A couple of days ago my package arrived.
I was asked to review three of these products. I'm kind of doing four because the Landscape Format Writing Pads are essentially the same except that one is ruled and one has a grid. I also decided to review the Sugarcane Notebook and, of course, the Elephant PooPoo notebook.
9 1/2 x 6, 1 Subj, 80 Sheets, College-Rule
The Roaring Springs Environotes Sugarcane notebook is pretty standard fare as far as looks and layout are concerned. It's sturdy, with a wire coil small enough to stay out of your way. The punched holes are a good size so the paper turns freely, but doesn't shift and tear when you carry it around. The ruled lines are blue. I prefer a lighter color but these aren't bad.
It comes with an attached flyer that explains the environmental advantage of sugarcane over wood-based paper.
The cover is cardboard strong enough to protect, but it doesn't have too much flex. The backing is a heavier cardboard. I wouldn't say the notebook is hefty, but it isn't the lightest I've ever had either.
Since alcohol markers and fountain pens are notorious for feathering and bleeding through to the back, I used both as a gauge to see how the paper did. There was no feathering with either medium. The Copics shadowed heavily, but didn't actually bleed through. The fountain pen ink shows, but not very much. This is actually very good for a cheap paper. I've had far more expensive that did worse.
At $2.26, the price is competitive with similar notebooks. I'd like to know more about its archival properties. Still this isn't the book I'd use for fine art or heartfelt journaling so I'm not too worried about how it will hold up over time. I don't think it is better than similar notebooks, but I like the fact it is made with a renewable source and I would even have paid a little more because of that. At the price, it's definitely my choice.
Shoplet likes these reviews to be done within a week of delivery, so I didn't have time for much in the way of artwork, but I think the cover of this notebook will look awesome embellished with gel pens, so you'll be seeing it again soon.
11 x 9-1/2, White, 40 Sheets/PadThe Roaring Springs Landscape Format Notepads are an interesting size. Otherwise, they're pretty standard for notepads. They don't have covers, just a cardboard backing and the paper is thin but stiffer than you might expect. The perf is at the top, and it's good--you can tear a sheet away easily, but you can also hold the notepad by one sheet and shake hard without any separation. You aren't likely to lose sheets by accident because the perf tore.
The grid format is a Quadrille 5 sq/in. and ruled line format is college-ruled, both in the same blue color.
I tried out the alcohol marker and fountain pen test with similar results to the Sugarcane paper. The shadowing on the back was lighter.
These are workhorses, and I'll use mine to work out tangle patterns, and figure out how to enlarge objects from reference photos . I doubt I would ever buy the ruled version, but I'd definitely buy the grid pad. I do like the size and would definitely choose it over more standard sized pads.
The Roaring Springs Elephant PooPoo Paper mini-notebook is part of the Inspire Collection, sold in sets of 36 mini-notebooks and 28 scratch pad made of poopoo, both horse and elephant. I received an Elephant PooPoo mini-notebook, and it is just as cute as a bug! (Note: This is a different notebook than the Elephant Poo Journal I'm currently giving away).
The covers are approximately 4x6 inches with a double wire coil. The paper is smaller--probably about 3 3/4 by 5 1/4 (I couldn't find my ruler, so I used index cards for comparison). I believe the punched holes are a little bigger than they need to be, so the paper slides around a bit, and may eventually tear away from the coil.
The covers are light cardboard. In fact, the whole notebook is extremely light. The paper is thinner and stiffer than other elephant poo papers I've used. It's an ivory with darker bits of fibrous material embedded, which gives it a pleasant speckled look. The front of the paper is slicker than the back, which makes me think it might be coated.
I won't use fiber-tipped pens on this kind of paper, because the soft fibers collect and clog the ink flow. I think the front side might be all right, but still, I won't risk my better fiber-tipped pens--I have plenty of rollerball, ballpoint and gel pens that will work a treat.
The fibrous bits can cause 'blips' in your writing or drawing, but the paper is so elegant in look (if not in source, lol) that you probably won't mind.
I did up a couple of quick Zentangle-Inspired drawings. I used my a ballpoint on the front and gel pens on the back. The color you see on the front is shadowing from the gel pens, an indication that you will need to be very careful in choosing your pens. Normally, gel pens don't shadow or bleed.
This is the first elephant poo paper I've seen that I would rate as more than a novelty item. It is still 'paper with character'--meaning you need to be careful how you use it, but the light weight makes it a good notebook for the purse or (large) pocket and it's a pleasure to work in. I wish Shoplet sold these individually.
You can find all these Notepads and Notebooks Online at Shoplet.