Yesterday I discovered a new cahier journal at Swain’s Art Supplies. It’s from Canson and not only does it work for light water media, it is good for fountain pens, too.
Canson is a very old French company that offers paper for artists under the Arches and Canson banners. This past year one of their Mix Media spiral notebooks became my testing ground for watercolors and brushes. Fountain pen ink works in it, too. I had high expectations for the Canson Art Book: Inspiration and was not disappointed.
The cover is bendable and unadorned except for an unobtrusive logo embossed at the bottom of the back cover. The interior of the cover could hold a lot of data including contact info or an index. The paper is acid-free and fine grained though with an almost imperceptible tooth. It works beautifully with pencil and erases easily. This may well be its first and best use.
Other writing instruments performed well with only a few exceptions. The Sharpie Ultra Fine Point demonstrated mild show-through with the Copic and Tombow showing even more. The Copics also bled-through but a blotter (a doubled sheet of printer paper in this case) prevented damage to the succeeding page.
Just because a paper is good with a variety of media doesn’t mean fountain pens will take to it. But even writing with wide, free-flowing nibs turned out well except for the Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses that suffered a smear. There was no feathering, no bleed-through, and only the faintest hint of writing visible on the reverse. The paper might be a bit dry but that control makes this journal good for two-sided use.
There is only an unlined version so it won’t suit all writers. I tried a sheet of Rhodia with its lavender lines as a guide beneath the Art Book paper and that worked well enough under good lighting. Something with darker lines would be even better.
I used a fairly wet, #8 round synthetic brush for the watercolor samples using straight Daniel Smith and American Journey paints. The colors turned out suitably rich and very bright. The paper did wrinkle slightly but much less than I expected. There was no bleed-through and the blotter prevented any moisture from seeping though to the next page. Each remained pristine and ready for immediate use.
If you are a Moleskine fan, this is a fair competitor should you need a different grade of paper. It isn’t a substitute for a specific Moleskine product but rather an additional journal for certain uses.
Canson Art Book: Inspiration is targeted at artists but good for anyone. A blotter sheet between pages for tools that are very wet like the Copic brush pen tip or watercolor media is essential. That really is the only caveat.
The minimalist form and quality paper make this cahier a real treat for an urban artist. Just tuck in a small box of watercolors and a tiny bottle of water and you can discreetly catch any subject. If you are a writer, especially one who uses fountain pens, anything in your kit should work just fine. No need to match pen to paper since the paper handles most every ink and pen equally well.
Do I sound enthusiastic? Well I am. Nothing since I was introduced to Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks has hit the mark for my paper needs so well. Now there is a very portable cahier to complement my S&B hardcover journals. Color me very happy indeed.
Canson Art Book: Inspiration specifications:
Comes in a package of two journals
Sizes: 8.3″ x 11.7″, 3.4″ x 5/5″, 5.5″ x 8.5″
Contains 30 sheets of 65lb/96gsm, acid-free, heavyweight Mi-Teintes paper
Simple sewn binding
Flexible cover in four colors:
- Cover: Indigo, inside cover: Lavender
- Cover: Black, inside cover: Grey
- Cover: Tobacco, inside cover: Oyster
- Cover: Wine, inside cover: Red