Thursday, January 17, 2013

Moleskine Green Lego Pocket Plain Notebook

Notebook is one of the items (along with shampoo, toothpaste and body wash) that I don't like to spend too much (or at all?) on. For note-taking, I usually just take those misprinted paper from libraries recycle bins (which are 99% blank anyway), organize the loose notes with staples and folder then toss them all at the end of semester. Ever since I started to visit the blog of Mattias Adolfsson(who draws on a Moleskine with fountain pens), I developed a desire for a Moleskine sketch book despite the fact that I am not a fan of the hipster brand image.
Two weeks ago, I ended up ordering a 2011 limited edition Moleskine pocket notebook with a green lego brick affixed to the cover. Evidently, the combo of limited edition and the color green never fails (to get) me. The 11-dollar price was a rip-off (somehow my cheap self was expecting it to be full sketchbook-sized) but I guess that's the price every wannabe pays, when she/he initializes the hipster transformation.

As soon as I have placed my order at Amazon, I started to come by all those horrifying reviews (saying how bad it bleeds and feathers) on Moleskines paper , done by fountain pen users in FPN, blogs and Youtube. By that point, all I could do was preparing for the worst, welcoming my first pack of bounded-toilet-paper with open arms.
To start off the easy way, I went with Noodler's Bulletproof black, an ink that's deemed Moleskine-friendly by many (not to mention it was used with EF nib of Pilot Penmanship pen). Beside some smudges caused by the slow dry time of the ink, there is no feathering or bleeding. However, there is a significant amount of show through as the paper is not very opaque (In fact, if it weren't the small size, it would work as tracing paper). Not only it's impossible to draw on both sides of each sheet, there is also quite a bit of over-lapping once I flip the page.

On a side note, I do like how the warm ivory paper is smooth and non-absorbent, which takes water color like a dream: all I do is place the brush on the paper and it would just let the water and pigment just glide on the paper. I barely get any wrinkle once the water dries and the water rarely rush outside the drawn boundary.
Since my plan of using it as a drawing book somewhat failed (I guess I will just keep the drawing a few pages apart, separate by writing, to avoid any destructive interference...Wait, is it constructive? I totally forgot everything about waves), I went ahead and tried more inks with the note book. Beside there were some feather with Lamy Safari Extra Fine + J.Herbin Poussiere de Lune, everything else worked fine including this juicy broad nib of Pilot Custom Heritage 91 (inked with Lamy Turquoise). Frankly, I can't really blame the feathering on the paper, consider that my Safari EF is sharp and (still...after months of using) very scratchy.
The two gray dots are dust on the sensor...I don't know how to clean DSLR.
At the back cover of the notebook, there is a small pocket (with green fabric trims) housing two sheets of Lego stickers. I like stickers (or just useless and cute things of the sort) but those are too simple and juvenile, it's like they didn't even try...

Overall: Beside the thing with show through, I do like the paper (not enough for the price though) and I haven't experienced anything I had read about in those horror story. I suppose this is one of the better stock? Anyway, I guess I need to hunt for a new fountain pen-friendly sketchbook with thicker paper...


  1. I have many Moleskine journals and sketchbooks. My experience is that the journals are hit and miss with taking fountain pen inks.

    Be aware that the sketchbooks have a coating that do not take watercolor very well. I've had to Gesso the pages to get a good result with watercolors.

    The best journals that I have with fountain pens have been Rhodia Webbies and Quo Vadis Habana with Clairefontaine paper.

    1. I have been wanting to try Rhodia for a long time but a small (boring black) notebook costs at least 25 dollars (in a store near me...I will have to pay for online shipping anyway)so now I am just holding it off for a while. For the Moleskine, I actually really like the coating, it just let the water slip around for a bit before settling down...a perfect surface for watercolor noob like me.