The nice folks at Pencils.com sent me the samples below. In 2010, they relaunched the popular Blackwing pencil, and in late 2011, they followed it up with a selection of notebooks paying homage to the pencil. I was excited to see that they partnered with the Turkish company behind the Fabio Ricci brand of notebooks to make these. (See here for a review of the notebooks I bought in Istanbul, including one by Fabio Ricci.)
The notebooks I received are from their Palomino Blackwing Artist Series and the Forest Choice series. Here, I’ll take a closer look at the Palomino Blackwing Artist sketchbook.
This is a 5 x 8 1/4″ sketchbook, same size as a large Moleskine. The outside cover has a smooth matte finish, with an illustration of a happy pencil by the artist MJ Bivouac. As is typical with most notebooks, there’s a removable paper band, an elastic closure, branding info on the lower back cover, and an inside pocket. Inside the front cover, there are lines for you to write your contact info and a date.
The sketchbook opens nice and flat despite a binding that seems a bit stiff at first. The pocket in the back is all paper, without any cloth reinforcement, so it might tear more easily than some.
The bright white paper inside has a somewhat hard, smooth feel. It works really nicely with fine point gel ink pens, no scratchiness at all. It’s also good with soft pencil. (I didn’t have a Blackwing pencil to test it with, unfortunately!) The only drawback I found was that a few inks almost seemed to bead up on the surface of the paper, and my brush pens went on with a greyish tone rather than a deep black. The paper performs really well on show-through and bleed-through.
Overall, I’d say this is a pretty solid sketchbook even if it’s not a game-changer in any way. At $19.95, these are a bit more expensive than a Moleskine, for slightly fewer pages (96, vs. the 104 in a Moleskine sketchbook) but I think many people will be willing to pay the extra dollar for something a bit different with this quality of paper.
You can learn more about Palomino’s other products here, and purchase these (and other) notebooks at Pencils.com. And you can also take a shot at winning the beige and green Forest Choice notebook pictured above:
I’ll select a random winner from entries received in these ways:
On your blog, post something containing the words “Palomino Blackwing” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this blog.
The deadline for entry is Friday August 24 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.