A lot of artists swear by these little notebooks, and others are annoyed at all the hype surrounding them and their cult status.
Several blogs and websites are dedicated to the Moleskine. A Moleskine pronounced mo-leh-skeen'-eh is a small pocket size blank book with a black textured oilcloth cover which resembles leather, a permanently attached ribbon bookmark, a pocket on the inside back cover and elastic band to hold the cover closed when not in use. Moleskine pages are stitch bound, and this allows them to lie flat when open.
Well, that was the definition of a Moleskine back when they first appeared on the market in the late 's.
The most recent descriptions talk about the "Moleskine brand" which covers all kinds of products such writing instruments, bags, computer cases, booklights and glasses.
I'm going to ignore that newer, expanded definition; as far as I'm concerned a Moleskine is still a small black notebook, and that is what this article is about. One reason for the Moleskine's surge in popularity is the "art journal" boom which was helped by people such as Danny Gregory who has written several books including Everyday Matters.
People who hadn't considered themselves artists suddenly discovered they could find great fulfillment through drawing and journaling.
HOW TO: Setup a New Moleskine Notebook
Gregory's book An Illustrated Life: Using A Moleskine To Write A Book Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers shows how closely the Moleskine is associated with this phenomenon. This article is written for "pocket sketchers" who like to carry a small sketchbook in the back pocket, ready to sketch at a moment's notice.
My preferred sketching media are pretty much limited to ink and watercolor and sometimes pencil, and I'm very picky about my sketchbook, and I write from that perspective. The Moleskine notebook is based on a style of blank book which was originally produced by several manufacturers.
These blank books were known in France as les carnets moleskines which is translated moleskine notebooks in English. The word moleskine means imitation leather in French, so no moles were skinned to make the notebooks. Most of what we know about the original moleskine notebooks -- including their French name -- comes from a description by writer Bruce Chatwin in his book The Songlines which was published in If you want to read everything he wrote about the Moleskine Notebooks, you'll have to get the book, but here are are a few excerpts:.
The current Moleskine notebooks are based on the original les carnets moleskinesand the cover is made of black oilcloth like the original.
These feel classy and are less conspicuous than a big spiral bound sketchbook when sketching around people since they will most likely assume you are just reading a book or making journal or calendar entries.
A lot of artists love the sewn bound book format because it is so gratifying to draw in a book, and very satisfying to store them later on a book shelf. It's perfect for sketch journaling. Of Using A Moleskine To Write A Book, sketchbooks in real book form, even black ones, have been around for a long time. The Moleskine has an advantage over many other hardbound journals and notebooks because it is more slim and very portable.
Its small size makes it the perfect traveling companion check this out the pocket sketcher. It will actually fit in your back pocket. A spiral bound pocket notebook will http://cocktail24.info/blog/type-my-business-term-paper.php fit nicely into the back pocket, but with a Moleskine there are no wires to catch on your pants every time you bring it out, and no danger of pages falling out.
Now you can carry a classy sketchook with you everywhere, which means unplanned sketching may happen in your daily life more often. You can become the sketch hunter as Robert Henri described:. The sketch hunter moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook. Most importantly, the Moleskine pages really do lie flat when open, which I think is their biggest selling point.
It's much easier to draw on a flat surface and not have to battle with an uncooperative sketchbook. The Moleskine line was expanded to include a variety of formats including notebooks, sketchbooks, address books, weekly planners, musical notation books, and story board books.
They even offer them in a larger version. Of course, every increase in size is also a step away from that slim pocket size format that made the original carnets moleskines so attractive as traveling companions in the first place. There's also an accordion style Japanese Album notebook which is based on those long horizontal scrolls that can be seen in Japanese museums.
I have never tried one, and can't comment on them. Ironic I suppose since I live in Japan.
Let's take a look at a few of these formats which are likely to be used for sketching, namely the Notebook, Sketchbook, and Watercolor Album:. These are good for general sketching with pencil or ink. They come in ruled, unruled, and grid ruled versions. If you are primarily drawing rather than writing, you will probably choose the plain unruled version which is identified by a light green paper band. If you sketch with pencil or ballpoint pen or even a pigment pen such as the popular Micronsthen you will have no problem with any of the three Moleskines I describe here.
If you sketch with a fountain pen and ink, you Using A Moleskine To Write A Book or may not have positive results with the notebook, depending on the ink you use.
There are several fountain pen inks which work well on regular Moleskine notebook paper. For writing notes, I've found Platinum black ink and blue black ink work very well while their Carbon ink bleeds through. Noodlers black works very well, and it becomes waterproof when dry. I haven't tried Noodlers' other colors. I'm sure there are many brands of ink that work well, but you will have to experiment a little to find them I reserve the last page or so in my notebooks for ink tests.
