Stillman & Birn sent a few of their soft cover Sketchbooks and I am really enjoying them. The quality of S&B paper is always excellent and the hard cover version has been in my arsenal for years. It is equally fantastic for fountain pens, watercolors or mixed media. The soft cover has proven to be an even better match for my needs in several ways.
- The soft cover journal weighs a little less than the hardcover. It’s enough to notice a difference carried in my travel pack.
- The pages bend back a little more easily than the hardcover and become extremely flat. No barriers to painting across a two-page spread.
- The corners are rounded which is a nice touch.
- The soft cover has two more sheets of that lovely paper.
- The cover is stiff enough that I can hold the book in my lap or hand to work.
- The cover material is less inclined to slide on my desk than the hard cover version.
The question that remains is how durable the soft cover is compared to the hard cover and whether any difference is enough to matter in everyday use. My journals tend to get pampered with duty largely at my work table. They often look pristine even after months of use and so far the Stillman & Birn soft cover looks just fine. This is where the rounded corners are of benefit since they fray less easily than squared ones. Put that down to thoughtful design.
Frankly, you can’t go wrong with Stillman & Birn paper regardless of the application. Just match your paper selection to the intended use. Either cover will do the job so it’s a matter of personal preference. Both will protect your pages and provide a serviceable platform on which to work. This is truly the good stuff and very highly recommended.