This post is the first in the Sketchbook Selection Series, click the link to read more about it.
From the Hahnemühle website promotional text: “The heavy, natural white paper feels both solid and flexible. The fine grain of the paper makes the pen slide over the surface virtually on its own.” This of made me want it to begin with but then they went on “Thread stitching makes for a solid binding and good flatness of the sheets.” making sure I would make a purchase.
On the Gerstaecker site the prices were reasonable and I had some stuff sitting in my basket (full 56x72cm sheets of fabriano artistico for another project) because I did not yet hit shipping earlier but with the books in there I did and off we went. In the end, I paid €10,90 for the portrait A5 hard cover with 80 pages / 40 sheets of usable paper.
Then, using my TWSBI pens and the inks mentioned on the mother page, I drew a bit. First with a brush pen some blobs and then line it in with the pens. Sort of by accident I started with the first page, the title page I think it is called.
The horror, look at that feathering in the blue horizontal lines! I mean, look at it! And the paper was behaving so well, all the ink stayed on top of it to dry and develop top notch shading. It took me a bit but the local nature of the feathering on this page made me wonder if there is not more to it. These turned out to be my fingerprints. I think that either my hands were / are really nasty or the non-absorbing nature of the paper makes the trace amounts of fat also lay on top and thus acting as canals for the ink to spread.
After that I did a full spread, now taking care to put a piece of sturdy scrap paper between my greasy fingers and the page. If anything to get a clear reading on how this paper is behaving.
And with a proper barrier in place, the paper does exactly as advertised. The green ink shades red in the right angle and thus completely invisible with a scanner.
Now that three pages are done, immediately I wanted to move on to the next book but if I do not grade the book now, I will completely forget how well it performed so let’s get to it.
- In terms of absorption, this paper is top notch. You can really see the ink lying on top of the paper in a little bubble line just slowly drying to the air instead of soaking in and it shades and sheens like nothing else. 5/5
- Unfortunately, it is not super smooth, it has some light texture to it and that can be mildly distracting coming from smoother paper. 4/5
- There is no transparency, written on one side is completely invisible on the other side. 5/5
- The book has a hard cover with some sort of cotton texture that looks and feels luxurious but stickers do not stick to it at all, nor is drawing / painting or any other modification made difficult. Not good. 3/5
- Price Per Page is good at 14ct a page, 27ct per sheet (haha, rounding). I think value for money and while you can go cheaper, I doubt it will be this good for fountain pens. 4/5
- Stitched binding with a flat laying page arrangement. Could not be better! 5/5
- No other special things, it has a single ribbon and you can draw on all pages. No title page, no pocket in the back, just a cotton covered sketchbook. 3/5
So far, this is a good sketchbook. It could be a bit smoother and not taking stickers is a minor point but the paper does as advertised and the ink is so pretty on it, provided you do not smear it with your nasty fingerprint grease. Maybe a stupid point but as the book has only 80 pages, it does not take a year or more to fill and will thus lead to a sense of accomplishment sooner. I like that more than I am willing to admit in person to anyone.
I can see myself filling this book and that is what counts in the end.