Tag Archives: markers

Review and Giveaway: Coloring Notebook

I’m sure no one has failed to notice the adult coloring book trend that’s exploded over the last few years. Bookstores are jam-packed with them. Many have gorgeous , elaborate designs, but that’s all there is to them: pages to color. For those of us who are always carrying a notebook or journal anyway, the Coloring Notebook provides a way to combine coloring pages with notes and journal entries, all in one package. Let’s take a look at the free sample the makers sent me:

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From the outside, it’s very much in line with other Moleskine-type notebooks on the market, with a few variations: a black cover with elastic closure, back pocket, and a ribbon marker in yellow, which matches the head and tail bands. The back pocket is all paper– no cloth gussets– and feels a little flimsy. The cover has a smoother texture than a Moleskine, and overhangs the page edges by quite a bit. It comes only in the 5.8 x 8.2″ size.

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Inside, coloring pages alternate with free-form space for writing or drawing. Lined, blank and dot-grid versions are available. I tested the lined version.

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There are single page and double page coloring designs, but the coloring pages are always back to back with the lined pages. The lines are not noticeable when you’re coloring due to the dense patterns of the coloring designs. When you’re writing on the lined pages, the coloring designs to show through a bit.

The overall issue of show-through and bleed-through will vary depending on the materials you use. I colored a page with markers and watercolor paints. There was some show- and bleed-through with the markers. The paper buckled a bit with watercolors but was better once dry. At 100 gsm, the paper is not especially heavy-weight, so I wouldn’t really recommend it for watercolors, but markers or colored pencils should work fairly well as long as you have reasonable expectations about the show-through. The images below show the front and back of a colored-in page before I tested writing on the back:

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I didn’t test all of my usual pens, but you can see some bleed-through from the Super Sharpie below. Any showthrough from the other pens is camouflaged by the coloring.

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Technically, this notebook doesn’t offer any more writing space than most actual coloring books– they all tend to have pages that are blank on the back, or maybe have abstract designs on the back, as they want you to be able to cut out and frame your colored pages. If I were creating a coloring notebook, I might add additional writing pages, as I think most notebook users might be likely to use up the blank space before they finished all the coloring pages, but others might disagree. Either way, it would make a nice gift for anyone who likes to color, and prefers the look of a traditional journal.

You can buy the Coloring Notebook for $19.95 at Amazon.

I will be giving away an unused Coloring Notebook to one lucky winner, who will be randomly selected from entries received in any or all of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Coloring Notebook @coloring_ntbk @NotebookStories”, and follow @coloring_ntbk and @NotebookStories

On Facebook, “like” the Coloring Notebook page and the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the words “Coloring Notebook” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Coloring Notebook” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday October 28, 2016 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Davide Bonazzi’s Sketchbooks

Great drawings from Bologna-based illustrator Davide Bonazzi:

“I confess I’m not the kind of artist who absolutely needs a sketchbook when he travels. Mostly I just enjoy traveling light, keeping my eyes wide open and taking pics. I used to keep sketchbooks when I was a student, and later I enjoyed doing sketches on my iPad, but for some reason I didn’t become an addicted to sketching.

Recently my girlfriend, who’s an illustrator as well, encouraged me to keep a sketchbook. I forgot how exciting this was! I made many sketches during my recent trip to the US; you can see some of these below.

I just used Tombow watercolor markers and I rediscovered the pleasure of drawing on paper, simply using a strong black outline to represent the things I was seeing. No eraser or CTRL+Z to undo what you’ve drawn here! As an illustrator I mainly use digital tools, and my style consists of “flat,” colored shapes, so it’s been nice to do something very far from my usual way of working.”

Read more at: AI-AP | DART » Davide Bonazzi’s Sketchbooks


Review and Giveaway: Rendr Sketchbooks


Rendr Sketchbooks are a new product from Crescent Artists. Their main claim to fame is that the pages are 100% bleed-proof. Now that is a pretty audacious claim. The only sketchbook I’ve ever found to be almost completely show-through-proof and bleed-proof was the Stillman and Birn 270 GSM Zeta series, which has a very thick almost cardboard-like paper, and only comes in larger hardcover sizes starting at about 5×8″. Rendr Sketchbooks have a relatively thin and flexible paper, and come in a very pocketable and flexible 3.5 x 5.5″ size, so I was very excited to get some samples from the manufacturer so I could give them a try.


