over-active ink pens once more!
As for the book itself, the binding was excellent, not once did I worry about a page becoming detached. I think every 10 or so pages is binded individually and then each individual bind is sewn together for an extremely strong book and spine. I had no worries whatsoever about the quality of the book, the front and back felt extremely strong and yet still largely flexible for anyone short of space in their rucksacks.
There were however a few faults I could find with the books. If it had not been for amazon and their glorious prices, I would have paid far too much for this product. So long as you stick with amazon or anywhere else doing a similar price I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
The other qualm was with the size, it says large.
By large I was expecting an A4 size sketchbook for some larger drawings however what I received was indeed the large sketchbook but they are only A5. Just beware of this if you were planning it for big projects.
Apart from those quibbles I believe this to be an absolutely reliable product which will occupy my bookshelf for years to come.
I'm a complete and hopeless sucker for notebooks and sketchbooks. Though they're quite high-end for a lowly art student, my hoard is never without a few moleskines. (Waterstones' occasional 3 for 2 sales are a real blessing, as are Amazon's little discounts.)
If you're into notebooks, the iconic design should already be familiar to you: elegant rounded corners, plain black covers, and useful but unobtrusive features such as the elastic strap, ribbon bookmark and handy rear pocket for loose scraps. It's a simple formula that really works, and looks like a piece of art in its own right. It also brings with it little niggles that have always frustrated me about the brand, like tight binding that renders the first couple of blank pages impossible to fully open, paper colour that doesn't hold up well to a bit of erasing, and a tendency to bloat and come away from the spine if too many pages are used too heavily.
This "large" size sketchbook is 13x21cm in size, slightly narrower than A5, containing 100 pages of creamy-coloured acid-free paper. Costing around the £12.50 mark, they're not cheap, but one book goes a long way.
The paper is of a good moderate weight (250gsm), perfect for pen and pencil work, though it can stand up to a fair amount of wet media before showing signs of buckling. It's not perfect, though. The famous off-white paper looks great to draw on, but the colour rubs away easily and becomes noticeably whiter where you've corrected mistakes, even when using paper-friendly erasers like putty erasers. I find the paper's also too smooth for media that demand a bit of tooth and texture, like hard pastels, and it has a slightly shiny surface that some wet substances, like ink washes and watercolour, don't settle well on. It takes some getting used to working on, and not all your materials may take well to it.
Moleskines have a certain fashionable appeal that I both love and hate: the historical background and established high quality of the range are very respectable and attractive, but buying a moleskine doesn't turn you into one of the great masters. I find they're popular among students for that air of Deep and Arty Mystique when, really, any book would suffice to hold your Deep and Arty Thoughts. Buying into the legacy is all very dreamy, but I try to distinguish "wanting a Moleskine®" from just "wanting a sketchbook" - in most cases any decent plain sketchbook will do the job for half the price. With moleskines, you're buying a brand image and an ethereal, romantic concept of creativity as much as you're buying a quality product, so don't let it blind you to humbler options that are just as functional. Though they visually embody the "little black notebook", they're far from the only ones out there.
They do make a great last-minute panic gift - if you know any creative sorts and need a premium-looking present that's both handsome and useful, there's always a moleskine that'll fit the bill. I'm a lot more tentative to buy them for myself, in fact. The price is steep for a blank book, making it quite a big indulgence and not something for everyday doodling about.
Overall, the moleskine sketchbook is a great product that looks and feels good to use, but it's not without its flaws and is far from the be-all and end-all of sketchbooks that it's made out to be. It's more of a luxurious present for yourself, once in a while.
Welcome to my world. In my world this is where ideas are formed and developed. From the basic collection of ideas through to the planning, layout mock-ups and the design theory process for all of my work. I take this everywhere I go and a pocket sized version for when ever I leave the house.
As a designer, artist, writer and creative person alike, a notepad is an important piece of kit in your arsenal. The Moleskine brand is fashion accessory to creatives, like Apple is to students. This is the original iPad!
So what makes the Moleskine notebook and sketchbooks so great? Simply put - they are elegant to write on and sketch in. With your most favourite pen in hand you can glide across the paper so gracefully, unlike any other paper and notebook on the market. For those who are exploding with new ideas on a regular basis, or those who like to 'feel' the quality when writing, the Moleskine Italian made brand is for you.
