Review of the Clairefontaine Maritime Collection Travel Album Logbook #Exaclair #Giveaway #Clairefontaine

Exaclair, Inc. is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Clairefontaine products and I’m here today to review one of the products from their new Maritime Collection.

I’m also hosting a giveaway on my other Life Imitates Doodles blog!  Exaclair, Inc. has generously offered to give away one of these logbooks to three (that’s 3!) different winners.  (The Giveaway is closed).


Size: 8.25 x 5.75 (21 x 14,8 cm)

No. Page: 80 page/40 sheets–20 white, 20 black

Binding: Wire coil

Paper Weight: 90 g

Paper Finish: Smooth, satin

PH Neutral, acid-free

Look & Feel

When I started leafing through Exaclair, Inc.’s 2014 catalog, my eye was drawn to the Maritime Collection as soon as I saw it.

It’s going to be a personal preference for everyone, but I really like the maritime theme.  I’ve always been drawn to things nautical!

I was even more excited when I saw that the pages alternated black and white.  I don’t know why, but I like journals that have more than one color of paper. Something about the change back and forth makes me want to dig in and create!

Both papers are smooth.  The black is a thin cardstock, matte-black in color. The white is more flexible and lighter, but it has a hard, smooth texture to it like cardstock.

The lines on the white paper are a dark gray/green/brown–I can’t quite tell for sure.  They’re color coordinated to the colors on the cover, though, and dark enough to guide your writing, but not to interfere with reading.

The covers surprised me.  With similar Clairefontaine albums I’ve had, the cover has been a clear acetate with printing.  The covers on these logbooks are cardstock, similar to those you might find on notepads.  These are fine if you use the album around the house, but a little flimsy for carrying around.

The back does have the traditional extra thick board inside the main cover, so you have a sturdy support to help when you are writing on the go.

The wire coil is a coppery color that coordinates with the cover’s colors.  More importantly, the coils are large enough to allow expansion, if you decide to add photos or ephemera.


The black paper is, of course, limited by the darkness to media that is fluorescent, sparkly or glued on.  The white paper is a bit thinner, but will carry the weight of some ephemera glued to it.  I’d keep the heavier things like chipboard for the black paper, though.

Colors are bright, but not brilliant on this paper.  It’s slicker than most Clairefontaine papers though similar in hardness.  Drying times were better than I expected, with the ink drying around 10-20 seconds depending on the ink.

It’s very fountain pen friendly.  No feathering, no catching, no dimpling, show-through or bleed-through to the back while writing.  While drawing, the yellow Bouton d’or bled-through a little, probably because I was really saturating the paper.

Writing Example – on the white paper

The only thing I have to write with that would really show up, legibly, for reading on the black paper is Sakura’s Moonlight Gellyroll pens, and I decided I’d rather draw with those, so I only tested the writing on the white paper.

Acrylic paint and glued ephemera – on the white paper

I used metallic acrylic paint which I spread with a plastic knife to get texture.  I glued on the photo (my backyard) with PVA glue.  (And don’t ask why I cut jagged edges and bits from the photo and glued them at random on the page–it just seemed the thing to do).

The paper curled at the edges while I was painting, but flattened out when weighted down for a few hours.  There’s no distortion from the weight of the photo.  However, I did get energetic when scraping the paint across the page, and I did leave some minor dents that can be seen from the back.

I also moistened a paper towel with rubbing alcohol and scrubbed to lift the color so you could see the paper.  It worked fairly well, but I didn’t like it, so I added more paint to cover it up.  This did let me know that the paper can handle some wet scrubbing with no pilling or tearing.  I wouldn’t overdo this, though.

Acrylic paint and glued ephemera – on the black paper

I pretty much followed the same procedure as I did for the white paper.  There was very little curling and I didn’t get the dents from the knife.  This time, after using the alcohol, I left the black that showed through.

Sakura Gellyroll Pens – on the white paper

I used the whole range of Sakura Gellyroll pens for this drawing.  These particular gel pens have a very thick formulation, and will sit on top of the page, drying slightly raised.  I found the drying time quite long on this paper, and in fact, hours later I closed the book, and found the next day that dots of color had transferred to the next page. This is pretty common for Gellyrolls, so I wasn’t surprised.

