Thursday, January 10, 2013

Part II-Review of the Leuchtturm Pocket Hard Cover Ruled Notebook

Shortly before the end of the year, I won a Leuchtturm Pocket Hard Cover Ruled Notebook from European Paper and wrote a quick review (Part 1), covering the look and feel of the product.  With the holidays coming on, I didn't have time for more.

But since then I've been working away, using various mediums in the notebook, and today I'm sharing my review of the Leuchtturm's performance (is that the right word?  Does a notebook or sketchbook 'perform'. Vroooom, vrooom! Yes.  I think it does, lol)

For reference, here's the Leuchtturm and specs for the book I'm reviewing.  It is a lined notebook, but as usual I draw, paint and scribble in it anyway.


Hard Cover
3.5 x 6 pocketbook size (90x150mm)
185 Numbered Pages
80 gsm Acid-Free Paper
     Paper Color White
     Page Style Ruled
     Elastic Eco Cred Acid-Free (pH Neutral)
     Page Corners Rounded
Matching Elastic Closure & Placeholder
Thread-Bound (Sewn) Binding
Color-coordinated cloth Ribbon
Table of Contents Page
8 Perforated Pages for Quick Notes
Rear Expandable Pocket
Labeling Stickers
Comes in 9 colors.  I received Purple.
Front of page                              Back of page


Writing

Most people will use their Leuchtturm for writing, so I pulled out various pens and tested for feathering, smearing, show through and bleed through (to the back of the page).  

At the end of each line, I drew a dot, circling and letting the ink saturate the page.  With drawing you might get this kind of coverage, but it would be unusual for writing unless you were using a very wet pen.  I like to test for the worst case scenarios.

Drying times were a bit slow, but not excessively.  I wrote, counted to 10, and ran my finger across the line.  The dots I'd done using Noodler's ink smeared.  The written lines did not. The same thing is true for the Pentel Energel.  

Although my scan doesn't show it well, in all cases the show through is heavier than I expected. The only bleed through came from the Noodler's North African Violet, which was written with a Lamy Safari extra broad nib. 

There was no feathering (except from the damaged Micron Pigma and that is due to the pen).

Art pens

The top of this page was done with a Micron Pigma .05 and the bottom with a .005.  While I personally prefer a larger size journal for drawing in, I can't complain about the paper.  The lines are bold and crisp, giving a sharp contrast.  The paper is smooth, so it's more difficult to get the wispy lines I love--you need more tooth for that--but it's easy to control and balance your lights and darks.

Alcohol Marker

Next up I used my Copic alcohol markers.  I was very surprised.  The paper in the Leuchtturm is hard and smooth, but not slick, and I expected fairly bright coloring.  Instead it was muted, almost a tint.  Bleedthrough to the back of the page was about 75%.  

I found the lighter color rather refreshing but had to be careful with the linework (done with a Micron Pigma).  I usually do very dense work with heavy shading, but the color would have drowned if I'd done that here.

Colored Pencil

After my experience with the alcohol markers I wasn't surprised that colored pencils also resulted in a muted tones.  I used Lyra Rembrandts, which are not overly waxy and usually have a deep pigment.  I wasn't able to build up layers of color, but still find the delicate tones pleasing.

Wax Pastels



Now I was curious to see if I could get deeper tones.  I also wanted to try some wet medium, so I colored a page using Neocolor II wax pastels.  These look like crayons.  Only crayons that go on with deep smears of pigment.  Then you take a brush and blend the colors with water or a Dove blender.

As you can see, the tones are still muted, but much deeper than I achieved with colored pencils. 

I used a Dove blender for this.  It isn't quite as wet as water and there was no dimpling, and only the slightest curl at the edge of the paper.  There was no show through or bleed through.  However, when I tangled with a Micron, afterwards, it caused a debossed effect on the back of the page, where the pen lines are slightly raised.  This didn't happen when I drew with the same pens without prior coloring, so I believe the Dove blender changes the quality of the paper.

Faber-Castell Gelatos

I'm not sure what Faber-Castell Gelatos are, exactly.  They look like lipstick, and you smear them on, leaving a sort of waxy paste, and then you buff them dry, or wet them and use them like water-colors.  They tend to clog art pens a bit, so I just did a rough sketch.  

I was impressed at how well the Leuchtturm handled the Dove Blender, so I wanted to see what would happen when the paper got really wet.  I smeared on some black and some white gelato, and then sprayed the page until the paper was soft and sagging. I used a brush to spread the color a little, but mostly just let it run. When it dried I added a little detail with metallic markers.

After the pages dried, you could tell I'd used water.  There's a little dimpling, and the paper has that 'crackling' that occurs after you add water.  It isn't much though.  You could use this book for watercolor washes.

Water-soluable markers

Tim Holtz Distress Markers are water-soluble markers with a soft brush end and then a hard plastic tip at the other end.  I used a wet brush (water) to blend the colors, but didn't saturate the page nearly as much. There was just the slightest of dimpling and curl at the edges.  No crackle.

The colors are muted, but the pigment's richer than it was with alcohol markers.  There was no pilling, which I often get with these markers (I am using them differently than they were intended for-giving those brush tips a work out, lol).

Overall
Although, I like the delicate colors I get in this book, I'll be more likely to stay with black and white drawings. I wouldn't use colored pencil, but wouldn't hesitate to use wet mediums.

It's a pleasure to write in, but the amount of show through on the back of the page may be disturbing to some.  It's a sturdy make without being too heavy, and is flexible enough that you can fold it back like a spiral bound, if needed.

I believe I'm going to use this notebook as my daily purse carry, which means it will be used for notes and doodling when I'm waiting around. 

You can find the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook at European Paper .  I want to thank them again for their generous giveaway and for giving the chance to review this notebook!

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