Mindstone Notebook

Mindstone Sketchbook Review

The Mindstone Sketchbook was sent to me to review here on the blog. This hasn’t altered my write up of this product. All true thoughts here.

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I had never heard of Mindstone before they contacted me to ask if I would like to test run a couple of their notebooks for review on the blog. They are a small Austrian company who wanted to make the perfect notebook. Today I will be reviewing their A5 sketchbook which I have been using for the past few months.

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The Mindstone sketchbook has a navy linen cover with flourishes of red used on the elastic closure and bookmark. The binding is on the short side of the notebook making this a great landscape mode sketchbook. The stock inside is 120 g/m2 bright white with each page perforated so any of them can be removed. It also comes with a handy pocket on the inside back cover. There is a crazy design on the inside cover showing off a little of Mindstones personality. These elements of this notebook really set it apart from other sketchbooks on the market. A sketchbook with a bit of personality in a sea of black sketchbooks is quite nice.

Inside backcover with the crazy design and handy pocket.

Inside backcover with the crazy design and handy pocket.

I have used watercolours, Uni-ball Posca markers, ink, drawing pens and pencils in this notebook. I wanted to test it out with as many different tools that I could to see how the notebook held up and how the paper responded to these different art tools. The results are a mixed bag.

My stechbook usage.

Firstly the paper definitely isn’t made for watercolour. The paper is not heavy enough and ripples a lot when water is applied. This buckling doesn’t bother me particularly as this is a sketchbook and a place to experiment rather than create masterpieces.

The buckled pages

The buckled pages

Heavier markers also suffered from the paper quality and resulted in a lot of bleed through. The Uni-ball Air and the Uni-ball Posca were some of the worst. It seems that wet or bold pens saturated the paper too much.

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Using ink, drawing pens and pencils worked absolutely fine in the Mindstone sketchbook as you would expect. The paper is very smooth which means there isn’t really any tooth for pencils.

With the different mediums I used in the notebook the binding did suffer. The watercolour and pens put too much weight on the stitched binding and the pages pulled away quite early on. I haven’t applied any extreme stress to the sketchbook, most of the use was at home. For urban sketchers or people who like to use lots of different mediums within their sketchbooks this may not be the right option.

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My thoughts on Mindstones sketchbook.

My experiences with this notebook is based on months of use and trying out different things in order to really get a feel for it. It sounds negative but when reviewing a sketchbook it carries a certain level of expectation. I am not sure the Mindstone sketchbook is comparable to other sketchbooks such as Moleskine and Stillman and Birn for numerous different reasons. The paper is a lot thinner, it’s not art or watercolour quality but simply plain paper.

But despite all of this I really have enjoyed using this sketchbook. The linen cover is really nice but I have a soft spot for linen cover notebooks. I’m not sure this style of cover is completely practical for a sketchbook but I like it. My sketchbook has worn nicely and given the sketchbook some lovely character with use.

Overall thoughts.

The red accents are a nice contrast to the navy cover. The inclusion of a back pocket for any pieces of paper is a nice feature to have. The size of the notebook works really well and I love the landscape format in a sketchbook. If the paper quality was upgraded in the Mindstone sketchbook this would be an excellent sketchbook.

I would like to thank Mindstone for sending me this notebook to review on the blog.

My Humble Art Supplies.

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One of my 2017 stationery resolutions that didn’t materialise, was to draw. I had drawn a little but it was haphazard and my progress was slow simply because I wasn’t finding the time. This year I really want to change that and make drawing a habit.

I have amassed a small collection of items that I enjoy using and plan on making these part of my art supply toolkit. I thought I would share these with you.

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Notebooks.

There are two or three sketchbooks I have tested and tried to get along with but there are some that I have found I enjoy and plan on making these my staples. One is the Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. I have a pocket and an A5 size. I like how slim they are and the paper is quite nice.

The second is the Mindstone sketchbook which was sent to me to test out. There is a lot to like about this sketchbook and I will review this product properly in an upcoming post. I really like the cloth cover and the elastic strap. The size is great too so this is a big winner for me.

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Pencils.

I have a few pencils that I have been using. I find it helpful to sketch a very light and rough outline first as I am awful with my proportions and therefore not confident about going straight in with ink. I have been using my Baron Fig School Set Archer pencil, my Staedtler Mars Lumograph and a Blackwing 602. They’re not the ideal sketching pencils and really I should be using a Blackwing MMX.

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Fountain Pen and Ink.

It’s no surprise really that I have found my favourite sketching tool to be a fountain pen. It feels so nice to use and I like the wet ink on the page. I find it far more enjoyable than a drawing pen, but I do have a Uni-pin there for good measure. I am using my Lamy AL Star Copper Orange with a fine nib and Noodles Black for drawing. The pen is perfect and easy to carry around and the Noodlers Black ink is waterproof which means I have the option to add in watercolour.

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Watercolour palette.

I have recently changed my palette. I was experimenting with a simple Winsor and Newton Cotman 12-pan palette that I bought cheaply to basically try out the colours and not over invest in something that I may not have really liked. However I really struggled with the quality of this palette and after watching some YouTube videos I decided to upgrade. I now have a few Winsor and Newton professional watercolour tubes and have created my own palette and now in a lovely metal tin.

A partially empty palette

A partially empty palette

There are a lot of holes here and I know I am missing some basics (any suggestions welcome) but I am just piecing everything together and trying to find something that’ll work the best way for me.

Travel brush.

I invested in a Rosemary and Co. pocket brush some time ago based on a recommendation in a YouTube video, I forget which. I really love this brush because it’s a travel version. It takes up minimal room and I can protect the brush. I think I have the size 6 brush but again can’t be sure.

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Superior Labor pouch.

I have been keeping my sketching tools in my Superior Labor pen pouch which really wasn’t how I intended to use it but it works quite well. The large pocket holds my small palette really nicely and I can just throw all the pens and pencils and brushes everywhere else.

Superior Labor pen roll and the Mindstone sketchbook

Superior Labor pen roll and the Mindstone sketchbook

I’m learning.

This is the state of my sketching for the beginning of 2018 and I am sure there will be changes throughout the year. 2017 was almost a year of testing and trailing out different tools. I have refined my watercolour palette and found sketchbooks that I think work well for me. At the moment I like the simplicity of my current art toolkit, now I just need to use these tools more often.