Should You Ditch Your Moleskine for Moleskine Journal?

If you actually stop and think about it, the iPhone and iPad has replaced the need for, well, almost everything really. Books, music, photographs, games, satellite navigation… it is all there, packed inside a device as little as half the size of a paperback novel. But can an iPhone or iPad replace the humble Moleskine, an iconic notebook used by people like Vincent van Gogh and Ernest Hemingway since the 19th Century, with Moleskine Journal? Let’s find out!

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Enter the Library

Your digital Moleskine collection is kept on shelves in the Library, and can be viewed in spine or thumbnail form. Each journal is fully customisable and includes 20 pages as standard, although more can be added as you go along if you wish.

You Moleskine collection can be accessed from the Library.

You Moleskine collection can be accessed from the Library.

Moleskine Journal includes six different types of paper, namely Plain, Ruled, Squared, Weekly Planner, Storyboard, and Passion Recipe, which can be mixed and matched throughout each journal according to taste. I am impressed by how closely the paper, or indeed the entire app, resembles a physical Moleskine in appearance.

Art Supplies

Running along the top of the screen is a toolbar containing everything you need to design and create your next masterpiece. Included in the app is a paintbrush, pencil, rollerball pen, highlighter, scissors, text tool, and an eraser but, for me, every art supply found in the Artist Toolset aside from the eraser and text tool lacked in realism, which is a shame considering how lifelike the rest of the app is.

Included in the app is a paintbrush, pencil, rollerball pen, highlighter, scissors, text tool, and an eraser.

Included in the app is a paintbrush, pencil, rollerball pen, highlighter, scissors, text tool, and an eraser.

Each tool in the Artist Toolset can be adjusted in size, although the maximum width is still fairly narrow and not exactly fit for purpose. It would be nice to have a tighter control over the Artist Toolset, and the ability to customise every tool to your own specification.

Red, Yellow, Pink, and Green

Moleskine Journal is pre-loaded with nine colours, although more may be created by tapping the colour spectrum and adjusting the Value and Opacity slide to lighten or darken the shade, and modify its transparency. Each custom colour can be saved by dragging and dropping it into any one of the twelve swatch boxes situated on the left-hand side of the tab, and may be overwritten if necessary to free-up space.

Moleskine Journal is pre-loaded with nine colours, although more may be created by tapping the colour spectrum.

Moleskine Journal is pre-loaded with nine colours, although more may be created by tapping the colour spectrum.

I would like to see a wider variety of pre-loaded colours here as the choice is somewhat limited. Additional swatch boxes would not go amiss either, especially as there are only 12 in total which, as you can imagine, is not much to work with.

No More Mess

It wouldn’t be a Moleskine without an inner pocket to store your favourite text and images now, would it? Happily, the developer realised this, too, and included a pocket which can be accessed by tapping the portrait icon in the right-hand corner of the screen.

You can insert as many images as you'd like into your journal, along with text to complement your design.

You can insert as many images as you’d like into your journal, along with text to complement your design.

From here, you can insert as many images as you’d like into your journal, along with text to complement your design. Both images and text can be rotated on an angle by placing two fingers on the screen. This gives a scrapbook-style effect to your journal, with the only difference being that you can move and place a photograph as many times as you’d like — something which cannot be done with a physical scrapbook due to glue residue.

Like a Moleskine

As previously mentioned, Moleskine Journal closely resembles a physical Moleskine notebook in both appearance and functionality. It is clear that the developer has made a lot of effort to ensure that the app is as identical to a Moleskine as it possibly can be, and the attention to detail is fantastic. For example, scribbling across the hinge of the journal will result in a slight indent as it would in real life, and erasing a page marking leaves is still faintly visible depending on which tool used.

Moleskine Journal closely resembles a physical Moleskine notebook in both appearance and functionality.

Moleskine Journal closely resembles a physical Moleskine notebook in both appearance and functionality.

The app itself is simple to navigate and includes a tutorial when first launched, explaining how to get the most out of Moleskine Journal. Unfortunately, I did encounter a bug when re-visiting the app which replaced every single scribble I had erased on each page. Annoying — especially when the scribbles in question overlapped with the image or illustration I had been working on as they could not be removed without the use of the eraser tool which, naturally, ruined the finished page.

The Verdict

Moleskine Journal is a great alternative to a traditional Moleskine notebook, and a whole lot cheaper, too. However, digital drawing may not appeal to everyone so let us hope that this electronic journal does not actually replace the real thing.

Realistic art supplies would be a welcome addition to Moleskine Journal as this is the only element lacking in detail when compared to an actual Moleskine, and a wider variety of pre-loaded swatches is preferable, too. Hopefully, the developer will address these niggles, along with the bug that I encountered, soon.

Aside from this, Moleskine Journal is an excellent way to release your inner creativity without having to carry around an actual Moleskine notebook plus art supplies, although I do wonder what the likes of Pablo Picasso and Oscar Wilde would think if they were still alive today!


Summary

Like a Moleskine notebook, only digital.

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