Moleskine Myths: They Open Flat?

May 27, 2016


Above: A quick sketch of Dick sitting on the TV room couch next to a bright light. I worked in a new Moleskine with the whiter, more absorbent paper. Look at the gutter area and the offset that prevented me from working across the page.

There’s flat and then there’s flat. People who use Moleskines are always telling me that they use them because they open flat.

Overall I do think that the Moleskin sketchbook opens flatter than most commercially bound journals, especially on center spreads in a signature. (I’ve experimented in hundreds of commercially bound journals as you know if you’ve read my blog or taken classes with me.)

But there are degrees of flatness. As you can see from the above image there was so much offset between these pages across the spread that I couldn’t move my tool across the gutter (note the “valley” of lines that appear in that area as I tried).

Yes I was using a thick tool but the offset was such on this spread that even with a thin pencil I would have had to take special care to work into the gutter area and avoid the dangers of misjudging the paper level jog.

My point here isn’t to warn you off Moleskines. I simply want to point out that flatness is relative and if you are concerned about this issue journaling on single sheets or single pages might be your best option.

I’m currently working in one of the new Moleskines with whiter paper. The paper is also advertised as more absorbent.

I’ll have a review of the Moleskine next week.

In the meantime I just wanted to remind you all that when you are looking for a sketchbook or journal to draw and paint in consider making a list of your necessary characteristics and then think of your choice of journal as a negotiation between needs and desires which often conflict with the physical reality of commercially bound journals, and even handmade journals of certain constructions.

Don’t take a journal off the consideration table for characteristics which matter the least to you. For instance if I only worked with watercolor paper in my journals I’d have a very difficult time finding commercially bound journals that worked for me—because often I find that watercolor paper in these journals has an odor so strong I can’t work with the journal under consideration.

What can you really not live without? And ultimately how could you get “around” even that if it meant more sketching because you were always carrying your journal around with you?

Don’t lose sight of the real goal—more sketching!

And remember that to find a journal that really works for you it will be necessary for you to test many. Don’t see this as a drag, or a horrible task to get through. View it instead as an adventure—it’s a time to learn more about yourself, your tools, and ultimately what you want to get down on paper.

I’ll have the full review of the new Moleskine Sketchbook paper on Monday, May 30, 2016

Stabilo Tones

Meanwhile if you want to know what Stabilo Tones are use the search engine on this blog to look up the many posts I have about them and to see how I like to work with them. (You can still get this pencil in a limited range as the "Woody." Sadly the range doesn't include my necessary light colors.)

Timing Myself When I Sketch?

And why have I been writing down how long a it takes me to sketch Dick lately? Well it's a little game. He's tired and ready for bed and I like to keep myself honest so I tell him I'll only do a quick sketch. I like to know what that really ends up meaning. Also I'm trying to keep track of what I can do with certain tools and limited time, while I plan a new project. Remember my journal is my workbook and lab book and I'm gathering data for the future.

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    • Miss T
    • May 27, 2016

    Roz, that’s a great sketch of Dick.

    • SPD
    • May 27, 2016

    Love the sketch.

    There is a new sketchbook, “Frisk Ayflat Sketch Pad” It looks really flat in the illustration. 300 GSM. Although made in England, it is available through Amazon.

  1. Reply

    Thanks for the heads up about these.

    With only 20 pages I’d be through one a day so that’s a bit pricey.

    And they claim they are only for dry media.

    But I was intrigued so I ordered one and will check it out!

    • Janine
    • May 29, 2016

    After decades of struggling to find the “best” or the “right” sketchbook I have finally started making my own. Couldn’t be happier! I am/ was forever on the lookout for a book with good paper that wasn’t too heavy to always carry in my bag but never found anything that really worked long term. It meant a lot of abandoned sketchbooks in my cupboard b/c once I leave a sketchbook behind I won’t go back to it, which was making me feel like what’s wrong with me??? Why am I so fickle?) But wow, what was I waiting for all this time to start making my own? If you can fold paper and staple along the folded edge, you too can make your own sketchbooklets. Any paper, any size, and as many or few sheets as you want or as your stapler will go through. A strip of wide tape over the spine to cover the staples and voila, you’re sketching. True, they don’t look as nice as something casebound or stitched, but for speed, ease of use, ease of making and replacement and cost effectiveness, you can’t beat it! :0) At the moment, they have no covers, just naked signatures, but I’m thinking about how best to deal with that later, or maybe not even at all. You can do a round of the Roz Happy Dance now; you have converted another.

  2. Reply

    Janine I’m so glad that you’ve read my blog posts about binding your own journals and have taken up the call.

    Not everyone does however, so I’ll keep reviewing the commercially bound journals I come across.

    Have fun with your journals—having them just the way you like them—because I do believe that’s best.

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