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Archive for June, 2009

In August, Leuchtturm will be adding several new items to their US line including a tiny, credit card sized address book with a retail price around $3.00.

Leuchtturms New Mini Address Book is Due to Be Released in August, 2009.

Leuchtturm's New Mini Address Book is Due to Be Released in August, 2009.

I was struck by how small this address book was, and wasn’t sure how useful it might be until my daughter pointed out to me that it is the same size as a credit card. It certainly won’t take up much room since it can be slid into a slot in your wallet, but how many names can you possible get into a notebook so small?

Leuchtturm Mini Address Book is About the Same Size as a Credit Card and Can Be Easily Inserted Into Your Wallet.

Leuchtturm Mini Address Book is About the Same Size as a Credit Card and Can Be Easily Inserted Into Your Wallet.

There are 26 pages in the address book. Each page is devoted to a letter of the alphabet and there are 20 lines per page. If you are adding names, phone numbers and email addresses, you will most likely be able to use 1 line per name and could fit 20 contacts per letter. If you need to add addresses, you will get far fewer per page, the number depending on how many lines you use for each contact. The line spacing measures just a little over 3 mm, so the spacing is tight, but adequate if you comfortable using small writing.

The Inside of the Leuchtturm Mini Address Book Has 1 Letter and 26 Lines Per Page.

The Inside of the Leuchtturm Mini Address Book Has 1 Letter and 26 Lines Per Page.

The cover is a soft, flexible pebble textured material, most likely an oilcloth. The pebble gives it some friction, which is helpful when removing the notebook from a wallet slot. It seems to be pretty durable despite its thin profile and the texture hides blemishes easily. The book is saddle-stitched or held together with staples, and it will lay flat with a little persuasion.

Detail of a Page in Leuchtturms Mini Address Book.

Detail of a Page in Leuchtturm's Mini Address Book.

If you have good eyes and small writing, the Leuchtturm Mini Address Book is a good option that keeps your load light. It can be easily tucked into a wallet and will keep many of your contacts organized. If you have a lot of contacts or if you have trouble reading small text, I would look elsewhere for a larger, more functional address book.

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For those of you who have been waiting for the Ciak Squared Journal to be released in the US, the wait is over!  I just listed three at www.journalingarts.com. The squared Ciak Notebook shares all of the same great features as the ruled Ciak Notebooks only the paper is gridded, 6 squares per inch. This is a medium sized notebook that measures approximately 5″ x 6¾” and ¾” thick. The soft cover and thick, elastic strap is a nice change from the Moleskine notebooks and is worth a try if you seek a gridded journal that is stylish and fountain pen worthy.

The Ciak Squared Journal has heavy, acid-free paper that is pen friendly. The grid measures 6 squares per inch

The Ciak Squared Journal has heavy, acid-free paper that is pen friendly. The grid measures 6 squares per inch.

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The Moleskine Project Planner is now available at www.journalingarts.com.

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Moleskine released several new planners for 2010 including the soft cover Project Planner. Whether managing a small, medium or large project we all know the key to success is in the planning. It is the first thing you should do when undertaking any kind of project and Moleskine’s Project Planner can help you achieve your goals and minimize the chaos.

Moleskines soft cover Project Planner is new for 2010.

Moleskine's soft cover Project Planner is new for 2010.

The Project Planner is a handy pocket-sized journal with 54 zig zag pages that fold out for the entire 2010 year. Just like Moleskine’s other planners, the pages are acid free and there is an expandable inner pocket in the back. A soft cover and smaller page count make this planner thinner than Moleskine’s other planners, so if you carry an additional small Moleskine notebook or planner, you can slide this planner under the elastic strap of the other journal without adding too much bulk. The paper feels thicker than the paper in other Moleskine planners, so I am hoping it can handle wet pens with minimal problems. One thing that is missing is the ribbon bookmark, although I am not sure it needs it. If  you really need to mark your page, you could use the elastic strap or a separate bookmark.

The Project Planner is substantially thinner than the classic, hard cover Moleskine planner, so it can be slid under the elastic strap of your Moleskine weekly planner or other small notebook without taking up too much space.

The Project Planner is substantially thinner than the classic, hard cover Moleskine planner, so it can be slid under the elastic strap of your Moleskine weekly planner or other small notebook without taking up too much extra space.

The front side of the planning pages feature a chart layout

The front side of the planning pages feature an extended chart for day-to-day planning across 54 zig zag pages.

There are 2 planning layouts for tracking long-term and short-term projects. The front pages include an extended chart for day-to-day planning with a month to view on each 2-page spread. Each week is numbered starting with week 1 in early January and week 52 at the end of December. Dates and days of the week run horizontally across each 2-page spread and weeks are designated by a bold vertical line.  Each day includes 11 vertical time slots for you to customize.

