These are the ones I received -a Monologue Jotter, a Monologue Sketch Pad, and a Déjà Vu Notebook. Although it doesn’t say it on the label, Made in Malaysia is printed on the back of the last page of the books.
First, the Monologue Jotter. The cover is a soft suede-like fabric. It has a nice elastic closure as well as an attached ribbon bookmark. It retails for $30.99 in their online store. They are $18.50 - $25.15 on Amazon, depending on color.
It has 96 pages, 48 lined and 48 blank. I thought that was a bit strange, but the blank pages would come in handy for drawing and sketching, I guess. The lined pages are lined on both sides. You may think that’s not necessary to say, but the Déjà Vu is a bit different. Read on :-)
The pages are a nice cream color, not too thin, and fairly smooth. The odd thing was this cut out for the pen loop. Mine didn’t come with a ballpoint pen, which was fine with me because I would have given it to my husband straight away. The pen loop seems to be made from the same fabric as the cover and has no give to it at all, which limits the size of pen that will fit in it. I forgot to do some writing samples in this one, but the paper is the same (80gsm) as what’s in the Déjà Vu notebook, so I expect the results would be the same. The Déjà Vu review is at the bottom of the post - fountain pen ink spreads quite a bit and also shows through to the back of the page.
I tried several pens and the only one that even came close was my Mach 3. Even then it was just weird trying to get it in and out of the loop.
I had to lift all of the pages up to make it work, and then it was too long. It didn’t fit in the cut out space.
There is an expandable pocket in the back, but the pen loop interferes with it a bit. Yes, that’s an ink pad, and I know it’s meant for notes, receipts, and the like - and would work fine for those. I just don’t really understand the thinking behind the design. I’m not sure I would pay $18 or more for this notebook, given the quality of the paper and the odd little “features”.
Next up is the Monologue Sketch Pad. I really like the cover of this one. It has a subtle texture and those lines etched into the cover are quite pretty. Retail is $11.99 in their online store, around $12 on Amazon.
The pages have a texture similar to a lightweight cold press watercolor paper. I couldn’t capture it in a photo, so I scribbled a bit of pencil on the paper in an effort to show the texture. If you look at the left side of the photo you can see it is a pretty thick sketch book. The bad news is that it’s not refillable, the notebook is glued on to the back. Not terribly environmentally friendly.
The label states that it is suitable for drawing with charcoal, chalk, graphite, pencil, pastel, oil pastel, was crayon, red chalk, collage, oil, marker, spray, and tempera. Well, I had some markers and a pencil. And some watercolors, which is not listed as suitable. They worked fine, except the watercolor wrinkled the paper quite a bit. Fair enough, it didn’t say it was suitable for watercolors.
I had to try my Lamy Safari, of course. Fine nib, inked with Noodler’s Shah’s Rose. Yes, I do love that color and use it excessively. It actually looks pretty good on this paper. I wouldn’t necessarily use it for letter writing, but it’s heavy enough to be stamped or doodled on and used as a postcard. The pages are easily removed, too, so using them as single pages outside of the notebook is a possibility.
I can’t think of any reason why they named this one Déjà Vu…but they did and who am I to argue. It is a bright orange, with a velour-like cover over what feels like thin-ish chipboard. There wasn’t a page count on the label, but it’s very thick. So thick that it will not lay flat for writing, it has to be held open. I didn’t find it for sale on their website, but Amazon has a grey one for $10.50.
The pages are also cream colored, lined on one side and blank on the back. No idea why.
Again with the pen tests. Fountain pens, gel pens and even a hybrid ballpoint. The paper is really smooth but the fountain pen ink spread a lot.
The Lamy EF nib looks more like the F nib should.
Almost all of the ink shows through to the backside of the pages, especially the fountain pens. Maybe that’s why they didn’t bother to print lines on the back, you couldn’t use them anyway.
I will definitely find a use for these, it just won’t be with my fountain pens. Although maybe other ink will perform differently on this paper. I have learned that much so far - pen, ink, and paper combinations can produce very different results. I should probably keep track of those results, but where’s the fun it that?