Review and Giveaway: Canson XL Mix Media Sketchbook

I think I first came across this notebook on the Blick website. It comes in several sizes, and I was excited to see that one of them was 3.5 x 5.5″, a rare size for sketchbooks. I went to the Blick retail store in Manhattan to see if I could check one out in person, but they only had other sizes, so I ended up placing an order online. Here’s what I got:

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Here’s the Canson sketchbook next to a pocket size Moleskine for comparison:

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The notebook is a pleasing shape and heft– a sharp-cornered rectangle, with a soft cover.  (The item photo at Blick shows rounded corners, so this may have changed since I bought mine.) The cover is fairly thick and substantial, with a faux-leather texture. On the back is a label with price and brand info– fortunately it peels off very easily.

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The paper is heavy enough that the whole notebook only bends slightly. The square spine reveals the stitched binding underneath.

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When you open the notebook, there’s a space to write your name on the inside front cover, but otherwise it’s completely plain inside– no ribbon marker or pocket, no other branding. The pages open quite flat.

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Given that this sketchbook is marketed as being suitable for mixed media work, I would hope it had substantial paper that could stand up to most pens, and happily, this does turn out to be the case! While the 160 GSM paper has a bit of tooth to it, it feels ok with fine rollerball pens, and really shines on showthrough and bleedthrough, with only the toughest pens showing through. I also tested it with watercolor paint after these photos were taken, and found that it held up well, with minimal buckling.

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I think this is a fantastic little sketchbook for artists on the go. It will slip right into your pocket, with no annoying hard cover or wire binding. Some people might want to protect the outside and corners by using it with some sort of notebook cover, but I think it should hold up pretty well as is. And at $4.49 for a 48-page 3.5 x 5.5″ sketchbook of this quality, it’s a great bargain at Blick. It also comes in 5.5 x 8.5″ for those who prefer larger pages, at only $7.99. (The manufacturer’s list prices are $7.70 and $14.35 respectively, but they are 41% off at Blick.)

Canson XL Mix Media Journal
If you want a chance to try the Canson Mix Media Journal for free, I’m giving one away! I’ll select 3 lucky winners from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Canson XL Mix Media Journal” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page, and post something containing the words “Canson XL Mix Media Journal” on the Notebook Stories wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Canson XL Mix Media Journal” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this blog.

The deadline for entry is Friday March 1 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.

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3 Responses to “Review and Giveaway: Canson XL Mix Media Sketchbook”

  1. Very cool! :) i love books w/ good paper… i am tough on my pages! lol

  2. Tweeted – looks great.

  3. [...] Canson XL Mix Media Sketchbook Review (via Notebook Stories) [...]

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