Clairefontaine My. essential bullet notebook

This is the second iteration in the Sketchbook Selection series and this was done a lot fast than I anticipated. Basically, I gave up after half a page.

You can actually see a bit of shading on the green here, the only upside of phone photography.

The book itself is nice, but it obviously is not meant as a sketchbook. It has content / index pages, all the journal pages have page numbers, soft-cover but with an elastic band and a weird little pocket in the back. For completeness I will mention the ribbon but I feel this will be a recurring thing and I might as well start mentioning when there is no ribbon instead. It features 90gsm paper, 9 index pages and 184 numbered dot pages.

Noteworthy is that everything is in both French and English and for some reason this annoys me. Coming from a monitory language (31 Million speakers globally) I am somewhat used to it but mixing two huge markets such as French with about 300 Million speakers and English with a whopping 2 Billion speakers… It just feels cheap and this journal is not from a producer of inexpensive goods.

There are 9 pages in the front of the book like this.
Ok, this one I could get over.

But the real reason I put the book aside after that half page of mindless scribbles are the dots. Yes, I knew I was getting myself a bullet journal and yes, those have dots. But people on the internet told me that dots are fine to doodle on, you might even like it, they said. I was lied to, it hurt my eyes and my brain and the chances of me ever picking up another bullet journal for anything but giving away as about as big a very small thing.

Something else I would have issues with in the not so distant future is the transparency, it just shows through. This is the other side of the sheet I drew on and yeah, I just want something that does not do this.

For the scoring I tried to be as neutral about the actual properties as possible, Clairfontaine is not to blame for my weird brain and they do make some nice paper.

  • Absorption is absent, this ink will dry on top of the paper instead of soaking in and that is one of the key things in getting nice and crisp fountain pen lines. 5/5
  • Smoothness is strange with this paper. It feels really smooth to the touch, no texture whatsoever and when I start to draw it suddenly is like dragging a pen over a rubber tire. I thought it could be the ink or pen, so I tried all combinations but that made no difference. 3/5
  • Transparency is another disappointment to me, which is to be expected with 90 gsm paper, the picture says enough I think. If this does not bother you, go ahead of course. 3/5
  • The soft cover is some sort of plastic faux leather textured sheet of something, I did not try to put stickers on it but I think they will hold. 3/5 for not being a hard cover.
  • Price per page is pretty good, the 98 sheets / 196 pages come at € 11,95 which means a nice 12ct per sheet, 6ct per page. 5/5 for this price and how it handles ink.
  • The pages are stitched together and then glued to the cover. This means that you technically can lay it flat but it will require a ton of violence and will never be truly flat, just flattened. 3/5
  • The extra’s are mostly aimed at journaling, such as the index pages and the smaller sleeve pockets in the back and front. ?/5

So far this is an interesting experience. The book will not work for me and in fact, I am returning all bulleted journals to the store as I bought multiple to test out. The one I already wrote in will go to my wife who uses several notebooks for work each year, I wonder how she likes the dots.

Layer cake

The effect of blobs on top and then something else below that is just satisfying. While I like this in general, there is much to improve upon this iteration such as color combinations to figure out and there is some shimmer ink on the way that could be awesome for the top layer.