First impressions: a nice plain black notebook with squared corners. Once you take off the shrinkwrap and the paper insert, there is no branding other than the word Crescent on the back cover. The cover is scored near the spine to make it easier to bend it all the way around. The paper is a cool, slightly greyish white, and when you first open the notebook you will immediately notice a rather strong smell. (It fades over time, but not completely.) The wrapper also touts these as having a lay-flat binding– I did not find it as totally lay-flat as they claim, due to some glue in the spine. It’s a bit smaller and thinner than a pocket Moleskine (shown below for comparison).


But what about the bleed-through? Can this paper truly take anything you throw at it? I’ll just say it: yes. It is downright freaky how bleed-proof this paper is.

I attacked it straight away with my Super Sharpie marker, which bleeds through pretty much anything. I drew a line and flipped the page: nothing. I even scribbled back and forth over the same spot and held it down to force as much ink as I could into the page: still nothing! I tested a bunch of other pens: no bleed-through. No show-through. Nada. The only way I was able to see anything through the paper was to hold it up to very bright direct sunlight, as seen below. I don’t know what kind of deal with the devil they’ve made to create such ink-proof paper, but it works! The paper does feel a bit thirsty and I found that fountain pens seemed to soak in and spread out slightly, though not with the feathering out fibers that you get with some papers. I also tested a watercolor wash, which the paper handled just fine without much buckling. That said, I’m not sure I’d recommend this paper for watercolors, as the paint had a weird grey tone when it was wet and the texture seems a bit flat compared to watercolor paper. The only other caveat is that the packaging states that “limited show-through may occur over time with heavy application of Xylene markers.”



You can buy Rendr sketchbooks and paper at Amazon or Blick: Crescent RendR No Show Thru Paper. Or you can enter the giveaway for the extra samples I received!

Two random winners will be selected from entries received in the following ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Rendr sketchbook @crescent artists @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @crescentartists.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Crescent Artists page and post something containing the words “Rendr sketchbook” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Rendr sketchbook” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday September 12, 2014 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Moleskine Monday: Nicoz’s Diary

Nicoz keeps a beautiful illustrated journal, in a page-per-day Moleskine diary. A couple of my favorites:

See lots more at nicoz goes west | swimming across the ocean.

Moleskine Monday: “Bleedthrumanade” at Life Imitates Doodles

Sandra has a great review of the Squared Moleskine notebook: Life Imitates Doodles: Bleedthrumanade in Moleskine & Review of the Moleskine Squared Notebook.

She shares my concerns about the darkness of the grid lines in recent print runs of these notebooks:

And as a bonus, we get to see some of her Zentangle-inspired art! Love the color and patterns:

She used the way the markers bled through the page to provide two ways to use the same color base:

“Got lemons, make lemonade. Got marker bleed-thru? Make bleedthrumanade.”

Daisy Yellow’s Top Picks for Art Materials

For a nice list of recommended materials for “art journaling, doodling and beyond,” check out this post at the blog Daisy Yellow. Among lots of other fun supplies, these notebooks are mentioned:

Moleskine Notebooks ~ I use the sketch lined or unlined Moleskine for doodling, making lists, planning trips, drawing mandalas.

Moleskine Watercolor Notebook ~ I use these for neocolor II crayons (wet/dry), doodling, watercoloring, drawing mandalas, acrylic paint, anything. The watercolor paper is beyond fabulous. I’ve painted on the back/front of the same page without a problem! No bleed-through. Expensive but a worthwhile luxury.

Hand Book Artist Journals ~ Great for sketching, doodling, writing & journaling. The paper is so enjoyable to use, and they come in a lot of fun shapes and sizes. Love the square notebooks. We use Hand books as travel journals.