Product Review: Strathmore’s Mixed Media Art Journal

0v11195000000-st-01-strathmore-hardbound-art-journals-mixed-mediaThe winner of the journal is Cynthia Morris! Congratulations, Cynthia. Send me your mailling address, and the journal will be on the way.

Yes, there is a giveaway, there wasn’t room in the title.

I’ve seen the Strathmore art journals with the spiral binding, and I like them, too. But the spiral binding is a problem for me, because I like to travel with a journal, or even carry it in my purse. A wire binding is not only bulky, but in my purse, with a hard-case for glasses and at least one pen, the wire binding can get bent and distorted, making it almost impossible to turn the pages without tearing them. So when I saw these hard-bound journals, I had to order several. (Told you there was a giveaway.)

paperDetails: Mixed media art journal (also available in watercolor paper).
Paper: 90-lb text stock (190 gsm), Strathmore 500 series paper. Acid-free, 100 percent cotton.
Page size: 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches. (14 x 21.6 cm)
Number of pages: 64, on 32 sheets.

Price: Shop around for a good price, I’ve seen them vary from $10.00 to almost $30.00. When I couldn’t find them in any local stores, I went online and bought mine for about $10.00 plus shipping.
What I like: The pages of the Strathmore journal are bound with Smyth-sewn binding.  This binding (also called section-sewn) is durable and a sign of quality. Library books, which take a beating in use, are Smyth-sewn so they can be opened flat. The pages are sewn in signatures and the signatures into the binding, with thread, instead of trimmed and glued, as in most paperbacks.

The pages are sturdy, a slightly cream off-white, and unlined. Ready for a wide variety of work.

MoonThe cover is a leather-like substance that doesn’t scuff or mar easily. The pages for the mixed-media journal are heavy enough to take light watercolor washes, acrylic paint, pen, and Pitt markers. Alcohol markers, like Copic, will bleed through. Heavy watercolor work will cause the paper to wrinkle a bit. The area around the moon in the photo above, which I re-worked several times, is a bit wrinkled on the back. No problem. Let it dry, iron it down and the page is fine again. Strathmore makes good paper.

You can’t scrub them hard, but you can do most water media (particularly acrylic) with no problem and the pages stay flat. Big plus over some others I’ve tried.

The books are fairly thin. I don’t like 300-page journals because they are hard to manage, hard to work in, and hard to carry. The slimmer, 64-page (32 sheet) Strathmore journal is slim and portable.

FeathersWhat I don’t like: I was surprised that my Nano-Liner marker bled through a page. (You can just see it on the left side of the page, paler in this shot than in real life.) It is a 0.5, and puts down a heavy line of ink, but I was still surprised to see a slight bleed through.

The journal doesn’t have an elastic to keep it closed, which would be useful. I recycled the gold elastic band from a box of Godiva chocolates, and it works fine, although I have to remember to pick it up when I’m ready to close the journal. Not a problem at home, but in the park or at a coffee shop, I’m more likely to tuck the bag in my purse and leave, forgetting the gold elastic. I’ve had a crow steal the bright gold band right off the table, but that’s not the journal’s fault, it’s just made for a really odd look on my face.

There’s a lot to like with this journal. I’m also going to try their hardback watercolor journal (Series 400 recycled paper) and I’m a huge fan of their watercolor ready-cut paper. But I can see myself becoming a fan of these as a go-to journal.

Giveaway: Leave a comment if you would like to be entered in the drawing for the journal. I’ll spring for overseas shipping on this one, so anyone can enter. The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, 19 December. Closing for comments is 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Phoenix time. The name will be posted at the top of this post.

Here’s how I do the drawing: I divide the total number of comments by 6. I bring out the dice, and roll one to find the section with the winner (1 through 6). I repeat this action till one person wins. It’s more fun than the random number generator.

Disclosure: I purchased the journal, they were not donated. I am not being paid for or compensated in any way for this post.