Advantages hard wearing, well-made binding, good quality acid free paper, suits many kinds of media
Disadvantages paper can go crinkly with watercolours, may not suit charcoal/pastels
My four years at college and uni doing nothing but art courses must have been good value - their legacy hasn’t left me. In some cases, I’m talking literally. Upstairs in my room (and also on my desk, in my desk and anywhere else I’ve been) I can usually rely on finding a leftover sketchbook with empty pages when I feel like drawing. One such specimen is this A4 Polypro Sketch Book.
The cover is pretty tough grey plastic with a slight metallic sheen, so pretty neutral. I’ve never decorated mine with stickers, paint or glitter glue (largely because I mainly used them for uni projects) but at least one of mine has still got its price sticker on, five years after being bought so I’d say that if you customised it with anything self-adhesive, it should stay on for a while; oil pastel, watercolour etc wouldn’t work on this surface, although acrylic paint might.
I’ve got a love-hate relationship with wire-bound books - it depends where the binding meets. Luckily, the join on this one is between the back cover and the inside cover sheet (thick black card, which gives some stability so the book doesn’t flop or bend if I’m working on my knee) so it doesn’t tend to get caught and open itself; I have lost front and/or back covers on other books where the join was on the outside so this book is comparatively well-made. The spiral binding itself only adds about 1cm width/0.5cm height so fitting it into a rucksack that could take A4 books shouldn’t be a problem and it will open flat on a desk etc without the binding getting in the way of your work - a problem I’ve had with wider metal bindings.
The A4 sketch pad is far more practical than the A3 one in the same range; the A4 one is bound down the 297mm (long) side and is wide enough to work in without becoming floppy. The A3 version is, unfortunately, also bound down the 297mm side, leaving the 420mm (A3 ‘long’) side open. The covers are made of identical material, but in A3 format it just becomes too bendy if you’re working on anything but a table, desk etc. The A4 format suits the cover thickness much better.
The contents of the sketch pad are good quality. I would call it cartridge paper, but to me cartridge paper is slightly texture whereas this plain paper (no lines, grids or graphs) is really smooth and bright white rather than cream or off-white, like good quality photocopier paper. However, at 140gsm, this is nearly double the thickness of copier paper; it’s thin enough to fold easily (I have done all sorts with my sketchbooks) and would cope with a standard hole punch, but also thick enough to make any drawings etc look like you’ve sourced decent paper to work on.
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