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  1. #1
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    Moleskine questions...

    Hi everybody, I'm at the end of my sketchbook. The sketchbook I just finished was a 5 dollar hardbound sketchbook from Borders. It held up fairly well, but the fabric covers got dingy and frayed by the end...anyways, I am looking to upgrade to a nice portable sketchbook and I saw the moleskines at Borders yesterday. I almost bought one until I saw the price, like 11 for the small and 17 for the big! yikes! I don't want to waste money, but these seem like great sketchbooks. I have found 25% off coupons at borders which rocks...so that would make it more reasonable...which brings me to my questions:

    1. Have you used the Moleskine sketchbooks before? Did you think it was worth the money?
    2. Which size did you use/ both? I am wondering if the pocket size is too small for worthwhile sketches, but is the big size unwieldy and hard to carry? The last sketchbook i had was 5.5 x 8.5 which was fine...
    3. Finally, did you have to change your medium at all? The paper says its high quality, so I'm assuming it can handle my mechanical pencils, micron pens, and light markers without bleed trough or smudges?

    Thanks in advance for responses!

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  3. #2
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    You think you've got it tough? Small Moleskines here at Gordon are $35, that's the only size they have, and as far as I'm aware, they're they only store in the country that stocks them.
    I didn't know Borders had sketchbooks, might check that out. Thanks.

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    in my town (Oviedo, a small town in the north of Spain) they go for 11€ and 7€ for the pocket size.

    I have a moleskine and to be honest I hate the paper for pencils or watercolors. I only like to draw with markers. I haven't had a very good experience with moleskine. It's got a few nice features, stylish, the pocket in the back cover, the rounded edges (that's the best of it) but I feel it's only for more finished drawings, to put up a nice sketchbook to show off. I think it's the best sketchbook for that purpose, but if you want a 'battle' sketchbook for drawing i'd recommend something cheaper. Moleskine tends to make you feel like you have to draw something 'worth it' and that's just the wrong way.

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  5. #4
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    They're an alright sketchbook I have had a few different varieties but the small one I've used the longest just had its spine break on me, a little dissappointing but considering the usage and where it gets tossed can't blame it.

    They do look damn nice though, hehe probably why I keep going back to em.

    Chris Hale
    Senior Animator
    www.chrishale.ca
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  6. #5
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    To be honest... Moleskins are stupidly overpriced. There are any number of sketchbooks out there which serve the purpose for a small fraction of the price. Don't fall into the classic trap of thinking what you're making is fine art and needs to be preserved for all time.

    What your drawing needs to be is corrected and marked up by someone who is more talented and skilled than yourself so you can improve. As they say there are millions of piss poor drawings and concepts inside of you... the sooner you use the sketchbook to get them out and the sooner you can get to the good stuff.

    Look around at the more talented and productive sketchbooks on the sketchbook forum here... most are absolutely filled to the edges with very little space left on the page. Because it's the process that is important... not preserving the work as some tome that is nothing more than an art material fetish that sooooooo many suffer from.

    Besides they are more for self pretentious, nuerotic, emo artschool chics that hate men and make their own clothes and want to look the part rather than actually produce good work. pld:

    Don't do it.
    Spend the money you save on good coffeem cheep booze and hot women. :p

    Last edited by mambo; August 26th, 2007 at 05:46 PM.
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  7. #6
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    After reading that reply, I wouldn't dare to ask mambo about apple computers nor ipods

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    Lol edu1337, I felt the same way when I read mambo's post but he's not too far off...At DAAP where I go to school for Industrial Design, the girls in the fashion design program do have moleskines...then again, most of the students in the higher up years do, in all the design facets...even digital. But yeah I agree with Mambo in the fact that they seem to be overpriced...I guess one could consider them a luxury item, and you're paying for the name, though people rave about the quality. Obviously, the quality of work is what matters so it won't matter what sb i buy...

    edu1337 I also see what you mean about wanting to draw something of worth in them because they are so expensive...I used to do that with most fresh sketchbooks...finally I decided with every new one I force myself to fill ten pages within the first few days to break it in so I can feel like I can just draw.

    Finally I guess I haven't really heard much on this...do people feel the "pocket size" is too small? Everytime I look at the measurements I think, "well, it'd fit in my pocket, but is it enough space?"

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  9. #8
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by edu1337 View Post
    After reading that reply, I wouldn't dare to ask mambo about apple computers nor ipods
    LOL!

    Naw.. I'm down with Macs - from back in the day when the MacII CI was considered hardkor.

    I guess my attitude towards things like overpriced sketchbooks are because I worked at a couple different studios where guys churned out top quality on art on bond paper that made my expensive sketchbooks looks like dog doo doo. All the flash art supplies in the world won't help you... it comes down to you sitting down and cranking it out. Materials be damned.

    Don't get me wrong... I like quality paper and good inks and all that... I'm old enough to have worked in design when we still ruled out boards by hand and type was photoset on I-Tek varityper.

