Have I mentioned that I’ve been working in a new book? After two Exacompta sketchbooks, I wanted to try something slightly bigger with a sturdier cover. So I ended up purchasing two Kunst & Papier sketchbooks from my local art supply store– a grey hardbound 6×7″ and a black softcover that I actually can’t quite identify on their site, but I photographed the labels below.
The Look. I was drawn immediately to the stunning textures of the covers. The hardcover is a synthetic linen, They’re simple but tactile, and (my favorite part) completely free of logos or designs. I prefer my sketchbooks and journals to advertise nothing but myself. And although sometimes a blank cover just begs to be decorated, I think these look classiest when left alone.
The Binding. The hardcover sketchbook has a sewn binding while the softcover is glued. Actually, the K&P site tells me that the hardcover is “smyth sewn and gauze spliced bindings” –which sounds very fancy even if I have no idea what it means. Both, however, open beautifully, marvelously, flat.
The Paper. Both books are fountain pen friendly, but in different ways. The K&P website says that the hardcover book contains acid-free alpha cellulose paper, but it also mentions chlorine-free “pH buffered lignen” –and if I’m not mistaken, cellulose and lignen are two different plant-derived materials. Hmm. In any case, the paper in the hardcover book is thinner and smoother, while the paper in the softcover book is a heavier weight (120g, versus 100g in the hardcover), but also rougher/more porous. So actually, even though the paper in the softcover book is heavier, it was more difficult to write on, and there was a bit of bleedthrough when I used a flex nib. Below is an example of writing with the same pen (a Pilot 78G with an italic nib) on the two different papers.
You can see on the first image that the “P” is uneven and jagged, while it’s much smoother on the second image (in the hardcover sketchbook).
In any case, I’ve been using the hardcover book for my last semester of college, and I’ve been extremely pleased with it. After the Exacompta sketchbook, I had to adjust to seeing my writing through the pages, but I’ve never had any bleedthrough so it doesn’t bother me anymore. I would also warn against using too much wet media, although I’ve used acrylic paint with some success. But in general, this is an excellent book for fountain pens and dry media, and the hardcover provides more sturdy protection than the Exacompta.