Background: I have been using my Midori Traveler's Notebook for some time now. It's a dandy everyday sketchbook with a mysteriously endearing aura. However! None of the papers in the various refills offered by Midori (and its
The Product: Journlets (rhymes with 'pamphlets') are sold from Leigh's EveryDayArtist Etsy site. Leigh researched various papers suitable both for sketching AND for binding (the properties do not always overlap!) and selected these three to begin her line:
- Strathmore Aquarius II
- Fabriano Tiziano colored papers, with a warm brown+tan option and a black+grey option
- Southworth 100% Cotton paper
The journlets are available in 3-packs or individually. They are priced differently, and have different numbers of pages, based on the paper type. Those journlets made with heavier and/or stiffer papers have fewer pages. Leigh has thought carefully about the correct journlet size for each paper type and has adjusted the number of pages to maximize usability.
Paper Type Weight # Pages
Strathmore Aquarius II 170 gsm 24
Fabriano Tiziano 160 gsm 40
Southworth 100% Cotton 120 gsm 48
Design and Construction: Each journlet is hand-stitched with linen thread so it will open and lay flat, encouraging you to sketch or paint across the whole two-page spread. There is an integral heavy paper cover with a fold-over flap. The flap and cover are secured with dots of clear Velcro. The covers on the Strathmore and Fabriano journlets are 140 lb watercolor paper and have a lovely deckled edge. Decorative interior fly leaf sheets, front and back, and a pretty paper band add elegant touches. Each journlet that I reviewed also had a small clear sticker on the back cover describing the type of paper within.
Paper Performance: Sketchers' techniques and material requirements vary so much that my own opinions on each of these paper types won't help much. But what the heck.
-- Strathmore Aquarius II is my all-time favorite white paper for journaling, sketching, and watercolor and I was thrilled to see that Leigh decided to include it in her journlet line.
-- Fabriano Tiziano is slightly lighter and stiffer than the Aquarius II. The tinted colors work well for gouache, even though it buckles a little bit from being wet. The colors in the brown-tan journlet suit me well.
-- The Southworth paper is smooth and luxurious. It's great for graphite or pen and ink journaling and sketching.
Leigh provides detailed paper descriptions in each of the journlet listings on Etsy, so for more on paper performance, look there. If you are undecided about which paper to chose, order a sample pack for a dollar.
In Action, Inside the Midori: Journlets are exactly the same width and length as the standard Midori refills, which are 4-1/4" x 8-1/4". And so they fit perfectly in the Midori Traveler's Notebook. You can close the journlet's cover flap using the Velcro dot, fold it under, or cut it off as suits you. Since the cover is also made from high quality paper, you can also draw and paint on it. Below is a pic of the warm brown+tan Tiziano journlet in my Midori. It's the insert at the top of the stack.
In Action, as a Stand-Alone Sketchbook: Because of the integral heavy-duty Velcro-closeable cover, the journlet is also an outstanding stand-alone lightweight sketchbook for those weekend getaways or to stash inside your everyday bag. And again, since the cover is also made from good thick quality paper, it's begging for embellishment!
Full Disclosure: Leigh sent me a free sample of each of the journlets to review.