Bullet Journal, review, notebook

Bargain Basics Notebook Review: Artist’s Loft

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. ❤



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