I’ve been struggling with trying to decorate my journal in watercolour paint on cheap paper, and since I have consistently used my journal for a few months I’ve decided that investing in a nicer journal was warranted.

The journal I chose is of the Panduro brand, which surprisingly was the only watercolour notebook that I could find which has a dotted print. I bought it at a local branch of the Pipoos store for a little under €23, which I debated for quite some time before deciding to actually get it.

It’s an A5 sized notebook with 50 sheets of 200 GSM dotted cellulose paper. I’ve found that it holds water surprisingly well, doesn’t make the paper too wavy and there is basically no bleed through to the other side of the page when painting. The only time I got some bleed through was when I made a thick title with a fountain pen (so more ink than you’d get from most markers).

The paper also behaves well with masking fluid, but I’ve had some damage from washi tape. I don’t know if that says more about the paper or the tape, but I will be more careful when using tape and choose masking fluid where I can.

I chose not to remake all of the pages I created in my first journal, since some were never actually used and others just weren’t very practical. I like the addition of the spacing guide, with added custom made ruler, that’s been very helpful already. The pages look nice and neat, much nicer than my first attempt. So far I’m very pleased with my purchase!

I do have to note that I’ve never painted on hot pressed paper before, so I don’t know how it compares to that for watercolour. I prefer using cold pressed 100% cotton paper, which has lots of texture, so this is certainly an adjustment for me. It may not be as big of an adjustment if you’re used to painting on hot pressed and/or actual paper.

It does not have one of those handy-dandy strings to tell you which page to open, but one of the major downsides for me is that it has kind of a shitty cover. It’s basically just black cardboard and not very thick at that. I’ve been fantasising about investing time, money and effort into rebinding it into a hard cover. I’ve been wanting to play around with book binding, so I’m going to just use the journal as is for now and once I’m ready spend some time rebinding it into a hard cover. It’ll be a fun project!