Review and Giveaway: Coloring Notebook

I’m sure no one has failed to notice the adult coloring book trend that’s exploded over the last few years. Bookstores are jam-packed with them. Many have gorgeous , elaborate designs, but that’s all there is to them: pages to color. For those of us who are always carrying a notebook or journal anyway, the Coloring Notebook provides a way to combine coloring pages with notes and journal entries, all in one package. Let’s take a look at the free sample the makers sent me:

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From the outside, it’s very much in line with other Moleskine-type notebooks on the market, with a few variations: a black cover with elastic closure, back pocket, and a ribbon marker in yellow, which matches the head and tail bands. The back pocket is all paper– no cloth gussets– and feels a little flimsy. The cover has a smoother texture than a Moleskine, and overhangs the page edges by quite a bit. It comes only in the 5.8 x 8.2″ size.

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Inside, coloring pages alternate with free-form space for writing or drawing. Lined, blank and dot-grid versions are available. I tested the lined version.

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There are single page and double page coloring designs, but the coloring pages are always back to back with the lined pages. The lines are not noticeable when you’re coloring due to the dense patterns of the coloring designs. When you’re writing on the lined pages, the coloring designs to show through a bit.

The overall issue of show-through and bleed-through will vary depending on the materials you use. I colored a page with markers and watercolor paints. There was some show- and bleed-through with the markers. The paper buckled a bit with watercolors but was better once dry. At 100 gsm, the paper is not especially heavy-weight, so I wouldn’t really recommend it for watercolors, but markers or colored pencils should work fairly well as long as you have reasonable expectations about the show-through. The images below show the front and back of a colored-in page before I tested writing on the back:

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I didn’t test all of my usual pens, but you can see some bleed-through from the Super Sharpie below. Any showthrough from the other pens is camouflaged by the coloring.

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Technically, this notebook doesn’t offer any more writing space than most actual coloring books– they all tend to have pages that are blank on the back, or maybe have abstract designs on the back, as they want you to be able to cut out and frame your colored pages. If I were creating a coloring notebook, I might add additional writing pages, as I think most notebook users might be likely to use up the blank space before they finished all the coloring pages, but others might disagree. Either way, it would make a nice gift for anyone who likes to color, and prefers the look of a traditional journal.

You can buy the Coloring Notebook for $19.95 at Amazon.

I will be giving away an unused Coloring Notebook to one lucky winner, who will be randomly selected from entries received in any or all of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Coloring Notebook @coloring_ntbk @NotebookStories”, and follow @coloring_ntbk and @NotebookStories

On Facebook, “like” the Coloring Notebook page and the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the words “Coloring Notebook” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Coloring Notebook” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday October 28, 2016 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Notebooks Made from Old Jeans

“Urusha Maher is a final year architecture student in Chennai and says that people automatically assume you’re creative when you tell them your choice of degree. Perhaps, that is why one of her friends handed her a pair of worn out jeans last year and asked Urusha to make something out of it. The result was a cool denim jacketed notebook, complete with a pocket to carry your phone, pens and other trinkets, just like your jeans!”

Read more at: Don’t know what to do with old jeans? This Chennai girl will make you a notebook out of it | The News Minute


Notebook Paper Cake!

Fun idea!

Source: Write your own message on this notebook paper cake, and make homework sweeter


In Praise of the Basic Composition Book

A nice look at the history of the ubiquitous marbled composition book. I haven’t actually used one in years, but I love them nonetheless! Reading this made me want to buy one!

“Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat sketched in marble composition books, and Italian architect Ettore Sottsass used the covers to make furniture. Marble notebooks also furnish Eddie Vedder with working space for Pearl Jam lyrics.

Since no copyright applies to these books, a slew of brands make them: Roaring Spring, Top Flight, Swinton, Norcom, iScholar—the list goes on. And what differentiates these brands? Nothing, and that’s the beauty of it: the marble composition book, a simple, understandable product that costs a few bucks and delivers what it promises. “Teachers, students and parents alike love the product for its slim profile and stitched binding that prevents paper from tearing out,” said Amy Botkin, brand manager for ACCO Brands, owner of Mead, which has made marble notebooks for 42 years now. “It remains one of our top sellers.” “

Read more at  Why Is the Basic Marble Notebook Made by So Many Brands Still So Popular? | Adweek




A Very Yummy Notebook Page

Chefs can have some pretty interesting notebooks. This one belongs to Nick Wuest, who is a Pastry Arts student at the International Culinary Center. The first few lines of this recipe already had me salivating…

And here’s his results! Yum.

You can get the full recipe here: Play with your food: Brown Sugar Caramel-Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches –


Davide Bonazzi’s Sketchbooks

Great drawings from Bologna-based illustrator Davide Bonazzi:

“I confess I’m not the kind of artist who absolutely needs a sketchbook when he travels. Mostly I just enjoy traveling light, keeping my eyes wide open and taking pics. I used to keep sketchbooks when I was a student, and later I enjoyed doing sketches on my iPad, but for some reason I didn’t become an addicted to sketching.

