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.