New Tangle Exinside, Review of the Daycraft MyTravel Notebook

One of my most treasured notebooks is my Daycraft Cookie Bookie, because of it’s so funky look, and rich orange pages. You can imagine my delight when I received a MyTravel Notebook from Shadow at Daycraft.

Not only did I receive a MyTravel Notebook, I received three MyTravel Notebooks, so I gave two faway!  Thank you so much Shadow.  As much as I love getting notebooks to review, I love giving them away even more!  There will be two winners, and I’m also including Pen & Ink fountain pens to go with the notebooks. Giveaway is now closed. The winner was Allycat.

Meanwhile, the review…


Size:123mm by 171mm (4.8 x 6.7 inches)

No. of Pages: 128

Layout: Squared

Paper Color: White 

Weight: 81.4 gsm (55 lb)

Grid-size: 12.7 x 12.7 mm (1/2 in by 1/2 in)

Cover: Double Cover–both thick cardboard

             Comes in three colors-Yellow map with Blue trim; Black map with Black trim; White map with Borwn trim.

Extras: Inside back cover pocket

             Elastic band

             Marker ribbon

             Chart numbering

             Double-cover.  Extra-thick cardboard.  The MyTravel notebook is designed to be extra-tough.

OrderingSomething I want to mention right off.  If you decide to check out the Daycraft catalog, the listed prices look scary to U.S. eyes–but those are Hong Kong dollars. The actual price differs daily according to the exchange rate of the day, but the Signature sketchbook I ordered was HK $89.00, which turned out to be  U.S. $11.78.  And even better?  Daycraft offers FREE International shipping!  Expected shipping time from Hong Kong to Oregon, USA is 15 days. 

The only hitch I had in ordering was that you are required to enter something in the 2nd address line.  I don’t have an apartment or block number, so I just put dashes.  I paid with Paypal, which gave me the price in U.S. dollars.

Look & Feel:
The book lies flat,but the pages have some spring.  If you carefully bend the book backwards you can reduce the spring and the pages won’t try to flip shut (this is true of most quality notebooks).

The extra cover flap is quite heavy and rigid, with a quote and a place to write your name on the inside.  It would be a travesty, but you could cut this cover off and still have a perfectly good looking and usable notebook.  The inside cover is lighter and flexible and would stand on it’s own.

The paper is white, with a slight grayish tinge, which makes it easier on the eyes than bright white.  

The grid-lines are a light green.  They might be too light for some people; others will like the fact that the lines tend to fade from notice once a page is finished.  The lines are also numbered along the left page and bottom.  There is no explanation on the site for the reason behind the numbers, but they would be great if you wish to draw charts or maps.  The squares are larger than most I’ve seen (for this size page, anyway).  While still a helpful guide for Zentangle®-inspired pattern work, they are a bit large to use as the base for a pattern itself.

The paper is very thin, but the cover is very thick so the overall weight of the book balances out.  It isn’t remarkably thin or remarkably heavy.  Even though the paper is very thin, it’s more opaque than you might suspect.  

The elastic band is different from most.  The ends are glued near the middle of the cover.  You slide the band over the top to the spine side while the notebook is in use, and to the open side to keep the book shut other times.  I like the look but it does create a small bulge inside the extra-cover.  Both cover and band are very sturdy, but there might eventually be wear or fraying at the insertion point.

The extra cover can be doubled back to give a sturdier rest when drawing.  It has the potential to flap down and unbalance the notebook if you are drawing in a standing position.  


Fountain Pen

I used Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses ink and a Pen and Ink fountain pen, medium fine nib, for color in this tangle, quite heavily in some areas.  Fountain pen ink is notorious for showing or bleeding through.  There was some show-through on the back, but I couldn’t get it to scan.  It was so faint that I don’t believe it would bother anyone.  The black was done with a Micron Pigma .03.

The show-through and bleed-through can vary according to the pen and the ink used.  I’m looking forward to some reviews by those use a variety of pens and inks.

Art Pen

I used a Micron Pigma pen .03 and .05 for this drawing.  The lines are crisp and bold,  It takes a few seconds to dry so you could smudge the ink if not careful.  Micron ink usually dries immediately, and doesn’t actually take long on this paper–just longer than usual.  There is no feathering or bleeding and very little show-through on the back.  