Recently my girlfriend, who’s an illustrator as well, encouraged me to keep a sketchbook. I forgot how exciting this was! I made many sketches during my recent trip to the US; you can see some of these below.

I just used Tombow watercolor markers and I rediscovered the pleasure of drawing on paper, simply using a strong black outline to represent the things I was seeing. No eraser or CTRL+Z to undo what you’ve drawn here! As an illustrator I mainly use digital tools, and my style consists of “flat,” colored shapes, so it’s been nice to do something very far from my usual way of working.”

Read more at: AI-AP | DART » Davide Bonazzi’s Sketchbooks


Moleskine Monday: Two-Go Notebook

Moleskine has introduced a new product that will answer a frequent question I’ve gotten from readers: “Where can I get a notebook with plain pages on one side and lined on the other?”

The new “Two-Go” notebooks are an in-between size, 4.5 x 6.9″, with cloth covers, similar to the Voyageur. (Moleskine’s Pocket notebooks are 3.5 x 5.5″, and Large are 5 x 8.25″.)

I wondered about the paper holding up to both art and regular writing, but it has 144 pages of 100 GSM paper so show-through and bleed-through may not be as bad as with the regular classic notebooks, which are only 70 GSM. That said, it’s not up to the standard of the 120 GSM paper in the “sketch albums” or the 165 GSM paper in the hardcover sketchbooks.

Source: Two-Go Notebook – Moleskine ®



Notebook Addict of the Week: Ella

This week’s addict comes from a family who must have a house full of notebooks! Ella was previously featured along with her sister when she was only 5 years old. Her dad Shane has also been featured as an addict. Ella has not outgrown her love of notebooks. Here is her colorful collection so far:

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“My name is Ella. I am 11 years old. I am in 6th grade right now. I like to write down important things or events in my journals. I get it from my dad. Also, I like to write down meaningful verses from the bible. I have been writing in journals for about 6-7 years. I have two favorite journals in this picture. My favorite one is the Wizard of Oz one, and the second favorite is the Wonder Woman journal. “

Ella, thank you so much for sharing your love of notebooks with us! I hope you continue to keep writing in your journals for many years to come!

New Republic Article on Notebooks and Bullet Journaling

“I have never had a healthy relationship with notebooks. I hoard them by the dozens, I spend hours filling them, I have them shipped across the Atlantic Ocean by the German company Fantasticpaper….

My real work—writing lectures or things I actually intend to publish—all happens on a computer, of course, but my whole life happens in notebooks. And strange to say, it turns out I’m not the only one.”

I’m sure that doesn’t sound strange at all to anyone reading this here! This article in the New Republic goes on to discuss the craze for bullet journaling, and how it has been spread by beautiful Instagram images of people’s journal pages, which can inspire but also intimidate.

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“[Bullet Journal creator Ryder] Caroll insists that bullet journals are not just for the artistically and aesthetically gifted. “A lot of people get very intimidated by the system when they see it on Instagram and Pinterest because we have these people who are incredibly gifted calligraphers putting together these pages and people think, ‘I can’t do that,’” he explained. “Just start with the basics and let it bloom from there. Is there a minimal and a lavish version of the bullet journal? Absolutely. And they’re both right.””

Read more at Why the Humble Notebook Is Flourishing in the iPhone Era.

Review: Papier Tigre Notebook

Papier Tigre is a super-cool French brand of office supplies, including recycled notebooks that I’d seen online but never encountered in person, so I was very excited when NoteMaker in Australia gave me the opportunity to review a free sample.

The notebook I received has a lovely composition book look to it, but with a twist. The spine is taped, but the cover has a large mottled color pattern, as if a traditional composition book had been magnified and colorized. The notebook is smaller and in slightly different proportions than a composition book, measuring 15x21cm.

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The front cover has a box where you could write your name or the subject of the notebook. The back cover has a gold-stamped Papier Tigre logo.

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Inside, you get 3 signatures of paper, each in a different shade– light yellow lined pages, grey lined pages, and lighter grey plain pages. The cover and inside pages are made of 100% recycled paper, and you can see the colored fibers in the paper.

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The sewn signatures are glued into the spine so the notebook doesn’t quite open flat.

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The paper is pleasant to write on– not as smooth as some, but it has a nice softness to it. Based on the feel, I expected there to be a lot of bleed-through but there wasn’t– very slight bleed with a couple of pens, but the Super Sharpie bled much less than usual. Show-through was better than average. The paper reminded me of the Leonardo notebook I reviewed several years ago.

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The notebook I received is available at NoteMaker for a little over $15 USD. Other designs and sizes are also available.

If you are thinking you can’t afford the shipping to order from an Australia-based online retailer, think again: right now NoteMaker is offering Free shipping for International orders (delivery outside Australia) for any purchase over AUD$199. And if you think that sounds like a high minimum order, think again– it’s only about $150 USD at current exchange rates as of this writing, and they have so much drool-worthy merchandise– notebooks, pens, pencils, office accessories, bags– you will have a hard time spending any less!

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