The Great Sketchbook Project Rip-Off
“Beware The Sketchbook Project Rip-Off!”

I’m feeling pretty pissed off this morning.

After writing previously [on a couple of occasions] about The Sketchbook Project and my mixed feelings about it, postie has just delivered my sketchbook for this year’s outing –and I’ve got to say that $25 for the tiny, sorry looking sub-school exercise book quality “sketchbook”, which tumbled out of the envelope, is a fucking joke.

I had some correspondence by email last year, with the organisers of The Sketchbook Project, with regards to their describing 2011’s sketchbooks as Moleskines, when they were patently nothing but cheap knock-off copies. I’ve owned several moleskines in my time and I know how to spot a real one! [in fact ASDA do a nice line in Moleskine-esque notebooks for about £1,99]. Anyway, in said email correspondence, the Sketchbook Project representative I dealt with refused to accept that what they were sending out were not genuine Moleskines, even when I pointed out several features that appear on real Moleskines, which were lacking in their fake ones.

So, it was with a slight feeling of reluctance that I entered this year’s Sketchbook Project. Having dealt with these people before and found them to be less than honest, I was loath to put any more of my money their way. But also being the lazy bastard I am, I know it takes something like this kind of project to get me motivated enough to actually fill a sketchbook  these days. So, last week I reluctantly ponied up my $25, noticing in passing that the project website no longer claimed to be sending out Moleskines [fake or otherwise] but…

Sketchbookers spoke and we listened! This year, Art House created a custom-designed sketchbook in collaboration with Scout Books featuring a host of improvements and a greener footprint.

This year’s official Sketchbook Project book is made from high quality 100% recycled paper milled in the Pacific Northwest, printed with vegetable-based inks and produced with renewable energy. We’ve also improved the weight and texture of the paper, enhanced the strength of the cover and selected wire saddle stitching so that each book is easier to rebind if necessary. We’re proud to say that these are the best books we’ve ever been able to offer for the Sketchbook Project – thanks to feedback from hundreds of members of the Art House community.

Well folks, here is the magnificent “custom-designed” sketchbook, “featuring a host of improvements”:

No. I havenae got giant hands. This postage-stamp sized object is apparently a “sketchbook”

Maybe I shouldnae complain about the anorexic dimensions too much. At least there shouldnae be much difficulty filling it!

And, if nothing else, at least the shoddiness of the “sketchbook” has already inspired me to put pen to paper.

Translations:

“…enhanced the strength of the cover…” - made it from recycled cornflakes boxes

“…selected wire saddle stitching...” - it’s got two staples holding it together.

I had a look on the Scoutbooks website [the people who make these all-singing, all-dancing “by user request” sketchbooks] and found the following:

hmmm… three of these crap-o-trons for about half the price of a single ‘real’ Moleskine

It’s great to see an organisation responding to customer demand in this way. Without regard for what it might cost them financially , The Sketchbook Project were quite prepared to charge their customers the same money this year for a sketchbook 23 the size and about 16 the price of the ones they [claimed to have] sent out last year.

You dinnae get customer sevice like that too often!

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