Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A New Watercolor Journal!

If you've read the blog very long, you've heard me fuss about the Moleskine watercolor journals and the fact that I just really don't care for them. They're simply not my thing. However, it's nice to have a small compact journal like that to cart around when I'm out and about.

So when I read about Bonnie's find over on Flickr, I had to "see" for myself. She had found a watercolor journal at Hobby Lobby called The Art of Watercolor Journal. Anyway, nothing doing but I needed to lay my hands on one. As it turned out, when Chris and I went to the antique market last week, we took a 50 mile detour to Hobby Lobby, and purchased the journal!

I'm not sure what "handy crafted" is suppose to be and it doesn't say what kind of paper is inside, only that it is acid-free. I decided to go ahead with the purchase anyway. It is made very similar to the Moleskine's except with a rubberized cover. I suppose it's meant to be leather-like. Then again, maybe not.

What would determine the journal to be a keeper would be how the paper handled paint. Even though I have several other journals "on-the-go," I didn't hesitate to rip that wrapper off and get started painting inside.

I have to say that I have been pleased so far. I started with the first page of watercolor paper and painted a generic design as I always seem to have trouble making up my mind what should go on the first and last pages. I decided to paint a design similar to what you would see on a decorative end sheet. The paper curled a bit but not horribly. The paper handles paint much, much better than the Moleskine. That's a huge plus right there (for me). The paint did not drag or resist the paper.

Things were slightly different when I painted the back page though. The paint seemed to resist the sizing but only in certain places. Looking at the page on an angle, I could not see any glue or abnormal shine to the page, but there was definitely an inconsistency to the page. It took a couple of extra swipes with the brush to get the paint to adhere.
Until I painted that back page, I thought I'd found a new journal worth recommending to you. I'll have to do a few more pages before I can give it a thumbs up. Another plus in its favor is that the small size (3.75 x 5.5 inches) is only $7.00 and Hobby Lobby offers a 40% off coupon. Not a bad deal. If the pages are not funky. Stay tuned.......

16 comments:

  1. I just had to comment here as I don't like moleskines either - another fashion that's passed me by!
    I now make my own sketchbooks after investing in a Bind-it-all machine - now I get the size I want in the paper I want.
    Enjoy your new book. x

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  2. Gillian, if I'd had your email I would have sent this directly - do you like the bind-it-all? I've debated between one of those and one from the office supply store that would bind in larger sizes. Would love to hear your thoughts or anyone's on how well they like the binding machine!

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  3. Laure, this is too funny, I just bought the exact same journal last week. I wanted one that was not spiral bound and would lay flat. I have not yet used mine, but was glad to read what your thoughts were on it.

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  4. I don't like moleskines either. It's the paper that drives me crazy. I found a Japanese made notebook at Dick Blicks that I like ok. Not great but seems to do better than moleskin. They (DB) don't seem to carry it all the time though. I don't see it online. Hmmmm... Anyway I am at a loss for a good sketch book.Maybe I will be forced to make them.

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  5. Really cool little journal and we like those!! I really like the design of the front page too! Good luck with it!

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  6. Laure, I like the bind-it-all and you can bind anysize book you want with it. They have spirals that are as small as 3/8" for thin papers and books up to at least an inch for thicker books. I bound the whole cut up sheet of watercolor paper in a 3/4" binding. My only problem is the gap and unworkable space the spirals tend to leave so working across the gutter isn't as easy. But, as a tool it is really great. They sell a very heavy duty corner rounder too so check that out.

    Like your new endpaper! I hope the book works out but it's got an ominous feel to it. At least you tried more than one page before recommending it. I would have been telling everyone how great it was and then hit a bad page and have to go say I was sorry and wrong.

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  7. I sure like your front and back pages!!!!!!!

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  8. Let me know how you like it, Martha!

    Lisa, I've made some in the past, and I'll probably go back to that as I'm not usually happy otherwise.

    Thanks, Myra!

    Thanks for the info, TImaree, I've come close to getting one a time or two but always stopped short. May have to do it. Thanks for the tip on the corner cutter too.

    Thanks, Julie!!

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  9. I don't like the limited landscape size of moleskine watercolor books--why can't they make them in different sizes? and the paper isn't that exciting in them, but I do like having something small to take with me. What weight is the paper in these, Laure? I'm curious. I do think we wind up having to make our own...thanks for the heads up on this! I'll have to hear what else you say about it.

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  10. Hey, Sue, that's one of the things that bothers me about this journal—there's not much info on the paper content other than to say it's acid-free. The pages are thinner than the Moleskine's pages, but dry flatter.

    I'm hoping to get in some time with the journal this weekend. We'll see if that happens! Hope you get some time in on your fabulous portraits!

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  11. Can't wait to see what you come up with. I am making my own, also, and that way I can have the size and texture I want. love your end paper design.

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  12. Hi Laure - I just noticed your query re the Bind-it-all machine. I'm still getting used to mine and at first it seems complicated but you soon get used to it. There's a good instructional dvd that comes with it too.
    I don't like working across the join of a book so that's not an issue for me, so spiral bound is good. I enjoy making my own fancy covers too. Any size - any paper - any format. What more could you want? x

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  13. Hi Laure,
    Thanks for the information on this sketchbook.I don't know if it is available in the Netherlands.
    I use to make my own sketchbooks from Arches paper,
    but this week I bought a moleskine
    I don't like it for watercolor!!!
    maybe I'll try ink or aqrylics
    I have also a hard time with the first page of a sketchtbook and
    always start in the middle :)

    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Suzanne

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  14. Laure - there's nothing for it but to make your own! Then you can choose what paper - and what size - the journal is going to be.

    Thansk so much for visiting - I'm tons better now, and trying to catch up as per usual...

    Hugs, Susie

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  15. oooh! i can't wait to hear more! i too am not a moleskine lover for watercolor. keep us updated! great design on your pages!

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  16. Hmmm... I'm catching up on my blog reading and had thought about emailing you to see if you had any good links on how to make your own watercolor journal! I'm still interested in making my own.... looking for something really simple (no pricey machinery required) just to try out and see how I like journaling. Glad you posted this, though... nice to know there are inexpensive options available.

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