strathmore mixed media art journal review

Strathmore sketchbooks seems to be loved by everyone, so I decided to try one of them because I was curious. And specially because I'm always looking for a good sketchbook. The point is that those sketchbooks are not available in Italy so I had to buy it on and I payed more for the shipping than for the actual sketchbook. I had a lot of expectations for this sketchbook and I'm sad to say that unfortunately it disappointed me. I'm making a review from the point of view of someone that uses watercolors the most! I'm sure this sketchbook is just perfect for dry techniques like most sketchbooks!

I decided to go for this "mixed media art journal" because it has 100% cotton paper 190gsm.The texture is very nice for me it's the perfect texture! It has 68 pages which means 34 sheets ( not everyone draw on both sides of the paper).
For my sketchbooks I don't pretend them to have 300gsm 100% cotton paper because at the end of the day they're just sketchbooks! And I prefer to have more pages in it! That's why I'm having hard time finding a good sketchbook that have just a rather thin but strong paper! I don't care if the pages warps a bit with water! I just want a versatile paper! Because I'm tired to have a million different sketchbooks that I use for different techniques !

The look of this sketchbook is really cool! It actually have a bit of a weird size ( 19.7 x 24.8 cm /7,75 x 9,75 in), but it's not bad I like that it's not a long rectangle, but more of a square rectangle! I choose the one with a soft cover because it was cheaper and also because I wouldn't bring around a sketchbook of this size anyway! But because of the softcover the sketchbook doesn't lay flat so it's difficult to draw on the back of the pages!

The paper is from the 500 series of strathmore papers.  Now strathmore is an American brand and I never tried any of their paper before because as I said they are not easy to find in Italy and here there are so many good brands of paper from all Europe  that I never felt the urge of buying strathmore paper. I said that I bought this one because the pages are 100% acid free cotton and this is mixed media paper so I was curious because I thought since it is cotton paper it must resistant and strong paper, but it's NOT! I think that by mixed media paper they meant that you can use a media OR another media! Instead what mixed mead art means is that artists use mixed media on a SINGLE PIECE! In that case the paper has to be strong otherwise it would be damaged too easily!This is not!

Even by using just watercolors if you work it a little the paper surface peels off a bit! I think that there is not enough sizing on it consequently you can't even make many layers!
The paper absorbs very fast the water and the colors dry very quickly! If this is a perk or a con it depends on your technique!

Another weird thing is that sometimes white dots appear on watercolors when the paint dries. It doesn't happen on gouache or acrylics, but it happens with diluted ink as well!

Since there is not enough sizing you can't ink on top on watercolors/ink paintings because the ink pens feather on top of it! Which is a BIG downside for me because I outline every watercolors that I make! And I prefer to do it after painting because in this way I have the freedom to use any color without worrying about the transparency!

I'll use this sketchbook anyway, but of course I can't use for it the things I wanted to use it for!
Unfortunately this sketchbook is not as versatile as expected from a mixed media sketchbook and for the price I don't think I'll ever buy it again. Don't get me wrong I don't think that this is an extremely bad sketchbook, but it's not for me!

I hope you found this review helpful and specially, if you used this sketchbook, let me know in the comments what do you think about it and how did you use it so that you can help the people that read this post!

bye bye

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