    (yes sadly at 36 my bear is turning white)

    But I'd hate to see people spend money on expensive gear that isn't necessary. I've seen guys produce brilliant work on normal office supply paper and pencils.

    What I've wanted for ages is a sketchbook that comes in a medium tone grey or sepia or something... that way paper is the midtone and then I knock in the highlights and drop the shadows.

    The whole thing of drawing on stark white seems to be a big setback in terms of figuring out blocking and shadows and whatnot.

    Hmmmm....

    *runs off to artstore to buy medium gray Canson paper to have cut down and bound into sketchbook.
    I bet if I grab my shovel I can find a mole to skin and wrap around the cover.

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  10. #9
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    I got one that is about 6" by 8" and I was very dissapointed in it. I just use a .05mm pentel mechanical pencil and the paper doesn't erase it very well at all.
    If you need a good sketchbook you should pick up a cheap spiral sketchbook with thick paper from any art supply place.

    Remember, just because you have their attention doesn't mean you have their respect-Dale Gribble (from King of the Hill)
    Old Sketchbook 1
    Old Sketchbook 2
    Newest sketchbook
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  11. #10
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    Leadster... in general yes pocketsize is too small. Most people - myself included tend to draw too small and too tight. We lose the gesture because we're conditioned to be drawing on 8.5X11 or A4 size.

    Ever notice in life drawing and quicksketch sessions you always work big on newsprint? (Glen Vilpu etc.)

    That's a hint... they want the gesture... the action... the livelyness in the line... for that you need the movement of the arm, the wrist, the shoulder. Not some tight little drawing that is nitpicky about the details but lacking in the overall impression and gesture. If you go that road next thing you know you'll be crosshatching all your shadows and then you might as well kill yourself.



    I'd say minimum no less than 8.5X11 or A4... bigger if possible. I know it's not always convenient to cart it around... but never can have enough sketchbook real estate.

    Look at it this way... Michael Angelo and Leonardo Da Vinci didn't limit themselves to a postage stamp size bit of paper to draw on... they drew on the scale of Gods... why shouldn't you?

    Last edited by mambo; August 26th, 2007 at 07:38 PM.
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    I have both sizes of Moleskine's and very much enjoy working in them. The paper is a great bristol quality paper. Its not really that pricy considering the quality of paper and the fact that its hardbound.

    That is not to say that i use them for every day sketching either. They are kept for longer studies and i carry them along with my cheaper pads. Long poses and master copies in museums along with more finished studies for larger drawings and watercolor doodles are what mine get used for frequently. Gestural stuff and short poses I'll pull out my cheap utrecht $3 9x12 or my even cheaper 3x5. Also the 2 sizes of my moleskine are regulated to different things, bassically small studies (hands, feet etc.) and image pieces in the small one and large studies (portraits, entire figures) and completed images for the large one.


    I got one that is about 6" by 8" and I was very dissapointed in it. I just use a .05mm pentel mechanical pencil and the paper doesn't erase it very well at all.
    if you are having troubleerasing that them i'm guessing you are pressing into the paper. I have never had trouble erasing but you need to use a light touch. because the paper is heaver it is easier to dent deeper.

    What I've wanted for ages is a sketchbook that comes in a medium tone grey or sepia or something... that way paper is the midtone and then I knock in the highlights and drop the shadows.
    some art stores sell this recycles newspaper hardbound sketchbook. Its got a nice brown paper. A little lighter then midtone but still works well for using colors and white pencils/pastels etc. I would recomend checking it out.

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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mambo View Post

    What I've wanted for ages is a sketchbook that comes in a medium tone grey or sepia or something... that way paper is the midtone and then I knock in the highlights and drop the shadows.
    Earthbound Sketchbooks; Google them. I've got some and they're great for highlight work. Almost all of my work is highlighted; Look at my sketchbook if you want to see what the paper is like. However, I don't know how the paper is in terms of paper sizes and weights, I'm not learned in that kind of thing.

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    $35 for a Moleskine? Here we have little softcover sketchbooks that are a few inches smaller than letter-size, but come in packs of three for $15. I've never liked the paper, though--sometimes graphite will inexplicably bleed through, and I've never really like that shade of yellow.

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    i got one of the books from boarders the other day i like it. it was like $14 but thats normal to me. its not a moleskine brand book and but same kinda cover and smooth paper. i like the paper its nice to draw on but yea eraseing does smugg a bit. i dont care to much i like it its just for doodleing to me and its nice and portable.

    never updated sketchbook

    hopefully weekly updated blog
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  16. #15
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    I love the earthbound sketch book. Nice toned paper, easy for shades and highlights, and it's environmental friendly.

    Mambo, I think both are good actually :0 I love my new pocket size moleskin for drawing some concepts or characters when I'm out and on the run, and I love big big newsprint paper for doing gestures when there is a model in front of me. It's kind of hard to take a huge newsprint sketchpad on the bus with you or to a restaurant.

    I think you should really just use what you're most comfortable with, and whichever fits the situation. So try out a moleskin and see if you like it, I really think they're worth the price.