Spread open the planning pages for a long term view of your projects schedule.

Spread open the planning pages for a long term view of your project's schedule.

Close up of a page in the Project Planner.

Close up of a page in the Project Planner.

The backside of the accordion pages includes a vertical monthly planner on each page with plenty of room for writing next to each day. Each date and day of the week is displayed and the weeks are designated by bold lines. Each week of the year is numbered with a very small number at the top of each week. There is also a selection of calendars and charts you would expect to fine here including small planning calendars, a time zone chart, international dialing codes etc. This planning format is perfect for scheduling projects, but I think the chart format would work well for scheduling your kid’s school and after school activities and would also be useful as an agenda for the classroom. The long range view really puts things in perspective.

The back pages of Moleskines Project Planner feature a

The back pages of Moleskine's Project Planner feature a vertical Monthly Planner with plenty of room for notes.

Overall, this appears to be a very useful little planner for long term projects, curriculum or even organizing your family’s schedule. If you have used this planner for work or for play, drop me a line and let me know what you think.

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Moleskine released several new planners for 2010 including the 2010 Panoramic Planner. Those of you who are looking for a planner with a unique layout and the inclusion of a monthly calendar on each weekly spread, this could be the planner you are looking for. It is pocket-sized and has a soft cover making it perfect for your back pocket or purse. This planner is thinner than hard cover versions and has a portable profile that feels substantially lighter than the hard cover planners.

Moleskines Panoramic Planner is a New Style for 2010.

Moleskine's Panoramic Planner is a New Style for 2010.

Open the planner and you’ll discover that the planning pages are rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise from what you would expect. This puts the top of the calendar on the left page. At first this seems a little awkward until you write in it. The extra width is more comfortable than a narrower page, and you avoid having to write near the inner margins in the center of the journal!

The Panoramic Format is Rotated 90 Degrees Counter-Clockwise from What You Would Expect. Each Week-to-View Includes a Small Monthly Calendar and a Contacts Section.

The Panoramic Format is Rotated 90 Degrees Counter-Clockwise from What You Would Expect. Each Week-to-View Includes a Small Monthly Calendar and a Contacts Section.

The panoramic orientation also includes some extras you won’t find in the standard Moleskine planners; a small column sectioned into To-Dos, Contacts and Notes. There is also a small monthly calendar of the current month highlighting the current week in bold. I get requests for this feature all of the time so I am glad that Moleskine finally added a monthly calendar to one of their planners.

One Week of Planning Per 2-Page Spread.

One Week of Planning Per 2-Page Spread.

Each 2-page spread displays a week at a time and the planning slots are in a vertical format. The planning periods are broken down into 12, 1-hour slots in military time, 08:00  through 20:00. All of the standard Moleskine planner pages are here, too, including pages for Personal Data, Monthly Planning Calendars for long range planning for 2010 and 2011, International Holidays, a Time Zone Chart, International Dialing Codes, Distances, International Sizes and a Ruler.

All of Moleskines Standard Planner Pages are Here Including Long Term Planning Pages, Time Zones, International Dialing Codes, etc.

All of Moleskine's Standard Planner Pages are Here Including Long Term Planning Pages, Time Zones, International Dialing Codes, etc.

Small but significat changes to Moleskine’s traditional  planners add up to a nice little Panoramic planner with super planning capabilities. You should give it a tyr  if you want a unique Moleskine Weekly Planner with a soft cover and small monthly calendar on each page. The Moleskine Panoramic Planner can be found at www.journalingarts.com.

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I have been experimenting with a few illustrations done with Prismacolor Colored Pencils and I noticed that different paper yields slightly different results. The differences are most apparent in smooth blended areas of color, but there were a few other differences as well I thought worth noting.

Color blends were created on the paper in a Moleskine Sketchbook, Plain Notebook and Ciak Sketchbook.

Color blends were created in a Moleskine Storyboard Notebook, Plain Notebook and Ciak Sketchbook. The top of each blend was creating using heavy coverage and lots of pressure, while the bottom portion of the blends were created using light pressure.

The Tools
I used  four Prismacolor colored pencils in the red-orange tonal range to simulate a color blend you might have when illustrating things from nature such as berries or flowers. The notebooks I tested were the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook, Moleskine Plain Notebook and the Ciak Sketchbook. On each blend, I drew with lots of pressure at the top of the blend and with very little pressure at the bottom. I wanted to see how blends using different pressure would look.

Four colors were used to simulate a color blend you might find in nature.

Four colors were used to simulate a color blend you might find in nature.

