It is not a secret that I love art journals and can never have enough. So in this series I am reviewing all the art journals that I have used over the years. Some are firm favourites that I buy again and again, some have their quirks and some are straight up don’t-buys. Keep reading to find out more about:
The Dylusions Journal by Ranger
This is the journal developed by Dyan Reaveley from Dylusions and is said to be specifically suitable for using the Dylusions spray inks with. I bought the large size a while back to do some Life Book lessons in, and more recently bought the smaller one as it fits nicely in my handbag and was also on the supply list for Art Journal Summer School.
Look & Feel
This is a very pretty art journal. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the design. I love the brown cover and the way it has an elastic strap to keep it closed. It also has an envelope inside to keep small bits in.
The cover is separate from the ‘notebook’ that is actually glued inside. This means that you can open the journal flat rather than having to bend the spine. In the big version of the art journal I’ve had some issues with the binding with the area of paper near the spine getting quite weak (& tearing) when the paper is wet. There is bleeding through to other pages if you use wet media near the spine.
The large version comes with two types of paper (the signatures alternate between the different paper types): manila cardstock and matte white heavy cardstock. The smaller journal has the white cardstock throughout. The paper is nice and smooth. When turning the pages you get a feeling they are quite thin. I like to work with a lot of wet & heavy media and I don’t feel the paper is quite a match for that. Especially in the bigger journal the pages are prone to tearing near the spine if you use wet media. The paper is also prone to pilling if you don’t use a layer of gesso or acrylics beforehand.
This journal is fairly unique in that it has good availability both in the US and the UK. Hurrah!
The price is reasonable but not cheap. I feel like you’re paying over the odds to get a nice design and the Ranger/Dylusions brand name, but the overall quality could be better. The smaller journal feels worth it to me, but the bigger journal is expensive. If you’re in the UK and looking for an A4 journal I’d spend the extra £8 to get a Roberson’s Sketchbook instead.
The elastic band is prone to snapping. This has happened to my big journal and I’ve heard a lot of people mention the same thing. It’s not a big deal, but it does feel like a design flaw seeing as it seems to happen to a high percentage of journals. If you’re a very heavy mixed/wet media user then this might not be the journal for you due to the paper not really holding up to it. For more light mixed media use this is a good journal, and the paper does make the Dylusions inks look nice and bright. I’d rate the big journal slightly lower (more like a 6.5/10) and I won’t be getting another one of those. I will most likely get the small journal again.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have reviewed. This post contains affiliate links to art courses that I recommend.
If you’ve used the journals yourself and would like to share your opinion please do leave a comment below!