REVIEW: Moleskine Art Sketchbook

Admittedly, I bought this sketchbook because the cover was red and I am on a red kick this year. Last year it was moonglow and the year before that it was turquoise. What can I say? #colormood

You can find this sketchbook listed HERE on Amazon.

As a side note, I have used Moleskine planners and sketchbooks in the past. The quality is decent, usable for my purposes but nothing to write home about. I know they have changed their watercolor paper several times in the past but I am not so familiar with their products to have noticed this.

For starters, I just want to clarify that this Moleskine sketchbook is NOT a watercolor sketchbook. It is from their ART Collection product line and has smooth ivory colored paper. The packaging describes it as follows, "Made using pigmented pulp, this rich sketch-grade paper stands up to eraser use and provides a great base for a wide variety of media. Ideal for Moleskine Drawing Pencils and Moleskine Pens (I didn't know they made pens?), as well as pastels, charcoal, fountain pens, and markers."

104 pages, 111 lb./165 gsm acid-free paper, 5" x 8.25" with expandable inner pocket.

 

First Impressions:

I absolutely LOVE the red of the cover and matching elastic closure (sometimes it's the little things, am I right?). The size is really nice for quick sketches and it fits easily in my bag. The ribbon bookmark is a bonus. I always forget to use the inner pocket and goodness knows if I put anything in there it might as well be in a time capsule (LOL).
I was a little bit disappointed to discover the paper had an ivory tone rather than being white (I prefer a warm white paper). This isn't a huge deal considering my intentions for this sketchbook BUT I do not like how it gives a yellow tone to the watercolors. It is also more difficult to photograph and often ends up looking more yellow in pictures or throwing off the white balance sensor in my camera. 🙁

Performance:

I fully agree with Moleskine's claims and think that this paper works really well for pencil sketching and ink, including fountain pens and limited use of paint markers. It also handles the watercolor surprisingly well. I was happy to find that I could use wet washes and layers without warping the paper much at all. In fact, it dries fairly flat, so I have no complaints. That being said, I did notice that the colors seemed a little on the dull side and certain effects just don't work. Salt, for example, produces almost no texture at all on this paper. Some granulation is apparent, but not as much as I would expect, especially from colors that I know produce granulation on watercolor paper. As an added bonus, this paper also dries pretty quickly which is great for working in a sketchbook format. While the paper is smooth it does not have the same feel as hot press paper, which I find to be rather slippery for lack of a better word. When dry, the paper surface tolerates erasing well, but when wet it does not react favorably to scrubbing or lifting and will start to pill quickly.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I would say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the use of this sketchbook, however, that is directly related to the purpose I had in mind. I bought this knowing the quality of the paper with the intention of using it as a "no pressure zone" to create. Due to the fact that it is not watercolor paper, it liberates me of having any self-imposed expectations or responsibility to "make something good". I am free to experiment, splash around, and work more roughly than I usually do. It encourages me to sketch more often because it has been designated as a safe area where I can simply play. There is a shift that happens mentally when we pull out the good paper and suddenly feel obliged to make something we are proud of but I truly believe that creativity needs more space to flourish and that this is just a trick of the mind. At the end of the day, it is just paper and we shouldn't let a thing like paper become an obstacle that stands in the way of artistic expression. This is something I have been working on overcoming and it is still a work in progress.

While I am happy with this sketchbook as a creative outlet I would say that it does not replace an actual watercolor paper sketchbook. I am still on the hunt for a sketchbook that does all the things I want it to do and I have several new sketchbooks in my collection that I am itching to test out now that this one is complete. Hope that you found this review helpful. Sometimes you just have to buy things because they are RED! ❤️

Thanks so much for reading and if you would like to get a page by page look at this sketchbook, please see the video below.

Moleskine Sketchbook Flip Through

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Moleskine Art Sketchbook

  1. Reply
    Robin - June 19, 2019

    I used one of these earlier this year (the pocket size), and I enjoyed playing around with it. Now that I have practiced and learned a bit more, this would not be my first choice for watercolor, but I might try it for colored pencil only. I often experience the intimidation of sitting down with “good” paper and feeling obligated to create something perfect!

    1. Reply
      Amy Earls - June 20, 2019

      Yes! I agree! It’s really not meant for watercolor but helps with that intimidation factor. Thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment!

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