A short while ago I started testing the Arteza Watercolor Journal. Amazon recommended it to me because of something else I had purchased.
I’m giving you a link to Amazon above because it’s the only place I know to get it. I’m not connected to Amazon in anyway except as a customer, so buy it wherever you find it if you want to try it. BUT WAIT.
I don’t have time do to a written review of this journal, and I’m still working my way through it. I wanted you to be aware of this book.
I recommend that you wait until I have posted all parts of my review. Right now I think there will be about 6 parts. The book has good and bad attributes.
Then decide whether or not it’s something that you want to try.
You can view the journal at the Amazon link I gave you above. You will see it looks similar to the Hand•Book Watercolor Journal. I’m rather a sucker for PORTRAIT orientation in journals. I purchased the ones that were 8.3 x 11.7 inches. Remember they come in a two pack when comparing prices.
Think of this commercially bound journal review as a series of “In Context” posts. You know, those posts I do where I simply show you my journal spread and let you figure it all out, unedited.
Click on the pages and they will enlarge and you will be able to read my thoughts just as I jotted them down.
Going forward in the coming weeks, with a couple breaks for other posts, I’ll have about 6 or so of these related review posts for the Arteza Watercolor Book letting you know what my experience using these books has been.
I’m doing it this way because otherwise it would be months before I reviewed this commercially bound journal. This way you don’t have to wait months.
Key Points So Far
OK, I’m going to depart a little from the “In Context” format as there are some key things you shouldn’t miss and you might not be able to read my handwriting.
Paper Surface Matching Across the Spread?
The paper is collated to have matching surfaces across most spreads, but in this book there is at least one where they aren’t matched. I don’t know if this is an oddity or what…
Despite what their advertising copy says there is a distinct difference from the front of the sheet (slight cold press texture) and the back of the sheet (smoother). They need to be matched across the spread so you can work consistently across the spread—it’s why we work in books with sewn signatures!
Paper Grain Direction
The paper is folded AGAINST the grain. This is a no-no in bookbinding.
You want to fold your pages so that the fold is parallel to the spine. This is because that’s the way the book opens and closes and where all the movement, wear, and stress occurs.
If you fold the paper with the grain it’s less likely that your papers will crack and fall out of the book, even in a sewn construction. (And this is a sewn book.)
Also, when you fold with the grain and you wet the paper any curling you get will happen to run vertically.
But when you fold the paper against the grain any curling you get will run horizontally. What does that mean for the book?
It means that on a page heavily worked with watercolor the top right corner and bottom right corner on a recto page will try to curl into each other, up and down. (And the left top and bottom corners of the verso page will try to do the same thing.) This means the corners will pull AWAY from the spine’s head and tail, causing stress at the head and tail of the spine—stressing any gluing you have in your construction, or any sewing you have in your construction.
It also will make the book less easy to close. (You’ll be always tucking your pages in so you don’t close the book and fold them oddly.)
But most important is the fact that you are folding the paper against the grain so you’re breaking the grain of the paper and the individual paper fibers that are aligned in that grain direction are literally BROKEN. And eventually your pages fall out. Sometimes they fall out before the book succumbs to the forces of pull and stress it is being subjected to; sometimes after that.
If I were making a book both of these situations would never happen. I care too much about how I want my books to be and how I want them to last.
If a student of mine did either of these things when making a book they would hear from me about how disappointed I am in them. (Oddly my students actually care about my good opinion so we know that NONE of my students would ever do either of these things.)
Should you avoid buying this book because of either or both of these things? That’s for you to decide. I didn’t know they’d been bound in this way when I purchased them. And after I did know I bought a couple more, because they are so inexpensive.
Sometimes you make decisions based budget. Or curiosity. (I want to know how they will last when worked by me and a friend I sent one to.)
I will have more examples, and a lot less text, about this commercially bound book in the next two weeks.