We’re back on the notebook review train with one of the most popular inexpensive journal’s The Artist Loft dot grid journal.
These are available inexpensively at Michael’s (they retail for a mere 5$ in the states, and go for 9$ in Canada). They are what I would call a semi-hardcover and come in a wide variety of pretty colours. They’re also available in a larger size (similar to a Moleskine Cahier). First of all, I’m going to go with what for me is their biggest con. They’re frustratingly just-a-smidge wider than a standard A5 size. For some, this is going to be a bonus, a bit more room to write, wider margins to decorate. For me, who loves to stack a few notebooks in a traveler’s notebook, this is a drag. This notebook would probably be my go-to notebook for prompts and regular journalling if it was a standard A5, because it performed remarkably well in (drumroll please) the pen test:
None of these inks bled at all– there was heavy ghosting with the Black Currant, but that ink in an EF nib seems to bleed in every journal I have other than a STM. Most of these barely ghosted at all. I was really impressed, especially considering the low cost of the book. The paper is also a true white, not a cream, which I enjoy because I like to use pastel inks and a wide variety of different fountain pen inks.
I also tested a variety of gel pens, my go-to non-fountain pens:
The paper also held up well to this assortment. The Ink Joy pens felt very wet on this page, and that showed when I flipped the page over:
But, I’m going to say it (mostly because I don’t understand the Leuchtturm cult because that paper has never seems pen-friendly /not ghosty/bleedy to me. If you want a solid notebook in that price range, the Scribbles That Matter and Rhodia notebooks run circles around the Leuchtturm in terms of paper quality. I just don’t understand the attraction, but people like what they like. This journal comparatively looks great for the price.
So, let’s get to long-story-short time:
- inexpensive and well made, feels and looks like a more expensive notebook
- 2 bookmarks, dot grid, lined, and blank available
- wide range of cover colours
- smooth paper that is light on ghosting with drier inks
- blank section at the front for an index–but you will have to number or colour code your pages/sections
- There’s a sort of blank “header” space at the top– a lot of people would probably call this a “con” but I actually love it as a space to write the date, do a doodle header, or throw on some washi. For me, it makes this part of the page look cleaner. I’m sure a lot of people would put it under “con” though.
- For the love of the good green earth, why isn’t this a standard size?
- Also, while we’re at it–why is this twice the price in Canada vs the States (I know why, but couldn’t this be a loss leader or some other bonus funtimes deal? I just want what I want)
- No extras like page numbers, or pen testing pages. This is a notebook. It has pages in it.
- The cover is sort of a weird “soft hardback” I’m sure if you were using this on the daily, it would develop wear and tear pretty quickly. I sort of enjoy the squishiness factor, but again, I put my notebooks inside of other notebooks, so what do I know?
NEXT up: my favourite cheap notebook (if I could only get used to one feature–which other people seem to adore) the endlessly customizable Arc notebooks from Staples.
Until then, be well and write some stuff. ❤