I just received a pack of the Field Notes Signature blank page edition and noticed that on the front of the band it said,”Sketch Book” right below the “Plain Paper”. I opened it up and saw that unlike my beloved Dime Novel edition, these notebooks had no page numbers (a plus for me) and their pages were white and not cream coloured. That made me decide to break them out for a very quick sketching opportunity, to see how well they faired.
The notebook doesn’t open flat, and it tends to want to close on itself, so I used a clip to keep it open when I was sketching. Ideally you’ll need two clips and maybe a backboard of some kind to use it comfortably. The paper, as is normal with sketching paper, doesn’t take washes too well. It’s relatively thin and it buckles pretty easily, so only the lightest of washes should be attempted with it.
The drum set above was sketched with a Sanford No-Blot Pencil. You can see the paper buckling even though very little water was applied with a water brush.
The paper fared better with fine brush pens:
A tiny bit of spread when you lay down the ink too thickly:
Zero complaints when it comes to pencil sketches:
As is to be expected with this kind of paper, it works well with pencils and coloured pencils, having just enough tooth to make it work well with them, but not so great with fine and extra fine fountain pens and thin technical pens.
As you can see above, the Extra Fine Waterman Phileas (with Colorverse Selectron pigment ink) stuttered on the page.
The Signature also suffers from being an awkward size for a sketchbook: too large to be truly pocketable, too small to allow for anything more than tiny, quick sketches.
As a sketchbook, I’d not recommend it. There are better options in the market, ones that open flat, in better sizes, with hardcovers (a plus when sketching on the go), that take washes a bit better than the Signature does.
That being said, it’s a fountain pen friendly Field Notes, and so long as you’re not set on using nibs that in the extra fine realm or using this notebook as your main sketchbook, it’s a nice little thing to carry around and play with. There’s nothing wrong with a notebook that can take a little doodle next to your todo list…