When first encountering the Cappuccino Book, I was skeptical as my quest was to find the best sketchbook for fountain pen and I had a bad experience years ago with a toned sketchbook that feathered really bad and then bled through on top of that.
But then I read the following on the promo page for this book: “The smooth sketch paper, with its closed surface, is perfectly suited for working with Indian-ink pens, fountain pens and acrylic markers, as well as other water-based pens with minimum abrasion.”
Oh, my. The color I can get over that, give me my ink-specific sketchbook! One short trip to an art webshop later where I went kind of overboard with things I wanted and what apparently was still in my basket, I was the owner of two Cappuccino Book, one A4 and one A5 portrait.
Already I can say that if I order from that site again, I want another couple of A5 books as my impression so far is really, really good. One criteria I did not include in the bulleted list is weight and size in general, it did not seem like a consideration. Now with this one, the paper is super dense and 120gsm, so fairly thin. With a mere 80 pages, 40 sheets, this book is very light and compact, much more so than I anticipated.
First thing of note when using it is that the paper is toned but the tone does not get in the way of drawing, it can even add a lot using white pencil for highlights (but I am not skilled enough for that to showcase). In fact, I really enjoy a toned book with the Platinum Carbon Black, it contrasts without hurting the eyes. The other page shown here has a blue and a greenblack ink that do not work as well, I will try different inks over time but the black works very well either way.
In terms of make, this is a super sturdy German build piece of craftdwarfship that is on the pricey side for the amount of pages but if you know an artist and you want to give them a gift, give them two of these books, one A4 and one A5.
Now for the bullets:
- Ink absorption is absent, the ink dries on top of the page as one would expect. A waterproof test with the carbon ink was not needed, this book is not suitable for wet media. 5/5
- Smoothness is at the top of the smoothness scale, a bit more and it would be slippery, they hit the sweet spot. 5/5
- No transparency and that was a bit of a surprise, I expected with 120gsm to have a minor shine through from the big black brush strokes but … nothing! 5/5
- The cover is hard without becoming hazardous to your health, it is still cardboard. With the nice “recycled paper” look and the ability to hold stickers well, all points there as well. 5/5
- Price per page. Ok, here comes the low score. This book cost €10,90 for 40 sheets (27ct per sheet) or 80 pages (14ct per page) which is the same as the Nostalgie book also from Hahnemühle. That got 4/5 on that round so it will get 4/5 here as well.
- Strong stitched binding that easily lays flat and looks like it can take a ton of abuse. 5/5
- Notable is the cover, it has a cardboard recycled look and is very pleasant to hold. There is also a ribbon but that is about it. 4/5
This is the ultimate hipster sketchbook, if you like to draw with fineliner, fountain pen, dip pen or brush and especially if you like to then draw on the go, this is the best sketchbook you can buy.
And if you like to work with colored pencil and are afraid that you will miss your white, I suggest you still give it a go. Just bring a white pencil or gel pen for some highlights. You’ll be surprised and else, you can still get the Nostalgie book.