We made a weekend trip to Montreal to visit our daughter, which meant that within a couple hours of arriving we were standing in Notebene, my favorite pen/paper/pencil store. I was there to talk to Carol about a pen and to pick up some Platinum Carbon Black cartridges.
It was to be a ‘no spend’ visit because I didn’t need much. But, you know, a guy’s got to look around and, you know, it’s hard to resist, you know, finding stuff I “needed.” Of course I “needed” a dozen Tombow Mono 2B pencils I found. Not too bad, though. We were twenty minutes into the visit and the pencils were all I “needed.”
Then it happened. My daughter handed me a notebook and said, “This feels so good.” It was an A6-size book that must have had a couple hundred pages in it, nice cream-colored blank, as in could be used as a sketchbook, pages. And she was right, it felt right. It was heavier than I like in a sketchbook but holding it made me feel like I had something important in my hands. I could tell my daughter wanted it badly. She did her best to argue that I shouldn’t buy it for her but her heart wasn’t really in it. By then, my wife was there and she wanted one too.
I now had nearly $60 worth of books in my hands and I was sort of wishing they had a third one for me. I say sort of because they also had a thinner version of the book that was just as elegant but much lighter and it suited my “needs” better than the thicker book. One of those ($14 CDN) ended up on the pile. And with smiles all around, my “no spend” day warmed up the credit card quite a bit.
So what is this sketchbook? It’s a Paperlarias Emilio Braga notebook with blank, cream-colored 90gsm paper. These notebooks are handmade and both sewn and glued together. They lay flat. The covers are cardboard covered with brown paper and reinforced with a fabric spine and corners. The blank page books come with a writing guide with lines on one side and a grid on the other.
Because the paper is only 90gsm it’s best used with dry media, or at most light washes as it will buckle if you add a lot of water. In the one drawing I’ve done, I did get some buckling but no bleedthrough or ghosting. I’m really happy with it; it feels so good in the hand. I just might have to get one of the thicker ones the next time I’m in Montreal.
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