The Moleskine paper in both journals was ivory in color and the Ciak Sketchbook was nearly white. The paper in the Moleskine Storyboard was the thickest, with the Ciak Sketchbook just slightly thinner. The Moleskine Plain notebook had the thinnest paper. Note: that the paper in the Storyboard Notebook appears to be the same as the paper in the Moleskine Sketchbook so I would expect similar results with Moleskine’s Sketchbook.

After creating the blends in each journal, the first difference I noticed was the color. The whiter, brighter Ciak paper yielded more intense color that overall appeared cleaner than the paper in either Moleskine notebook. I am assuming that the ivory color of the paper was the primary reason, but the Moleskine Plain notebook appeared the dullest of all. This really isn’t a problem because the Plain notebook is more of a writing tool than a sketchbook. The color is still good enough for most uses.

The next thing I noticed was the look of the blends. The paper in both Moleskine journals is coated, so the blends created with lots of pressure did not go down as nicely as the blends on the Ciak Sketchbook. Because the paper is smooth, the wax of the pencils tended to bunch up on the edges or where the colors overlapped and I even had a small amount of color flaking in the Storyboard Notebook in the densest areas of color. In the lighter portions of the blended areas, the difference was not so pronounced, but I did prefer the paper of the Ciak Sketchbook and Moleskine Plain notebook because both papers have a little bit of tooth for smoother, more consistent transitions. Note: Be careful when using lots of pressure with your colored pencils in the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook or Sketchbook. The strokes I drew with the most pressure actually developed a shine or a burnished look. This could be interesting as an artistic touch when done intentionally, but it wreaks havoc with smooths transitions.

The paper in the Ciak Sketchbook is bright white and has a little bit of tooth to it. I found I preferred it for smooth blends using the colored pencils.

The paper in the Ciak Sketchbook is bright white and has a little bit of tooth to it. I found I preferred it for smooth blends using the colored pencils. The colors appeared the brightest and the waxy pencils performed in a more predictable manner.

The paper of the Moleskine Sketchbook is thick, smooth and has a coating on the surface. While this is great for pens and even graphite, the slick surface is not ideal for waxy colored pencils. Areas of heavy coverage had a tendency to buch up and even flaked a bit where the color overlapped.

The ivory paper of the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook is thick, smooth and has a coating on the surface. While this is great for pens and even graphite, the slick surface is not ideal for waxy colored pencils. Areas of heavy coverage had a tendency to bunch up and even flaked a bit where the color overlapped. Edges where color faded completely tended to be coarser than those on the Ciak. The coating on the paper creates tiny, pale specks on the paper leaving areas where the pencil did not cover well, similar to the issue I had with the Moleskine Sketchbook in another review. These are hard to see in the photos but appear as tiny white pinholes in the color.

The Moleskine Plain notebook resulted in the dullest color, but I preferred the colored pencil blends to those done in the Moleksine Sketchbook because the paper has a slight tooth to it. The same pale specs appeared on this paper that were evident on the Moleskine Sketchbook. I think this might be due to a coating that is put on the paper.

The Moleskine Plain notebook resulted in the dullest color, but I preferred the texture of the colored pencil blends to those done in the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook because the paper has a slight tooth to it. The same pale specks appeared on this paper that were evident on the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook, but overall they are not too distracting.

Final Thoughts

While any of these journals are great for general sketching, I preferred the Ciak Sketchbook for using with colored pencils. The blends are smoother and it was easier to achieve more natural looking transitions. The paper is similar to what you would find in a traditional sketchpad and the paper is brighter, giving you cleaner, more accurate color.

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I have read the review on the Cartesio journal by Stephanie at www.biffybeans.com and she clearly demonstrates that the Cartesio Journal is fountian pen friendly in addition to handling a Japanese Brush pen with ease. While I  have had wet pen success with this journal, too, I have heard that some of you have had problems using your fountain pen with the paper. I contacted Fiorentina in the US about this, they contacted Italy who gave this reply:

“… the Ciak and Cartesio have almost the same technical characteristics and in both cases 85% of cases are fountain pen compatible! It all depends on the pressure that the “cartiera” gives to the paper… if fibers are more pressed, paper is harder and ink is slowly absorbed: when paper is less pressed, the ink it’s better absorbed but it might create a halo around the writing…”

What experiences have you had with this combination? I would love to know. Is there anyone who has used a fountian pen with their Cartesio Journal with unsatisfactory results? If so, drop me a line and let me know which pen and what type of ink you are using. I would like to do my own review on this notebook as well and would love to include your experiences as well.

The Cartesio Journals come in pocket and large sizes similar to those of the Moleskine journals. They are available at www.journalingarts.com.

The Cartesio Journals come in pocket and large sizes similar to those of the Moleskine journals. They are available at http://www.journalingarts.com.

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