Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tool Report: Journlets for your Midori, by EveryDayArtist

Journlets are refills for your Midori Traveler's Notebook made with art-quality paper! They are finally here! Hooray!

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 knockoff competitor, Pelle) has the heft and versatility suitable for my ink wash and watercolor wash sketching. So I took to sewing my own refills from various art papers lying around the studio, teaching myself the "pamphlet stitch" along the way. I blogged and posted about this and, much to my delight, I heard from Leigh Abernathy, a jewelry artist, avid sketcher, and book artist. She had begun to sew refills for her Pelle notebook using various art papers. Happily for all the rest of us, she has now decided to sell them! They are sophisticated, sensible, and super! More below:

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!

Bottom Line:  EveryDayArtist's journlets are very carefully designed and skillfully made. They fill a significant niche for high-quality paper inserts for the Midori Traveler Notebook. I recommend them!


Full Disclosure: Leigh sent me a free sample of each of the journlets to review.


Brian the writer's blog said...

Do you normally compose just for your domain or you do this for other online resources?

Observe Closely said...

Yes. And yes.