When the Field Notes Dime Novel edition released last year, I went a little cuckoo-bananas. It's the first edition that I'd say I stockpiled. I happened to be at the HQ in Chicago just after the release, and I purchased enough of them that I made a bit of a spectacle. Now, I didn't hoard them all--I gave them away as gifts to writer's workshop partners and writing students and co-workers. I gave away so many that I recently noticed I only have one pack left for myself. And I was a little sad. Because I LOVE that edition.
Well, I'm happy now--because Field Notes has released very similar books in their always-available Signature line. Both lined notebooks and blank sketchbooks are available in unlimited quantities, which is my favorite quantity of notebooks.
The new Signature line sketch books are 6.5" by 4.25", just like the Dime Novel edition. Slightly larger than a standard pocket notebook, but still well within the bounds of a comfortably portable book. It's bound with Smyth-sewn binding in three signatures, ideally so that it will lay flat. The book didn't ever lay flat for me, even after some training, but it does at least open fully so that the whole page is useful.
The cover is a blue-grey French cardstock debossed with the logo and branding. The color is very pretty--in some lights it looks like a soft ash grey, and at other times it looks blue. It's the perfect slate sky or winter concrete color. The corners are rounded to prevent wear. Inside, there are 36 sheets of 70 lb bright white, premium woven Strathmore paper. The pages are completely blank--no page numbers, and a much brighter white than the creamy Dime Novel edition paper.
The paper itself feels heavy-duty, and it does stand up to a lot of different media. It's fairly fibrous and toothy. Fine-pointed pens tended to catch in the paper fibers or feel scratchy. Fine-point markers and felt-tip fineliners may get chewed up a little faster on this paper than they would on smoother paper. Very wet inks did feather a bit, also. The only thing that bled through the paper, however, was Sharpie marker. Everything else was nearly invisible on the back side of the sheet.
The paper did stand up well to a light wash. There was some rippling, but less than I expected. It is downright dreamy paper for pencils and colored pencils. The paper has just the right tooth for shading and layering. Ultimately, it serves its purpose as a sketch book very well, while also being useful as a notebook itself. It would be well suited to combination journaling and sketch + text projects, like travel journals or daily reflections.
These are a wonderful and practical addition to the Field Notes Signature line. As much as I love the rare beauty of the limited editions, it's a comfort to know that a good product will always be close at hand--and it's rare for a brand to stay both exciting and reliable at the same time.
(Vanness Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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