Review: Strathmore Watercolor Travel Journal (300gsm 100% cotton)

The Strathmore Travel series watercolour paper and journals were released in 2019.

According to Strathmore, these were "created with Plein Air Painters and Urban Sketchers in mind" and "designed to meet the needs of on-location artwork". The main highlight of the paper is it's 300gsm 100% cotton watercolour paper. The paper could be made by Mohawk Fine Papers because that's the name listed on the back of the journal.

At the time of this review, the formats available are quite limited, namely

  • 3 x 9 inches wire bound pad with 12 sheets
  • 6 x 8 inches glue bound pad with 12 sheets
  • 8 x 10 inches glue bound pad with 12 sheets
  • 5.5 x 8 inches journal with 20 pages
  • 7 x 10 inches journal with 20 pages

The sizes are all on the smaller size hence making them very easy to bring around. And the use of softcover instead of hardcover also makes the journals lighter.

I've compared prices for the Strathmore Travel series paper and journals on Blick Art Materials with Arches, Fabriano, Lanaquarelle, Fluid 100 and Blick Premier and surprisingly, Fabriano Artistico was most affordable, followed by Strathmore.

The journals have rounded corners to prevent dog ears.

The saddle stitch quality is excellent. The stitching runs from top to bottom, is tight, and there's no gaps between stitches. The thread is the same colour as the elastic band.

When painting across papers, the tight stitching prevents water from seeping into the gutter and affecting other pages.

Each journal is made with 5 sheets folded into a signature with 20 pages.

The paper is 300gsm so it's quite thick. When folded, paper on the outer edges are more curved.

And even though this is a softcover sketchbook, the paper is thick and hard enough to provide good support for drawing. It's not like soft filmsy paper where you need to hard backing to work on.

All pages are able to open flat so painting across double pages is no problem. If you're painting on the first and last page, the curved fold make cause water to run down more easily into the gutter.

The paper is only available with coldpress.

There's no discernible grain pattern on the paper.

The texture is very nice. Quite similar to Arches and Lanaquarelle.

The paper is quite dry and thirsty. To get solid lines with hard edges when drawing with pen and ink, it's best to use a pen with good ink flow.

The paper is off-white, similar to Arches and Fabriano Traditional White. There's a slight warm hue to it.

Sizing of the paper is good and watercolour appears vibrant.

The quality of this paper is comparable to Arches, Fabriano and Lanaquarelle which is to say that the quality is really good. All watercolour techniques work well on it. Wet and wet works great. Colours are able to blend beautifully, softly.

The quality of the paper is fantastic. Painting on it is very enjoyable and satisfying. This is definitely a journal and paper I can recommend easily.

20 pages is actually not a lot but it's good for bringing along on a short trip because you can probably fill up all the pages easily.


At the time of this review, the 7 x 10 inch journal is US $17.80. You can compare all the prices on Blick Art Materials



I agree the paper is good.

I agree the paper is good. But I find the 7x10 sketchbook massively overpriced for what it is. It's just a signature of a few folios sewn together. I can do that myself, even with my sewing machine. And I hate the color of thread. I'd prefer it to be white so it doesn't detract from the sketch on the page(s) where it is visible.

I also found it didn't lay flat very easily. I needed to use a binder's clip to keep it open.

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