Alcohol Marker

Front of page                                                                                       Back of page

Given the the color of the paper I was expecting that the color of my alcohol markers would be a bit dull.  I was surprised to find it was quite bold, almost brilliant.  In retrospect, I should have known based on the bold of the Micron ink.  Bleed-through is close to 100%.

Wet Media

I’m going to show you the back of this page, done with Tim Holtz Distress Markers.  It’s a good example of dimpling.  When I used the water brush on the markers, the paper dimpled and the texture changed, becoming crackly, but not brittle.  It didn’t buckle–even though there was dimpling, there was almost no curl and the paper still hung straight.  There was no pilling of fibers (and that’s a problem I’ve had with the Distress markers in the past).

Now–here’s what the front looks like after I did some linework.  The dimpling is still there but a great deal of it flattened out. 

I wouldn’t recommend this notebook for watercolor sketches–and I don’t think many people would even think of using it that way because of the gridlines.  For art journaling, where different textures are a plus, ‘wet’ media would be fine.

Stamp pad ink

I used Adirondack Terra Cotta Stamp pad ink.  The images stamped clearly and cleanly with no bleed-through or show-through on the back.  While this would vary according to the colors and brands of stamp pad ink used, I wouldn’t hesitate to use this book for stamping.  (Viva Las Vegastamps! used-Elephant on bike, Item 2027 and Elephant Headstand, Item 4118)

It doesn’t happen to me very often, because I like to fill a page up, but after I added a little pen work this just said ‘Done!’ to me.  So, good or bad,  I left it as is. 

In conclusion:  The MyTravel notebook is sturdy, provides a clean, bold writing line, and it’s just plain funky.  The grid-lines are light and don’t interfere with the finished work.  While I can’t recommend it for wet media, it will hold up to most wet without pilling or curling.  I personally find the Kraft cardboard and map design appealing and the paper enjoyable to work with.  I’m very glad to have two of these notebooks to giveaway.

You can read more about the MyTravel Notebook in this Daycraft recent news article and if you don’t want to wait to see if you have won, you can order one now.

The Giveaway has ended!

The Prize: Two winners received a MyTravel notebook and a Pen & Ink fountain pen. (The MyTravel notebooks are a gracious gift from Daycraft.  The Fountain pens are a gift from me.)

The Rules: Here’s the thing.  I’m holding two giveaways.  One person will win on my Blogger blog, and one will win on my WordPress blog.  I’m using Rafflecopter on my Blogger blog.  It doesn’t work in WordPress, so we’ll do things the old-fashioned way here.  You must follow these instructions exactly or your comments will not count.

1. Leave a comment telling me what you like most about the MyTravel notebook.  Include an email or some way that I can contact you.  If you don’t want to leave contact information here, email me at LifeImitatesDoodles [at] Gmail [dot] com.  You must complete rule No. 1, or rules 2-5 will NOT count.

2. For a second entry, ‘Like’ this post, and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.

3. For a third entry, ‘Like’ my Facebook Fanpage at and leave me a separate comment telling me you did so.

(If you’ve already liked my fanpage, just say so in the comment).

4. For a fourth entry, share about this post on Facebook, and leave a separate comment with the Share URL in it.  You may come back and do this once a day for extra entries.

5. For a fifth entry, Tweet ‘Enter to win a Daycraft MyTravel notebook and Pen & Ink Fountain Pen at Life Imitates Doodles.’ and leave a separate comment with the URL of the tweet.  You may come back and do this once a day for extra entries.

Go for it!


  1. says….love this contest as the notebook would make a fantastic journal – sturdy enough to carry around and graph pages to capture tangle patterns! Love it! Thanks for a chance to win.

  2. I love the grids in this notebook. I have several notebooks I doodle and collage in, but not one with grids. I think this would be great for doodling. Great review Molossus 🙂

  3. Those look like great notebooks — I think the numbering on the grid lines might be kind of like the numbers/letters on map books. Either that, or latitude and longitude lines. I like the fact that it has the grid lines the best – enough structure to keep my sloppy writing neat, but not enough to overwhelm sketches. (Same reason I love dot grids!) arkadi_1 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

  4. Great reviews Sandra! I love the funky cover of the journals and i love the reasonable pricing and love free international shipping YOU DON”T SEE THAT OFTEN!

  5. Those covers are just gorgeous and grid paper is always good for me!
    Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  6. oh this is why it confused me… i thought you had both on rafflecopter 🙂 Travel notebook? hm interesting..

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