Review – Limn Quarter Size Notebooks

Well, Limn books have come out with a new products, let’s look at one of the new quarter-size pocket books. (Disclaimer – these books are made by my brother, although that doesn’t affect my judgement at all.)

they are quite small

The cover is made of a light blue card stock. It’s tough and can take a beating. Inside are twenty-two thin paper sheets. Despite being thin, they too are tough. They are slick and resist ink. It takes it a moment for the ink to dry, but they rarely bleed through and only when one keeps applying ink to the same location over and over. Their slickness makes them wonderful to write on and they have just enough grit to be alright for sketching as well.

The book is bound by a nice hand-sewn single signature, and the spine is covered with a high quality binding strip like all the other Limn books. The binding is flexible and durable and can really take a beating. You could even tear a page out and it wouldn’t harm it too much (though I wouldn’t recommend that.)

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They’re about as tall as most pocket books, but a little wider. They do require a hard surface to write on. They fit well in larger pockets, and handbags, backpacks and such.

These books are great for taking everywhere to take notes on, write down ideas, or write lists on. They are just like the regular limn books only smaller. They have the same nice feel and are still incredibly sturdy. They do lend themselves more to writing than to drawing though, but is still an all around, versatile book.

Review – Limn Books

I am always on the lookout for new sketch/notebooks. I have hundreds already, but am hopelessly obsessed with paper. I have loads of different styles of notebooks. And when I found these fairly unique notebooks I had to have a look at them. (Disclaimer – They are made by my brother so I may be a little biased.)

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Limn Books come from Austin Texas. At the moment they come in two flavors of 5.5x 8.5. The flavors really only mean that one has red lettering and the other has blue. The only lettering is Limn on the cover and a contact email on the back. They contain 20 sheets of plain paper (no lines) covered by green cover stock. They are hand-sewn, single signature bound then covered with a binding strip.

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The covers are quite nice at protecting the books and looking nice, but they are not stiff enough to write on, so writing will require a table. The paper is almost butter, smooth but with enough grit to hold ink on the page well. Ink bleed is not much of a problem, especially if one is just writing and not drawing. They are comparable to Moleskine books in both paper and cover quality, but lack the elastic and are quite bit cheaper.20121207-001124.jpg

They are nice, inexpensive little books. They write well, are extremely portable, and are generally handy. They are good books for keeping notes, lists, and ideas. They have no real specific purpose in my mind, and are good at anything one wants to do in them, but are not necessarily the best at anything.

Review – Bienfang NoteSketch Book

One of the worst things about different types of notebooks is that they vary in the page setup. Some have lines, some graphs, others are blank. Even the lined ones vary in the ruling between the lines. And what if you want to make a note on a sketch? Sure, you can just write it somewhere on the page, but it never really looks right, does it? Likewise with drawing on lined paper. Or what if you want to draw a diagram with a description. It will never go in any space you have left on the page, especially if it’s a long one.

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Well, Bienfang appears to have those people covered with the NoteSketch Book (all in different fonts so you remember it better). But we have to start with the covers first. The front cover is a nice card stock, heavy and not likely to rip out. It can take a mild beating, regular use is easily handled, but abuse isn’t. The back is cardboard and quite nice. It is light but strong, and will support drawing on ones lap or holding it in front of a subject. The paper inside is a little over half blank with the rest being roughly college ruled lines. It’s nice, but as thin as printer paper. It will only take pencil or technical pens before bleeding and wrinkling. Of course, for its intended use this is no problem. This also helps keep the book slim and it easily fits into most bags. They come in a variety of page sizes but those are all virtually identical, with the page size you like being the only deciding factor.

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Personally I can’t go anywhere without one of these. I don’t use them much at home, but on the road or just outside they are perfect. I don’t know about anyone else, but I only bring a pencil and a pen when I’m out, so any drawbacks from thin paper are negligible. And the ability to write notes and have space for it fits what I do. I love having a set aside space to put my thoughts or the story behind a drawing. If thats what you like to do, or you like to draft or draw diagrams that require explanation, this is the book for you. If thats not your thing, then this may just not interest you.

Review – Strathmore 400 series, 100 page, 8.5X5.5 Sketchbook

Strathmore sketchbooks, specifically in this review the 400 series, 100 page, 8.5″X5.5″ sketchbook.

Design-wise, the cover is acceptable. It certainly does its job and displays all the necessary information in a way that is easy to read, and in three different languages. The stock of the cover and the cardboard of the back are thick and nice, capable of standing up to a great deal of punishment (the back more so, obviously). The back is unbendable without breaking it first, creating a solid drawing surface away from a table, if that’s how you like to draw. The book is spiral bound, the metal of said spirals is superb, they are strong and have enough give and bounce that they don’t bend into a different shape easily. The spine also keeps the pages very secure.

The paper in this book is a medium thickness, thicker than 20-pound, thinner than heavier drawing paper. It is relatively smooth, but still coarse. Good for the main purpose of the book; sketching, but poor for fine detail work as the bumps create imperfections. It is still much less coarse than other sketchbooks by Strathmore. Pencil and ink are taken well by the paper. Pencil smudges fairly easily, and shows through to some degree. Ink is absorbed quickly, making drying time fast and can be seen through the paper. There are 100 sheets in this book, which seems a large number, making the book fat. But that is hardly a complaint. The pages are very nice for their purpose of sketching.

I take a sketchbook everywhere, I try to vary what I take and where, but when all I want to do is a simple sketch, a Strathmore is what I take. They are easy to get, fair priced and a good quality. I would not try to create a “finished” piece on one, but that is not their intended purpose. They help one practice, hone skills, and create technique by being very durable and useable in a variety of conditions. This size of book is great for a bag or carry in the hand (half the size of a sheet of copy paper). It is a great thing to have when one is out and about and would like to sketch anything.

Review – Norcom Graph Composition Book

There are a lot of sketchbooks and various types of notebooks out there. But a composition book doesn’t seem to scream “art supply”. The binding is great but they’re obviously meant for writing and not drawing. Luckily (kinda) there are math classes in school as well that need notebooks. And this is one of them, the Norcom no. 76002 graph composition book.

The listed dimensions are nine and three quarters by seven and a half inches, with five squares to an inch. Each page has 49 by 36 squares so the given dimensions are mostly correct, but a little off. The book contains one hundred sheets, and some extra stuff on either inside cover.

The paper itself is thin, but not overly so. Pencil and ink can be seen through but not enough to cause trouble in perceiving or creating what is on the page. Ink from pens does not bleed through, but brush inks will, and if a pen is heavily applied over an area bleeding is a very likely occurrence.

The grid is helpful in the way grids are. It is printed light blue, and does not get in the way of writing, drawing, or graphing.

The spine however is poorly made. The string binding is loose and the pages are almost free to move around. While the pages seem sturdy the spine may need duct tape for prolonged use.

Graph paper is very useful and having it in an easily portable book with a “solid” binding is nice. The book is nice for what it is but there are many better (although more expensive) options out there.