Maybe you’ve noticed me mention the Strathmore Drawing paper in some of my recent pen reviews. Perhaps I have used words like “MAGICAL” and “HAPPINESS IN PAPER FORM.” I currently have, let me count, no less than half a dozen of these notebooks, brand new, stockpiled for whenever I need a new one; every time I visit Jerry’s Artarama (it’s a bit of a drive, so I tend to go there infrequently but get a lot at once) I always pick up at least 3 more of these notebooks, because they’re only about $1.50 each. Why is this notebook so great? As I’ve already mentioned, it’s cheap; I can afford to have a lot of them around, so I don’t get paper-fright and freeze up when presented with a blank page. With really expensive papers, I get this sort of stage fright and worry about wasting good paper. This is why I bought more than one Rhodia webbie, so that I wouldn’t be so afraid of screwing up that I’d end up not writing in it. It’s easier to just doodle and not worry when I know I’ve got a lot of this paper kicking around.
At 4″x6″ and 24 pages, this sketchbook is a good, small size to slip into a bag or a back pocket and not worry about it. No excuse for not having drawing paper with me. But at the same time, it’s not so small that the drawing area is rendered almost completely useless. And, being spiral bound, there are no problems with having the sketchbook lay flat (glares pointedly at the likes of the Moleskine Sketchbook); being bound at the top, there is no discrimination against lefties. But at $1.50, I hear you asking, how good can the paper really be??
Ok, so it works so well with fountain pens that surely they must have evolved together in a symbiotic relationship. But surely it will have bled through. This paper can’t be that good for only like $1.50.
The only pens that bled through were markers (Ultra Fine Sharpie, Prismacolor Marker, Letraset Promarker, Copic Marker) and a bit of show-through with the darker Sakura Gelly Roll gold-shadow pens (and the faintest shadow of the La Reine Mauve). There’s no reason why, unless you insist on drawing only in heavy markers, that you couldn’t use both sides of this unassuming paper.
I’ve seen far worse so-called “artist’s sketchbooks” charge much more for their product. My only complaint against this little sketchbook is that the rings can sometimes get squished around and make it harder to turn the pages, but come on. You can squish the rings back in place. If you like doodling, especially with fountain pens, this paper should exist in your life.