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Posted in good design, things we like, tools of the trade by hemmant jha on April 6, 2009

Holbein multi-drawing book.

This is, by far, the best multi purpose sketch book I’ve used, and I’ve tried many kinds.

The book is slim, with a hard cover and integral ties. The paper is designed to take watercolor, so it takes ink really well. I typically draw with a fountain pen, sometimes aggressively, and I’ve never had the paper fall apart and clog the pen. The 80lb NpH paper has a medium/fine tooth that is also very good for pencil work.

The multi-drawing book is available in many sizes ranging from the most portable and versatile 0F [7-5/16” x 5-3/8”] to large studio size.

Holbein switched the paper about 4 years ago – it now has a somewhat heavier tooth than before and is a bit less suited for very detailed pen / pencil work. Shortly after the switch was made, I ordered several boxes with the old style paper [essentially the entire remaining stock of a supplier] – those boxes made their way to storage when I moved and were never heard from again. In the interim, I’ve tried the new version, and it is just as good. Those who have not tried the older version need lose no sleep.

They’re not cheap – at only 28 sheets per book, the SM size is about $14 at these fine art supply stores [1,2] – this just means that you will likely think twice before treating them like rubbish. Besides, the hard cover ensures that there will never be any corner curls – great for long term storage of precious artwork within.

Please support your local retailer – resist the temptation to order online. Pick up one of the beautifully constructed books and feel the paper, use the ties – and you’ll be hooked.

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For more on pens, inks, notebooks and related matters, please visit these posts : tools of the trade.

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5 Responses

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  1. 63 « thinkmore said, on April 6, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    […] not the kind you feel when you press keys on a keyboard, use this pen with a good sketchbook [1]. This classic example of good, solid modern design is available at art supply and office supply […]

  2. emily said, on April 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    seeing “old school” spiral-bound books like these makes me long for a spiral binding machine, so that I could make my own… *sigh* some day…

  3. 67 « thinkmore said, on April 13, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    […] For more on pens, inks, notebooks and related matters, please visit these posts – 1, 2 […]

  4. 71 « thinkmore said, on April 20, 2009 at 10:51 am

    […] more on pens, inks, notebooks and related matters, please visit these posts – 1,  2, […]

  5. mabeloos said, on April 28, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    thanks for the review. i wandered into ny central art supply recently and picked up two holbein sketchbooks, but still felt hesitant about using them. i’m in constant search for the perfect paper: light/smooth enough for pen but with enough tooth to be interesting, and thick enough for good washes of watercolor.


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