Moleskine vs. Leuchtturm1917 Review and Comparison

I’m an avid lover of sketchbooks. I love trying them out and seeing what I can do with them in terms of supplies I can use with them without destroying pages. I’ve been trying out different types of sketchbooks for years and I’ve always wanted to write about them, so I’m finally making some time to do that!

I was going to make this one big post including a few different types of sketchbooks I keep coming back to but there was too much material to put into one post, so I decided to focus on these notebooks for now. I have not tried out the Leuchtturm1917 Sketchbook, just the notebook. I’ve used both the sketchbook and notebook versions for Moleskine so they will be featured here as well! 

First off I want to talk about size. Both types of notebooks come in a variety of sizes but I was trying out using a more mobile notebook which I could take with me in my purse and take out whenever I wanted to draw. Pictured here is the paperback Large Moleskine notebook and the Medium Hardcover Leuchtturm notebook. The reason I use the notebook versions is because I like having more pages. The sketchbook versions, though they have sturdier and thicker pages, there are fewer of them. They both have the elastic band around them to keep them closed. I wish they still made the hardcover version of the extra large notebook for Moleskine because i love the sturdy feel of it, but I can’t find them anymore!

The quality of the pages for the notebooks are both pretty good, but I love the feel of the Leuchtturm more because it just feels more luxurious~ The pages are all numbered and it has two bookmarks in comparison to just the one for Moleskine notebooks. 

I wanted to make my Leuchtturm more of a ~colored~ sketchbook and create more complete pieces to try and get used to it. At first this worked out great because I was just using Prismacolor Colored Pencils. Though they worked pretty well, I did notice that it smudged a lot with the pen I usually use to ink that hasn't smudged before, which I found odd. I started using Copics and water based markers and the leakage to the other pages was just extreme. To be fair, it’s very hard to find any paper that won’t let Copics bleed through, but I learned the hard way that any pencil sketches on the other side of the pages would pretty much be ruined. I had to sketch very lightly on my pages because they would create marks on the pages underneath them which is something that I found the Moleskine pages don’t do as much. I started using the pencil board that I ordered with my Hobonichi and that helped.

I’ve been using a Moleskine notebook as my main sketchbook ever since I found Myrollingstar on Tumblr years ago and saw that’s what she used. I learned to sketch better with pens and actively use more tools with my sketches in this notebook. I’ve found that the paper holds up pretty well compared to the Leuchtturm notebook. Now, I’m using the extra-large notebook here but you can see the size is pretty similar to the Leuchtturm. I love having that extra space, but I wouldn’t call this a purse-friendly sketchbook. It’s not as large as 8.5x11 but it isn’t exactly a convenient size to carry around like the Leuchtturm. I’ve made my peace with this mostly because of how I feel when I sketch with it. I brought this sketchbook with me to work every day to try and squeeze in some sketching when I could and it is awesome for a work or school bag. I found that it doesn’t get lost as easily and it does feel very nice to sketch in.

Colors work really well with this notebook. I’ve used Copics and water based markers combined with watercolor and I’ve found some minimal bleeding. It’s definitely not as bad as it was with the Leuchtturm. I’m guilty of a lot of layering with color on my pages so I need something that can take a beating and my Moleskine definitely does that. I found that the pages in the Leuchtturm started to peel and come off when I applied a second layer or when I erased pencil marks while inking. In the end it wasn’t so much the size but the paper quality that got me to stick with the Moleskine notebook as a main sketchbook. I do occasionally use the Leuchtturm as a “pencil sketch only” sketchbook, but not as often anymore.


The Moleskine sketchbook, on the other hand, yielded some unexpected results with me. Though the pages are sturdier to draw on, they fall apart quite easily. They fall away from the binding and with two of my sketchbooks a lot of the pages are held in there by the elastic around the notebook. Also despite the thickness of the pages, the colors bled through quite a lot! I found that I had a lot of wasted pages in my Moleskine sketchbooks and I hated it! It already didn’t come with many pages and the colors were making it hard to get much of any pencil sketches. Drawing with Copics in it was nice and the colors came out very vibrant, which I loved, but the wasted pages just turned me off from it. 


Out of the three books I mentioned here, my favorite is definitely the Moleskine Notebook in Extra Large. I love the space, the paper quality and the feel of the notebook. I was very inspired to continue sketching in it and try out new things without worrying about destroying too many pages in the book. I actually have a brand new one sitting in my book shelf that I have waiting for me when I finish the one I’m currently on!

I hope this helped some of you in terms of figuring out which sketchbook is the right one for you! Though I love the Moleskine Notebook, it is not the sketchbook I reach for the most, lately. I look forward to covering that in a future entry!