Four Notebooks Reviewed Part 3: Moleskine, HandBook, Derwent and Pen & Ink

After looking at various attributes of the Moleskine, HandBook, Derwent, and Pen & Ink sketchbooks (see Part 1 and Part 2 of this review), let’s sum up a few key points about these 4 very similar notebooks.

Moleskine:

Made in China

80 pages

Price: $10-15, depending on retailer

Where to Buy: Amazon and all major book and stationery retailers– basically, everywhere.

Pros: smooth paper is great for rollerball pens, slim format, easy to buy anywhere

Cons: expensive, smooth buff colored paper not always great for watercolors, everybody and their mother has one

It’s for you if: you like recognizable brand names, you can’t be bothered to shop online, and you mainly intend to write or draw with pen.

Derwent:

Made in China

80 pages

Price: $5.09-7.95

Where to Buy: FineArt Store, via Amazon; Jerry’s Artarama

Pros: nice pockets, heavy paper, inexpensive

Cons: some may not like the contrasting elastic or the bright white paper; suede cover can get dirty

It’s for you if: you’re on a budget, and you don’t want ink or paints to bleed through

HandBook:

Made in India

128 pages

Price: $7.28-9.99

Where to Buy: Blick Art Materials, Jerry’s Artarama

Pros: good value for the page count, clear plastic pocket, cloth covers available in nice colors for a different, classic look

Cons: slightly rougher paper may not work well with all pens if your main intention is to use the book as a writing journal

It’s for you if: you like a toothier paper for pencil drawings and watercolor; you like collecting things in the back pocket; you want a sketchbook that looks very different from a Moleskine

Pen & Ink:

Made in China

96 pages

Price: $9.99

Where to Buy: FineArtStore, via Amazon

Pros: feels very well made, soft leather-like cover, opens wide

Cons: cover sticks out from pages more than some may prefer

It’s for you if: you want a nice, plain all-around sketchbook that is very much like a Moleskine but cheaper per page, and you don’t like being told where to write your name in it.

Each of these sketchbooks has a lot to offer– I hope you’ve enjoyed this review and that you enjoy any of these notebooks you may decide to buy!

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5 Responses to “Four Notebooks Reviewed Part 3: Moleskine, HandBook, Derwent and Pen & Ink”

  1. Great review, as usual.

  2. Before reading this, I was pretty much sold on Moleskine. In particular, its ability to stay open by itself. It’s mentioned that the “Pen & Ink” will also stay open, but what about the Derwent?

  3. [...] tuned for one final installment in this multi-part review, where I’ll cover bang for the buck, where to buy, and wrap up the [...]

  4. fantastic review! very comprehensive, very helpful. This really helped me decide what to buy (i had been leaning toward a hand book, and now i’m set on it)!

  5. If you are heavy with wet media, DIY, watercolors, inks, etc. Handbook for sure! I accidentally tore apart the Pen & Ink by doing colorful inkblots… The paper in Moleskine are just unacceptable for watercolor, ie: they give this weird blotchy texture. I never tried Derwent though.

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