I first saw and heard of the Monsieur Notebooks over at the Letters & Journals blog. Unfortunately I did not win Jackie's giveaway, so I was thrilled with Tom from Hide Stationery contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing and receiving (the only compensation) one of their notebooks.
The original notebook I received, was an A5 containing 192 pages of plain 90 gsm paper. But before I reviewed the notebook I ran into a couple of issues which I contacted Tom about. He was immediately apologetic and asked that I send the notebook back, the issue was one that they had not had before, and they wanted to take steps to prevent future occurrences. So off the notebook went. He later advised me that they stopped an entire production run to inspect all of the notebooks. I was like, WOW, that's QC and concern for the product that the customer is receiving.
Anyway, it took a little while, after all the notebooks are made in India and Hide Stationery is located in England, but I finally received this lovely Sketchbook. The timing was perfect.
The leather on these books in vegetable tanned and rather than the rolled finished edges of many journals, the edges are raw cut. I rather like it, it gives the notebook a rugged feel and appearance. The covers are firm and semi-flexible not completely rigid.
|Yes, that's a Quiver pen holder on the front, but that is another post|
This sketchbooks is and A5 size and contains 92 pages of 140 gsm Cartridge paper. Now being American I had no idea what Cartridge paper was, so off to Google it. I found this explanation on eHow to be the best. But basically it is a heavy paper used in illustration, it was also once used in the manufacture of weaponry cartridges, hence the name.
My favorite feature - the monocle and mustache on the back cover.
I had found that after a little breaking in this notebook lays completely flat. The first and last pages had to be carefully separated to do this, but it was not a big issue.
So now to the heart of the beast, the paper and it's performance. First, this paper has some tooth, so if you like perfectly smooth paper, you may not like this sketchbook. However, with the exception of the Rapidograph, which was just too fine, this paper performs wonderfully. Feathering, is all but unnoticeable and the showthrough, bleedthrough is non existent. There is one thing I would like to see added to this sketchbook, and that is a back pocket. I actually use my pocket, especially in a sketchbook.
Now since this is a sketchbook, here are a couple of the sketches that I have done in it. You may see more if you like, on my other blog, In Pursuit of a Hidden Artist, or on my Flickr site.
This paper takes a light watercolor wash very well with very little buckling. I did not think that I was going to like the tooth of this paper, but after using is I really do like it.
The sketchbooks come in A4, A5 and A6 sizes and both portrait and landscape formats. The prices run
£9.99 for the A6, £12.99 for A5 and £21.99 for the A4.
In the US that converts to approximately $16.10, $20.93 and $35.43
A4 is approximately 8 x 11 inches
A5 is approximately 6 x 8 inches
A6 is approximately 4 x 6 inches
I also know that there are hopes that the Monsieur line will be available at US retailers soon.