It’s been quite some time since I owned a Moleskine sketchbook. When I was 18 or so (six years ago), they were my go-to for art journals and sketchboooks, and their grid notebooks were my writing companion of choice. Of course, good things are not meant to last, and during the past few years, Moleskine was acquired by another company, and the production of their paper was shifted from Italy to China. The Moleskine sketchbook took the most notable hit in paper quality: what used to be filled with very sturdy, ivory cardstock is now home to a much thinner white paper. I myself hadn’t owned one in a while, but I did notice that the quality of their regular lined and grid paper had degraded. The paper was much thinner, and the bleed-through was shocking.
Yesterday I wandered into a Barnes and Noble and happened upon a Moleskine sketchbook that was unwrapped. Excitement took over, and I quickly tore the thing open to inspect the pages. It is certainly not the same high quality cardstock that was once the pride and joy of Moleskine ownership, but it is still better paper than most sketchbooks. I bit my lip, grumbled and resigned to buy it. It still handles almost every media thrown at it: heavy applications of ink, stamping, acrylic paint and watercolors most notably. Sharpie did cause bleed-through, but other than buying a specialty notebook online or one filled with watercolor paper, I’m quite pleased.
And there’s something terribly nostalgic about working in a Moleskine sketchbook to me: the feel of the binding, the cover, how nondescript it is, how it begins to bulge in thickness and become flexible with use.