Moleskine Folio Sketchbook Review

So the first question about the new Moleskine Folio sketchbook is “HOW BIG IS IT?” Is it this big?

Is it this big?

Is it this big?

Well, when you stop having fun with perspective, it’s really this big:

I had seen the measurements before I ordered it– 11 3/4 x 16 1/2″– but still, when I actually held this sketchbook in my hands, I found it rather awesomely large, and the comparison to a pocket-size Moleskine was amusing.

Aside from the size, it’s very much like any other Moleskine, but scaled up– the paper band is wider, the elastic is slightly wider, and the Moleskine name stamped on the back is larger. Inside, the space for writing your name and a reward is larger, as is the Moleskine logo on the inside front cover. The ribbon marker is also extra-long. The proportions of these details are not just a 1:1 ratio with smaller Moleskines, but somewhere in between.


The paper quality seems very similar to previous Moleskine sketchbooks, though for the first time, these are indicated to be FSC certified/Mixed Sources. The paper also doesn’t seem as stiff in this size– it’s very creamy and flexible, and feels quite luxurious. You can see the comparison to a pocket sketchbook below:

Also, on closer comparison, the color of the paper is less yellowish than one of my older pocket Moleskine sketchbooks.

When I tested some pens and watercolor paints, I did notice some slight differences– one of my pens feathered a bit in the Folio, and watercolors seemed to bead up a bit more when using a light wash. (The Folio page is on the left below– at right is the pocket sketchbook.)

With a hard pencil, I found I couldn’t get as dark a shade on the Folio paper, but that is just an observation, not really a criticism. Soft pencil was fine on both, but as always with Moleskine, the paper is so smooth, it isn’t the ideal texture for charcoal and soft pencils, at least if you like the textured effects you can get with rougher paper.

It’s interesting to note that for these notebooks, Moleskine has changed their country of origin language to “Designed by Moleskine in Italy–Manufactured in China,” rather than the previous “Printed and Bound in China– Designed and Assembled in Italy.”

Specs: 160 g/ sq.m. top quality acid free paper, Mixed Sources FSC certified

96 pages

11 3/4 x 16 1/2″

List price: $40.00 but available for $26.40 at Amazon

Bottom line: if you like Moleskines and want a larger page to write or draw in, the Folio line should make you very happy. Those who are very particular about the smoothness or color of the sketchbook paper should beware the slight differences, but I’m sure most people will not be too disappointed. (I haven’t tested the regular lined and plain versionsin the lighter, standard paper weight to see if there are any variations from the smaller notebooks.)

I also purchased the A4 size Moleskine Folio version of the “Memo Pockets ,” now more appropriately called a “Portfolio.” I’ll be reviewing that soon.

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8 Responses to “Moleskine Folio Sketchbook Review”

  1. Love the perspective play :)
    The large size is so tempting – thank you for sharing this review!

  2. if you visit youtube and search for “moleskineart” and then for FOLIO, you will find three lovely 30 second television spots for the Folio range. These videos give you an unforgettable idea just how huge these new notebooks are.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZz_Qoa3MV8

    david boise ID

  3. [...] the Folio Sketchbook I reviewed, this is almost identical to the smaller Memo Pockets except for the name and size. It’s [...]

  4. Just got this book yesterday. 8 1/4 x 11 3/4 Started sketching last night. This morning noticed that where I erased turned the paper white! Its easy to erase off the yellow pigment of the paper! I dont remember this happening on the smaller moleskine sketchbooks. Its subtle but if your a big eraser user you might want to consider this. Great sketchbook regardless.

  5. Does the Moleskine Folio Sketchbook buckle when you put a light wash to it? Since the paper is much thinner than the original sketchbook i was wondering what the effect was other then the feathering and beading.
    Thanks.

  6. I’d also like to know if it buckles.
    I’m torn between buying this one or the Folio A3 plain notebook for my sketching/writing/drawing. I tend to use brushpens, pencils, and other relatively dry media (and only on one side of the page), but often need a splash of water for watercolor pencils… and I’m afraid that on such a large scale I’d also want to use acrylic paints. I want to get the huge Plain Notebook, but am afraid the paper would be just to thin and that maybe the Sketchbook is my best bet…

  7. [...] The folks at Moleskine have shared a few photos of their Milan office on Flickr. Check out that gigantic notebook! And we thought the Folio series was big! [...]

  8. I know that this is necroposting but BUYER BEWARE!

    These books may have been good from 05-12′ but the paper of these once loved books has gone to the birds! Their paper is no longer that good quality that the smaller sketchbooks had; they now have that flimsy, scratch papery feel. It’s a shame.

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