Category Archives: Daler Rowney

Softcover and Single-Signature Notebooks from My Collection

On my “to-do” list for this blog has been a comparison of various notebooks in similar styles. I thought I’d do a post about softcover notebooks, and one about single-signature notebooks, similar to Field Notes and Moleskine Cahiers. So I went rooting around in my collection to find various examples of these styles, but the results were a bit daunting:

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Not only did I find a rather large number of notebooks, I discovered that there’s kind of grey area between these two styles, so I ended up arranging them in a sort of continuum of variations, from thicker softcover notebooks, through thinner squared-spine ones, to the thinnest single-signature ones with stitched or stapled bindings.

From left, we have the “The II” notebook bought at Kinokuniya, red Piccadilly notebook, softcover Piccadilly notebook, white Conceptum notebook from Germany, Zequenz notebook, Leonardo pocket journal from Papyrus, Fabio Ricci notebook bought in Turkey, Soundless Soliloquy notebook from Etsy, a notebook bought in a museum shop in Portugal, Book Factory pocket notebook, Rendr sketchbook, Canson XL sketchbook, Daler Rowney Ivory sketchbook, Pocket Dept notebook, Rhodia Unlimited notebook, yellow graph paper notebook with green cloth spine from Turkey, Federal Supply Memorandum book, Moleskine Volant, Rite in the Rain waterproof notebook, Clairefontaine notebook from the early 1990s, slipcased German notebook and pencil from Carmen, another old Clairefontaine notebook, a more recent Clairefontaine notebook, Moleskine Cahier, Banditapple Carnet, Miro journals, fluorescent Field Notes given to me by a reader, white notebook from Deyrolle in Paris, Kikkerland Writersblok notebook, Moleskine Cahier decorated by me with stamps, Noted graph paper notebook from Target, Filou notebook bought in Turkey, Northern Central Co. Memorandum book from the late ’70s/early ’80s, Ink Journal, polkadot notebook from Portugal, black school quaderno from Vickerey, white promotional notebook from, (at this point the order gets scrambled in some of the later photos) black Doane Paper Utility Notebook, pale green Bound Custom Journal Memo, HitList notebook, OrangeArt Tattersall notebook, Artescrita 4-pack from Portugal, boxed Calepino notebooks, Word. notebook, Halaby Aero Flightbook, and Hahnemuhle Travel Booklets. Whew! I thought I had also included one other little graph paper stapled notebook that I bought in Portugal, but I can’t spot it in the photos– maybe it’s buried under there somewhere!

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And of course this isn’t even all the softcover notebooks in my collection. It’s also worth noting that of all these notebooks, the only ones that have actually been used even partially (other than pen tests for reviews) are the two old black/grey Clairefontaine notebooks and the Northern Central Memorandum book. I have other Moleskine Volant and Kikkerland Writersblok notebooks that I have used, but they weren’t the ones in these photos. I will probably use some of the graph paper and plain paper notebooks in the future. I ended up feeling like it was impossible to compare and contrast the features of so many different notebooks, but almost all of them have been photographed and described in more detail in other posts on this site already.

What’s your favorite softcover notebook?

Review: Daler Rowney Ivory Artist’s Sketchbook

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I purchased this sketchbook at Lee’s Art Shop in NYC (which is always worth a visit if you’re in town). I was attracted by the size and shape, as you don’t see that many slim softcover sketchbooks that are truly pocketable. This one certainly is– it’s flexible enough to keep in a back pocket but the covers seem substantial enough not to get too beat up. It could be described as looking like a thicker version of a Moleskine Volant. Shown below next to a pocket hardcover Moleskine for comparison– it’s a bit smaller and thinner.

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It’s very basic– no elastic, no pocket, no ribbon marker. Once you peel the sticker off the front cover (which seems like it will peel cleanly), it is plain black and free of any branding inside or out, except for the gold-stamped brand on the back cover (which looks a bit cheap, somehow).

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Inside the paper is smooth and creamy– not so different from Moleskine paper in feel, though it is said to be 90 GSM. All the pages are perforated, but the notebook really doesn’t open flat. I guess it’s no loss, in a way, as you won’t want to draw into the gutter when the pages are perforated.

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The smooth paper feels great with fine point pens, and fountain pens work nicely except for taking a bit longer to dry (still smearing at about 10-15 seconds). But show-through and bleed-through performance was not so great.

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So I’m left wondering who this sketchbook is for? If you want to just scribble some little sketches on the go with fine pens or pencils and then tear them out to use elsewhere, I guess this will fit the bill. But otherwise, I’m not sure it really provides any advantages over other notebooks and sketchbooks on the market. The list price for this sketchbook is $10.90, and I think that is about what I paid at Lee’s. Blick has it for $6.99, which seems like a better value. Other sizes are also available.

Daler-Rowney Ivory Artist’s Sketchbooks

Daler-Rowney Ivory Artist's Sketchbooks

Notebook Addict of the Week: Adebanji Alade

This week, we have another sketchbook addict, who is originally from Nigeria and now lives in London. He talks about the importance of the “sketch inspiration” for all kinds of artists. Adebanji himself is a talented artist, and an enthusiastic teacher– his blog is full of art lessons with videos on a variety of topics. As for his materials, here’s a shot of  some of his sketchbooks:

It’s quite a pile! His favorites for mobile sketching are 4×6″ Daler Rowney sketchbooks.