Collecting sketchbooks is a weird hobby. While I have the intention to absolutely use them one day, for sure, now that I am actually using some of them it is unclear why I ever bought them. Somehow I feel this goes back to the “buying art supplies” vs “using art supplies” hobby divergence and with a real intention (there it is again) of being financially more responsible in 2021, I will buy no new art supplies unless something runs out. I have two shelves of sketchbooks and only a couple of those are completely filled. I have a pile of large sized watercolor sheets to make my own sketchbooks if needed. I have enough paint to last a lifetime, enough ink for multiple lifetimes. Looking at my art supplies storage closet there is next to nothing I will run out of other than the motivation to use one or the other material for creation.
In the end, that is the trigger to purchase more diverse stuff. “If only I buy more of material X, the motivation for creation will return.” This completely ignores the fact that creation is often a tedious and exhausting exercise and when looking at the end result, it has a tendency to disappoint the creator. Yet, the urge to create remains and as an adult it is possible to steer that urge towards mastery instead of buying new things.
It feels like I am putting too much in 2021 as if to compensate for 2020 which was an undeniable disaster. The expectation is we get vaccinated and can go about our business more or less normal in the second half of the year. New years resolutions for me are things I have been working towards for a longer time already: draw daily, regularly paint, keep up the 3 to 4 times a week running and train for another marathon, stay away from sugar as much as possible. To this I will add financial responsibility as a way of life, I feel I spend too much too easy and I will have to work till I am dead to sustain myself and my bad habits. Let’s try and start with art supplies.
A fine example of spending too much is the purchase of the Sakura Sketch Note Book, a 160 page 140gsm book that for me came in landscape 21 x 15 cm. How did I get to this book? It was a suggestion from a webshop I was browsing… I fell for it, so to say. Hoping that a manufacturer of fine-liners can create a sketchbook that can handle fountain pen well is another example of my optimism and eagerness to buy stuff just to feel good and expand the possibilities of creation. As if I need so many different books to find the best.
Three pages are filled and I must admit, it exceeds expectations. It is a rather affordable book, € 10,70 for the 160 pages which comes down to 6,6 ct a page or 13,2 ct a sheet which is better than most I ran into so far for this paper weight. So the paper must be bad? Not really, not feathering at all. Rough? Nope, it is okee to draw on and does not feel scratchy. It is balanced for multiple mediums such as pen, pencil and pastels. Everything considered, this book is pretty good. No downsides? None that I could find, except maybe that the paper could have been 160 or 190 gsm to make it a little less translucent but even that is not hindering creation. The relatively thinner page will make that I will not buy it again but I see myself filling it in the future.
- The absorption is low on this paper but not absent, it could shade heavier and although there is no or very little feathering going on, still not perfect. 4/5
- Smoothness is lacking, it has a rough texture that seems to be in place more for the purpose of making the paper usable with more media than just pen and ink. On the other hand, good to know you can draw with pencil just as well as with pen in this book. 3/5
- Transparency is high enough to see through a page when flipping them but low enough not to see much of the alternate side drawing when using it laying down. 4/5
- The cover is another compromise, rounded and not so hard to be completely rigid but too hard to be called soft cover. If this would be my travel book, it would be completely destroyed before the book was filled. How well stickers will stick to it, I am not yet sure of. The one I put on there seems to stay in place but in a few weeks we can know for sure. 3/5 for the thin hard-ish cover.
- Price per page is good, 6,6ct 5/5
- The binding is stitched and allows for the book to lay really nice and flat, as it is wanted by me and many other artists. 5/5
- Three things worth noting is that this book was created by Royal Talens, made in China, it has an elastic pen holder and a huge pocket in the back.
Everything considered a nice purchase and I would argue the better budget option available at the moment.