There’s been a flurry of reviews on Baron Fig’s latest Confidant, the Unfinish. When I received my review copy from Baron Fig, I decided to wait a bit for the early reviewer fog to lift before sharing my take on their latest creative notebook twist.
I have to admit I was not a fan of the Askew. I blame years and years of journaling using rule pages as setting an almost religious association in my mind between journals and straight, ruled lines. After all, to me, journals are meant for serious thoughts, not playtime. So when the chaos appeared between the covers of an Askew, I knew I’d never use one. Enter their second artistic twist in Unfinish, and I have a different feel for this one.
The numerous, faint, unfinished illustrations on many (not all) pages of Unfinish don’t bother me and they’re light enough for users to write through them. But then, you would not “have fun” as Baron Fig implores in the embossed slug on the back cover if you simply ignored them and wrote through.
Full specs are below, but let’s take a quick tour of Unfinish. It starts with the box and oh my, what a box! I love journals in boxes since it leaves me with a fun extra that’s useful long after the journal fills up. In this case, the blue box matching the pretty blue linen of Unfinish covers shows a spaceman in ghostly white and space thematic icons and little illustrations in a varnish hit that shows only when you tilt the box. A really nice effect that brings a smile to your face when you discover it’s there.
Opening the box there’s a loose sheet with a headless horse with a message on the reverse side to guide you through using the book: give the horse a head or don’t and use it as a notebook…but above all, “…go have fun.” And that’s the essence of this book: it’s a playful journey through the journal sketching to complete the unfinished illustrations or write through it as a notebook (or draw through as a sketchbook).
With any journal these days, once you’re past the aesthetics it all comes down to the paper: how does it write? Unfinish continues Baron Fig’s growing reputation for providing quality paper in their journals and Unfinish comes through as paper that’s quite good with fountain pen and graphite alike. Although my fountain pen test did well, for my personal preference there’s a bit more feedback from the nibs than I like, but the ink lays down very well with no feathering and show-through only when forced with excessive ink lay-down. I wouldn’t hesitate using my pens in it at all, but I’d still prefer my current go-to paper for my pens (Rhodia’s Heritage notebooks with Clairfontane paper). Of course, points go to Unfinish for providing the whimsical discovery in turning each page to see what new illustration needs a bit to finish. The blank paper can be used with guide sheets behind as well, for those who don’t like writing on lineless pages.
Graphite feels great on this paper with just a tiny bit of smearing, but since my pencil of choice tends to be a Blackwing, they are prone to smear on a lot of papers. The smearing here only shows up on the really heavy lay-downs, as the photos show.
In my testing, graphite did not have nearly the amount of feedback as I got with my pens, but was a very nice and smooth feeling.
My closing thoughts are that this is a fun journal that provides just enough whimsy to keep you from getting too serious and does indeed encourage you to have fun! Die-hard journalers probably won’t find this as useful as infrequent journalers, but it does appeal to doodlers who also like to write. As Baron Fig states inside the back cover, “You’re only as good as your last doodle.” Words to have fun by, for sure.
- Box and cover in non-repro blue
- 5.4″ x 7.7″
- 192 blank pages, 12 of them perforated (at the back)
- 90 gsm acid-free paper
- Page illustrations in non-repro blue
I received Unfinish from Baron Fig with no expectations on their part for a positive review. My comments and thoughts reflect my time spent playing with the journal, and were not influenced by receiving this product for review.