The books themselves are bound in a unique cardboard, with solid leather in appearance cover with rounded corners. Each book from the Moleskine range has an elastic strapping which safely fastens your book and keeps it intact when traveling. With the rounded corners, if dropped, no damage is taken due to how firm the closed book is once enwrapped with the elastic support band, which can also act as an additional bookmark when you are not taking this on a journey with you. Every Moleskine includes a smooth strong ribbon placeholder which adds to the look of the entire brand that makes it stand out from the crowd. At the reverse inner sleeve includes a note holder and open compartment for storing additional notes, cards, or loose pieces of paper, to keep all important external notes, or printed media at hand inside your Moleskine.
With 100 high-quality and acid-free pages bounded by thread this Italian designer notebook is all you need to impress your clients, protecting your work and ideas, while feeling great while you write or sketch inside.
Once you become a Moleskine owner, you join the ranks of Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Oscar Wilde, who use similar versions of the Moleskine that was part of their creative process. This brand also boasts a huge online community of designers, writers and creatives who share their experiences when using their Moleskine creations and unique ways to get the most out of them.
With a Moleksine, you are not just purchasing a great notebook; you are purchases a piece of history and a major designer brand in creativity accessories.
If you shop around and look hard enough you can pick one of these up for £5-7 online, which often have a £15-20 recommended retail value.
There is no way of getting around the fact that Moleskine books are much more expensive than your standard hard back notebook. However they are of a beautiful quality. I think its the extra touches that sell a moleskine book like the extra storage pouch in the back cover for loose papers so its definitely the sort of thing you buy if you want to treat yourself. Alternatively, its a great choice if you need a durable notebook because a Moleskine sketchbook definitely outlasts all of the other notebooks I have bought. As such, it rapidly becomes something you bring everywhere; an inanimate companion. However, lets not get too sentimental, it is still quite pricey and my friends have commented that if they had paid as much for a notebook they'd try to only use it for "important things" which could mean that you might buy it and end up using it very rarely. However, it is the best notebook I've had and if you're tired of your notebooks falling apart, it might be worth investing.
Moleskine was the book of choice for Hemmingway so I go with it for most things be it a small pocket notebook or in this case a large sketchbook. I have to say, as a sketch book, I was a little disappointed and I would probably look to other brands.
The main problem is the paper. It is of a good weight but it is just not versatile enough for all sketch book needs given the almost glossy finish of the paper and how smooth it is. This is just not workable for anything beyond pen or pencil as there is just no texture to the paper.
At about 100 pages per book it is also incredibly overpriced for what you get. It does come beautifully bound with an elastic strap keeping it shut and once complete, looks lovely on a shelf, etc... I don't think this justifies the price though, especially given the quality of the paper. I would look elsewhere.
Moleskine produce a range of bound 'moleskine' style premium notebooks in a variety of formats (storyboarding, squared for graphs/etc, travel journal and so on) and sizes - the most popular being the blank or sketchbook styles. Moleskine make these with travel in mind - each book has an elastic band to keep it shut, a concentina style set of folders at the back and a hardwearing spine which means it'll survive a lot of bumps, wear and tear.
The paper (100 pages roughly to a standard Moleskine) inside is good quality - very soft, almost silky - cream coloured paper which is much more pleasing than the dead-white colour that you often have in sketchbooks. It's probably considered heavy weight and while it's very durable, it's hard to work with when you're using some types of pencil but if you're an ink-based artist, then you're in luck as the Moleskine paper and format seems to make that medium pop right off the page. You can find a lot of examples of people's Moleskine art on online communities such as Livejournal and on specialist blogs devoted to the subject. If you're a painter or pencil devotee however, Moleskine do make a specialist watercolour pad which is much better suited.
Now, these are great quality pieces and essential for artists working in pen/ink but they're extremely pricey. The best place to buy them is from Amazon which seems to be the cheapest place for Moleskines (only read the descriptions of each item carefully to ensure you get the size you want) but you can now get a knockoff from ASDA for three pounds! Obviously the paper is not as pleasent, the quality isn't as great but the basic elements are there. Personally, I feel the expense is worth it as a amateur artist who draws strictly for my own pleasure, it feel rather lovely to have them all safely bound together in a Moleskine.
The Moleskine Large Sketchbook is bound in cardboard, with a 'moleskine' cover having rounded corners and an elastic enclosure. The 100 top-quality acid-free pages are thread bound, and the notebook includes an expandable inner note holder made of cardboard and cloth. Each Moleskine journal has a ribbon placeholder and removable card with the history of Moleskines.