• KraftyChloé

Review: Scout Books Notebooks

As if I needed any more notebooks...

Luckily, the pocket notebooks that Scout Books sell are slim, perfect for jotting down notes or to-do lists. The same goes for the larger size, but since the pages are bigger, it will accommodate lots of writing or sketches.

I was sent two pocket notebooks (3.5 x 5 inches, one lined and one dot grid) and a Mega blank one (5 x 7 inches). I know that many stationery addicts suffer from journal anxiety, the fear of putting pen to paper because the notebook is so perfect and what if you ruin it? What if the pen leaks, or you make a spelling mistake, or you look at it wrong and it combusts...?

My friends, I feel your pain.

But the Scout Books notebooks are more easily digestible. The friendly, cheerful printing and small size invite you to start writing, because even if you do make a mistake, you only have 32 pages to fill in as opposed to 150.

Scout Books also custom print notebooks, but since you can only buy a minimum of 50, I think the option is more suited to a business. If you want to buy that many for personal use, go ahead. We don't judge here!

If you don't want quite so many, Scout Books also sell packs of 10 plain colour notebooks, and smaller amounts of ready-printed ones.

Mine are printed with bright, simple designs - a blue sky full of clouds, and some eye-catching thunderbolts are printed on the other two. The printing is crisp, clean and vibrant, no blurred or fuzzy edges, and as an added bonus all their notebooks produced using recycled materials and renewable energy. You can buy these notebooks, feel good about it, and receive a product that is beautiful as well as eco-friendly.

Even if the printing is ace, the paper inside still needs to impress, so I set about testing it.

The paper is thick, which concerned me as thick paper has an annoying tendency to absorb way too much ink, feathering and bleeding all over the place in the process. But it also feels smooth, similar to my invincible Montblanc notebook that can handle any ink I can throw at it. I started on the lined notebook, using my Conklin Abalone Nights medium nib fountain pen, which was filled with black Pineider ink.

There was a tiny bit of feathering, barely noticeable, and slight bleedthrough, though I've found that smaller letters don't tend to bleed as much.

It is pleasant to write on, smooth but with a bit of tooth.

Next, I tested the large notebook to see how the paper stands up to pencils, rubbers and Sakura fineliners. I began sketching some cartoon characters from a tutorial, first drawing the basic shapes with a HB pencil, then refining the outline and erasing neccessary pencil lines. The paper was very forgiving, and after I had rubbed out the pencil I couldn't tell where the lines had been (apart from the eyebrows, that was my fault because I pressed the pencil down too hard) The rubber didn't wear out the paper even though I used it multiple times in one spot.

The paper had taken the graphite well, so I tried a fineliner to finish off the outline. The ink didn't feather at all, though there was a bit of show-through on the back of the page. This was due to the pressure and fine point of the pen, I believe.

Next, I coloured the characters in with Raffine pencils. The slightly toothy paper is brilliant for coloured pencils, and the pigment shows up brilliantly.

Finally, I began filling in the dot grid notebook with ink swatches in order to see how accepting it was of different types of ink. This notebook has copper-coloured staples!

I applied the ink generously, and still the paper held up. A few of the inks bled through and feathered a bit, but these are inks that can be fussy on other papers and are best when used on Tomoe River, or other similar smooth, thin papers.

Another brilliant feature is that all the notebooks pass the limbo test. This, fo those of you not familiar with the term, means that the notebooks can lie flat, completely flat, with no damage to the spine. Notebooks like this are my favourite. It makes writing and drawing so much easier.

The only unfortunate thing about the paper that Scout Books use is the it refuses to show sheen properly. This can happen with papers that aren't perfectly smooth, and since I love sheening ink it is a shame. But seeing as it takes most inks with zero or minimal feathering, it is a deal-breaker for me.

Scour Books have produced a brilliant product that I will use on a regular basis. I'm impressed by the quality of the paper, and I will probably invest in a 10-pack in the future!

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