I used several varieties and the color was good for all them.  It’s bright for the Classics and Moonlights and muted for the Shadows and Metallics.  This isn’t the best paper for this kind of pen–something more absorbent is better, but it isn’t bad.

Sakura Gellyroll Pens – on the black Paper

Well.  Black is made for fluorescent gel pen.  It just is.  There is something almost hypnotic about laying down trails of glistening, bright colors across a dark surface.  But not all gel pens work on black.  I used Sakura’s Moonlight Gellyrolls, which are about the best for this purpose.  Normally, they have a glimmer to them, but had more of a matte appearance on this paper.  This would be great for a chalkboard effect.

Sharpie Alcohol Markers – on the white paper

The white paper handled the Sharpie ink quite well–no feathering or pilling.  The colors are brighter than I normally expect from Sharpies.

Of course, there was show-through and bleed-through on the back.  I’d intended to do a bleedthrumanade (got lemons, make lemonade. got marker bleed-thru, make bleedthrumanade), but discovered I had inadvertently colored the back of my writing example.  Good thing I’d already scanned it!

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink- on the white paper

As I mentioned earlier, this paper is very fountain pen friendly.  The yellow Bouton D’or did bleed-through.  Just dots of it though, and that’s the color I used the heaviest.  I couldn’t get it to show up in a scan.

The paper curled a bit at the edges while I was drawing but evened out by the time I was finished.

Water-soluble Metallic Colored Pencils/Washi Tape/Mica chips – on the black paper

I lay down my Washi Tape, colored in with the colored pencil and then lifted the tape, moving it up and over to leave a black shadow.  Some papers will tear if you put tape down, and then lift it back up.  I tried a piece of masking and of scotch tape on another sheet and they didn’t tear either.

I also glued on Mica chips, thin sheets of plastic with mica in them, to add some glimmer.  It just looks dried on glue-on glue in the scan, unfortunately.

Watercolor (twinkling H20s), Acrylic Paint & Sharpie Alcohol Markers – on the white paper

I painted the whole page with the Twinkling H20 watercolors, and then glued down the photo.  I drew the streamers (and wish I hadn’t), then dribbled on metallic green acrylic paint around the picture.

The paper curled more severely than it did with any of the other mediums, which is to be expected.  Weighting it down for a few hours flattened it out, with only a few dimples remaining.  The texture of the paper changed a little, taking on a slight crunchy sound.

Watercolor (twinkling H20s) and molded Acrylic Paint – on the black paper

In my last post for Amazing Mold Putty and Frog Dog Studio I tried pouring interference gold acrylic paint into a mold.  Although, I ended up pulling the skin out of the mold before it was completely dry, it did work.

I painted the page with Twinkling H20 watercolors.  They do show against the black, but only in a certain light, and then, very faintly.

I glued the acrylic skin down, along with bits and pieces that had broken off.  Then I poured on some more of the same paint and smoothed it out around the photo.

There was no curling.  Some dried glue showed up, which hadn’t happened before, so I think it was because of the watercolor.  There is a slight dimpling on the back, so you can tell where the mold piece is.


I found this to be a fun, engaging travel album that could be used as photo album, a scrapbook or a mixed media journal.  I like the maritime theme and mix of pages.  If you aren’t fond of a maritime theme, you could easily customize the covers.

It’s reasonably light, and sturdy (though not as sturdy as some of Clairefontaine’s journals).  I’d limit the ‘wet’ media and heavier stuff, but the paper is strong enough to take lighter glued-on ephemera with plenty of room for expanding.  Now I just need to convince my husband to take me on a cruise so I can scrap and write about my adventures!

Clairefontaine also has notebooks, portfolios, gift bags and messenger bags in their Maritime Collection.

And, if you haven’t already popped on over, don’t forget to visits my other blog ( for a chance to win one of these wonderful Clairefontaine Maritime Collection Travel Album Logbooks.  (I do apologize, the giveaway is U.S. only).



One comment

  1. Julie (O-kami) · April 13, 2014

    Wonderful review! your art is inspiring I wish that I had your natural eye

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