Midori always rocks the vintage minimal elegance. Those of us who like our analog tools to give us a sense of timeless utility are going to dig the Midori aesthetic. That being said, I think this little beauty is misnamed as a notebook. The Midori B7 Elephant is more of a sketchbook, I've found.
When I first opened this up and started playing with it, I really disliked it. The paper is very thick, like a hearty index card, but it doesn't take ink that well. There's quite a lot of feathering with fountain pens, and the paper is fibrous enough that fine-pointed gel and rollerballs feel snaggy. There are also only 20 sheets of paper. For me, that's a single-serving notebook. And when it comes to notebooks, I want the whole pie. Also true for actual pie.
What does work well in this wee book? Ballpoint pens were okay. Paint soaked into the paper fibers too much--even with paint liner pens. Pencils, colored pencils, and pastels worked the best. Suddenly, the 20 cardstock pages made much more sense--this is a sketchbook. And so the ugly duckling realized he was really a beautiful swan.
As a pocket sketchbook, it's pretty great. The cardboard cover is sturdy and folds over neatly or lays flat. The brass spiral coil is the most durable I've encountered and promises to hold up to some rough carry without getting smooshed and distorting the whole book. I do wish the sheets were perforated--the heavy paper and thick wire make page removal difficult and messy.
This particular model is the Elephant and has grey paper. A wee elephant is stamped into the corner of the cover. The Polar Bear has white paper and the Camel has brown. The books come in other sizes as well--B6, A5, and A6 in both horizontal and vertical binding orientations. This B7 is perfect for a back pocket or to slip into a day pack for an afternoon of sketching adventures.
I'm glad I kept playing beyond my initial impression of this book. But it does serve to illustrate how important a product's name is when it comes to customer expectations. I maintain that it's a dreadful notebook! A person who is new to the Midori brand who is looking for a notebook and who purchases this based on the Midori reputation may find themselves disappointed. I suspect wandering sketchers will find it to be a pocketful of joy.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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