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  17. #16
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    I like the paper in the strathmore sketchbooks for sketching at home (8.5X11 size) it's hard to beat the moleskins in durability and mobility. The paper is not real condusive to watercolor/inks but can be made to work.

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    moleskin watercolor sketchbooks are a real bargain though. Otherwise, stick to the standard brands.

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    Good news is, I found the larger Moleskines at Borders. The bad news is that they're $40 each... x.x

    However, I was pleased to find the Gordon Harris house range of sketchpads are pretty cheap. These pads are really nice and smooth. If only they made them into hardbound books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexC View Post
    the 300 page thinner paper moleskin's are awesome, definately worth it
    I tried one of them and i could see the graphite through on the other side and my pen bled through.

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  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by HunterKiller_ View Post
    Good news is, I found the larger Moleskines at Borders. The bad news is that they're $40 each... x.x
    LOL!!!

    That's bloody absurd! Anyone that pays that much for a sketch pad has more money than common sense.

    I've got it!!! I'll make a fortune by selling sketchbooks made from tanned human skin and bound with gold thread and then to make everyone really drool over their sketchbook I'll have them encrusted with gems.
    They'll go for thousands each and then we can all sit around and pat ourselves on the back and admire our sketchbooks instead of using them as the tool they are... a bit of paper bound together to sketch in.

    *runs off to find the 'bang head against brick wall' smiley

    Last edited by mambo; September 2nd, 2007 at 10:56 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mambo View Post
    LOL!!!

    That's bloody absurd! Anyone that pays that much for a sketch pad has more money than common sense.

    I've got it!!! I'll make a fortune by selling sketchbooks made from tanned human skin and bound with gold thread and then to make everyone really drool over their sketchbook I'll have them encrusted with gems.
    They'll go for thousands each and then we can all sit around and pat ourselves on the back and admire our sketchbooks instead of using them as the tool they are... a bit of paper bound together to sketch in.

    *runs off to find the 'bang head against brick wall' smiley
    This is where that old standby, copy paper bound with scrap cardboard,
    would come in.

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  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by HunterKiller_ View Post
    Good news is, I found the larger Moleskines at Borders. The bad news is that they're $40 each... x.x
    ... the HELL?
    There's an art store down the street that selss them for $19 CAD. And I think the prices have gone down since last I checked.


    Personally, I love my moleskine because It can take thick layers of acrylic paint without warping, it looks amazing with ink drawings, and the paper is smooth like womens skin.

    As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle being swept along is no longer enough.

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  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunny View Post
    ... the HELL?
    There's an art store down the street that selss them for $19 CAD. And I think the prices have gone down since last I checked.
    Let's see here...
    19.00 CAD = 26.0673 NZD
    Ok, so Borders is grossly overpriced.





    ... I still wouldn't pay that much for a sketchbook.

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  26. #25
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    I bought my 6x8 for $17 here in Pittsburgh at a Utrecht store. It does me well. Good quality paper, easy portability, etc.

    Boston Splinter Cell 36
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunny View Post
    Personally, I love my moleskine because It can take thick layers of acrylic paint without warping, it looks amazing with ink drawings, and the paper is smooth like womens skin.
    Then why not just draw on women?

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  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by megas_imperius View Post
    Then why not just draw on women?
    They either do not want to be painted on, or aren't willing to follow you everywhere so you can make a sketch whenever you want

    BUT I have to say that drawing something on a girl is a good trick to get her and it has been proven.

    ok, back to the sketchbook topic, what I'd like is a cheap hardbound sketchbook, with paper not as smooth as moleskine. I'm considering doing one myself... Another possibility that I've been wondering about is taking a bunch of different kinds of paper I like and spiral bound them. With a section for watercolor paper, pencil, ink, etc. The only problem would be it would lose the journal part of it.

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    Is it really made out of moleskin?

    Speaking of random sketchbooks... has anyone tried drawing on waterproof paper? My boyfriend is a marine and he has this pocket-sized field notebook with waterproof paper.. it's called "Rite in the Rain" or something lol. I was drawing on it and then found out that it's virtually impossible to erase pencil off of. I guess maybe someone could use it if they wanted to draw a dramatic scene... in a monsoon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormie View Post
    Is it really made out of moleskin?

    No, the companies name is Moleskine (its supposed to be pronounced with a long i, or mol-a'skeen-a since its Italian). The fabric on the outside is actually oilskin, which is a cloth with a coating of oil placed on it to make it waterproof.

    There is a fabric called moleskin but this is not made of mole skin either. Its a woven cotton that is sheared on one side to make it soft. Evidently popular in Britain and Australia. Only place I have seen it in the US is in an Australian store.

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    Well well..I just bought one and I have to say that I am in love with it!!!!!Aahh....so small,so soft,so.....pretty!!!I love it!Now I have one question...is there toned paper moleskine????I have seen something like a toned paper moleskine in Shelly Wan´s Blog

    Here is the link

    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/6383/1767/1600/Untitled-3%20copy.jpg

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