Friday, 25 September 2015

Moleskine soft cover lined notebook - review

I should know by now... I really should. But I'm such an optimist that I still carry this hope that a Moleskine notebook will be good.


It isn't.

Do I need to say more? Maybe someone out there only writes in pencil/biro. Though they possibly don't follow a blog in which fountain pens and ink feature quite so frequently.

Okay, so, once I stopped being petrified by the humongous writing to-do list, I thought I should contemplate which of the many hundreds of notebooks in my possession would be a good one to do further planning of 'book 6' (it does actually have a title... honest!). I've been doing all the planning up to now in A5 Ciaks but wanted something a bit bigger for the next bit of planning. One of my previous books was planned in a hardback Moleskine and that seemed to have stood up to fountain pen really well. Amazingly, I didn't have all that many notebooks that were bigger than A5 in 'the emporium' (as hubby calls it). I had a Leuchtturm 1917 A4+, a Grandluxe A4 notebook (uh oh... see here...) and 2 large(ish) Moleskines, both in their wrappers. I thought I would give them a go and see how they stood up to fountain pens (as I rarely use anything else in book planning).

I've not had great success with Moleskines recently but was prepared to put it down to "it's just the cahiers and diary that are so rubbish". Wrong. The notebook would be great, apart from the really quite major aspect of not being able to cope with fountain pen. At all.

The size is a decent size - 192 pages and 19x25cm (7.5x10") with narrow ruling of 6mm. The elastic closure on this one was a bit floppy but manageable. It's stitch bound and lies flat with no bother. There's a ribbon page marker and a pocket in the back cover and the usual twaddle in a leaflet, making preposterous claims about the history of the Moleskine brand... So far, so good.

But then... oh, then I did a fountain pen test. The pages aren't numbered so I pulled a page out in the middle of a set. Okay, several of my pens are in the 'lay down a lot of ink' group and some of the inks are a bit challenging (Emerald de Chivor, we're looking at you here...). Even so... Let's play fountain-pen bingo...
  • Feathering?
  • Bleed-through?
  • Show-through?

Full house.

Ugh. I'm embarrassed to have to show you quite how awful it is.

But I will...
[click on any picture to zoom in on how horrible it is]

1. Feathering
Maybe not so obvious here but...
...feathering on each ink
...more feathering
...even with the rollerball!

2. Bleed-through

Er... unusable!
another close-up

3. Show-through
Almost irrelevant as the bleed-through is so horrific, but...

Bleed-through at the top, slight show-through below

Okay. I'll try the Leuchtturm next.


  1. May be this is an alternative :)

  2. Oh dear, I know that feeling of unwarranted optimism with these notebooks :( I've had some luck with a couple of fountain pens/inks in this style of moleskine, just in case it helps - a lamy 2000 medium with Noodler's X-Feather, and a Platinum 3776 Ultra Extra Fine with a standard Platinum black cart. The lamy/noodlers combination is a good one, except for me it feels like writing with a paintbrush (I bought it before I found Japanese Extra Fine nibs - there's no going back :/)!

    1. Ah - two problems with that... I HATE Lamy pens... and I'm not great with fine nibs! I write best with an italic or stub nib! My writing with a fine nib is very much like an insect has escaped from an ink pot and crawled across the page. :)
      I think the only solution is to NEVER buy a Moleskine again! If you can cope with them, I'm happy to post them out to you - just drop me an email?