@Moleskine art album arrived today. It’s a tiny notebook, landscape spread, with cahier covers (which means thin cardboard covers). The pages are cream coloured, smooth, although not as smooth as Moleskine’s standard plain notebooks, and detachable. You can see the perforations in the photos above, and the last photo in the set will give you a good idea as to how tiny this notebook is (Pilot Falcon used for scale. Also check it out against a large Volant in the first photo).
It’s billed as a sketch album: “Ideal for pencils, pastels, charcoal, fountain pens, markers”. The paper is 120gsm or 81lb.
So how does this paper perform? Have I found the holy grail - a fountain pen friendly Moleskine?
Yes and no. As you can see, there is both show-through and bleed-through with this paper. The cat sketch was done with a Platinum 3776 with a music nib and Diamin Carnation. Surprisingly it was one of the best behaved fountain pen/ink combos in the group. No feathering, no spreading - just bleed-through and show through. I used a lot of ink in this sketch, so compared to the Caran D’ache Amazon leaves on the next page, the Platinum 3776 music nib behaved like a champ. 9/10
The teddy bear sketch was done with a Pilot Falcon with a soft fine nib and Sailor Sky High ink (managed to snag a bit while there was still some left). This is the second best behaved combo of the lot, but that didn’t surprise me much, as the Falcon SF nib is the finest of the fountain pens that I’ve tested. This gets an 8/10 because while the show through and bleed through were minimal, and there was no feathering or spreading, the ink pooled up kind of weirdly in the crosshatching areas. Not the kind of behaviour you get on a truly fountain pen friendly ink.
The Pilot Metropolitan medium nib was filled with Diamine Pansy (yes, I’m currently going through Diamine’s flowers box), and it was not great in terms of bleed through, show through, and in this case, spreading where I crosshatched and the ink pooled. This is good enough behaviour when writing, but not so great when sketching. I give it 6/10.
The worst of the bunch by far was the Platinum 3776 Sai fine with Caran D’ache Amazon. It was just awful. Caran D’ache Amazon has proven to be a difficult ink in the past, so it didn’t surprise me that it bled through the most, and that it looked funky on this paper. It looks as though someone dropped water droplets over my lines, causing the ink to fade in certain places and to spread in others. Fail. 3/10
The slip on thingy on the cover is trying to be useful, billing itself as a paper compass, but I don’t see myself ever using it. It is too large to fit in the back pocket without becoming a nuisance, so my guess is that not many will use it.
I don’t see this paper ever working well with markers. It works OK with fountain pens - depends on your pen and ink combo. There’s enough tooth this notebook to make a pencil feel comfortable, but not enough tooth (or space) for pastels. The paper is not large enough for charcoal.
Bottom line: give it a try. The format is small enough to allow you to suff it into your back pocket and it has more sketching potential than a regular Moleskine.