It helps if you use a fountain pen that's a bit of a dry writer, or one with a fine or extra fine nib. I've filled several Moleskine notebooks with written notes using fountain pens and have had no problems at all. If you can find an ink converter for your fountain pen then you will have the freedom to try different brands of ink.
The paper in the regular Moleskine notebooks is fairly thin and ink drawings can be seen on the other side, so you may want to just draw on the right hand pages when using ink. You can save the left just click for source pages for notes done preferably in light pencil.
The notebook also comes in slim versions called Volant and Cahier, which fit in the pocket without bulging. The sketchbooks have heavy paper which takes pencil very well. It also takes pigment ink pens such as Microns very well. It will take some fountain pen inks well, but some will bead up a little. The sketchbooks are horrible with watercolor. Watercolor beads up Using A Moleskine To Write A Book the sketchbook paper. Then if you rub it a bit with a brush it settles down.
It's still unpredictable and hard to control, but some artists might actually like the effects it gets. One way around this is to use watercolor pencils the sketchbook was created with pencil in mind after all. Here are the results of an experiment:. On the left page I brushed on Winsor Newton watercolors with a waterbrush. On the right half of these swashes I worked the watercolor into the paper by going over it with the waterbrush until it stopped beading.
It took about 4 or 5 successive strokes before the color settled down. If you stroke too many times, the paper surface will start to break up, and you'll have new problems. I went over the right half of the swashes with water from the waterbrush.
Moleskine (Italian pronunciation: [mɔleˈskiːne]) is an Italian manufacturer, papermaker and product designer founded in by Maria Sebregondi, based in Milan. Created as a brand in , Moleskine encompasses today a family of nomadic objects: notebooks, diaries, journals, bags, writing instruments. Watch your ideas travel off the page and evolve on screen with the new generation Moleskine Paper Tablet, Pen+ and companion app. Enjoy the hands-on i. AMEN!! Loved Julia’s book! A friend and I went through it together about a year ago. We held each other accountable to morning pages. Then it slipped away (really. Why not try out one of these beautiful alternatives to the ubiquitous Moleskine?
These only required 1 or 2 strokes to convert the pencil strokes to a smooth wash. You can see how the color from the watercolor pencils actually behaves well. So many artists complained about this watercolor unfriendly paper that the manufacturer came out with a new Moleskine specifically for watercolor. When I first wrote this article, these were called "Watercolour Notebooks" but apparently a few people questioned the odd name I know I did so they changed the name to "Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album" and gave it a new fancy paper band to replace the original plain pink band.
I still don't know why they are reluctant to call it a sketchbook. There was great excitement and anticipation when this new addition to the lineup was first announced. I had to wait a bit longer than many of my artist friends, since these products usually don't show up in Japan until several months after their debut in the west.
Like all Moleskines, the pages in the Watercolor Album lie flat when you spread them out, which as I have said is their best feature. The paper worked great with watercolors, and is much whiter than the notebook and sketchbook as you can see in the photo near the top link this article that has the different versions together.
The Watercolor Album also takes fountain pen ink very well as one would expect since it is intended for wet media. So finally there was truly a Moleskine for watercolor sketchers if they didn't mind a few other issues, Using A Moleskine To Write A Book there were mixed reviews about the Watercolour Notebooks A.
Watercolor Albums soon after they came out. One big issue which generated a lot of complaints in the various art forums was the perforated pages which made this version less "Moleskine-like" than its predecessors since the pages could now be easily torn out. It appears that the company was listening, and the version with detachable pages was quickly retired, and replaced by the current non-perforated version. You can tell by looking at the side of the paper even in the shrink wrap whether it is an older perforated version or the newer non-perforated version, although I think the perforated version has vanished from the market by now.
These photos are from the non-perforated version. Another big issue with the Watercolor Album was the format; they made it in a horizontal "landscape" format binding along the short side.
Some people loved this, while others were disappointed that the maker didn't stick with the traditional vertical book format. Most of my sketching has been done on location, standing or sitting on a stool while I hold the sketchbook in my left hand.
So the horizontal landscape orientation is difficult to hold. It's especially difficult to hold on a windy day. As I sketched the scene below, my hand cramped terribly from trying to keep the book balanced. I have tried holding the book vertically like Using A Moleskine To Write A Book reporter's notepad, but that's not any better as the unused part flips up and down, back and forth, throwing its weight around.
I contacted the Moleskine company more than once and begged them to consider making this watercolor sketchbook in a friendly vertical portrait format. But they did not respond. From the various art discussion groups, I could see that many other artists had also contacted the company with the same complaint or request, but this web page the Moleskine company was no longer listening.
Perhaps the sales of the expanded Moleskine brand product line were so good by this time, that they no longer felt the need to listen to the art community. But this opened the door for other companies to try and fill the gap with their own vertical sketchbooks, as I will describe below. So I gave up on having a nice vertical Moleskine watercolor sketchbook. After some experimenting, I found a new way to hold this horizontal sketchbook which might make it less awkward to use.