Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Review of the Daycraft bRead Notebook

Last week I ran a giveaway (now closed) for two of the new bRead notebook from Daycraft.  I had just received the package and wanted to have the giveaway as soon as possible because of the holidays.  That didn't give me time to do a very thorough review, so I thought I'd write one up now, even though the giveaway is over.



There are three versions of the bRead notebook, White, Wheat and Whole Wheat.  I kept the Whole Wheat for myself, and all the examples below were done in that book.

The only real difference between the three is in the cover, each being a different color, with a slight  difference in the look of the texture.  The edging on the outside is different

White bRead edging



Wheat bRead edging



Whole Wheat bRead edging



 All three covers are pebbly to the touch and all three have the same cream colored paper inside.


Look & Feel

Specs
Size: 120 x 120 mm (approx 4 2/3 x 4 2/3 inches)
Cover: Softcover
Paper color: Cream with brown-gray lines
Weight: 100 gsm (approx 67 lb)
Binding: Sewn
No of Pages: 296
Line Ruling: 5.5 mm
Inkjet printed edges

Daycraft makes the cutest notebooks!  Usually, I associate cute with poor quality notebooks, but with Daycraft I've found I can have my cute and enjoy quality too.

While the cover might be too cute for some, the paper inside is an elegant cream color with gray-brown lines that are easy to see, but easy on the eyes. It's smooth without being slick, fairly hard and crisp to the touch.  The paper is thin but substantial.

At almost 300 pages, the book has some heft, feeling solid in the hand, but not overly heavy.  While the cover and binding would hold up to being carried in purse or briefcase, I think the paper would crease and dent easily.  An elastic band would have helped, but I can see why they didn't add one because it would have taken away from the sliced bread look.  Maybe one that resembled a wire tie?

The binding allows the books to lie flat, but it's so thick that eventually the slope causes some spring in the paper.  But even toward the middle where the pages are thickest, it lies flat.  Surprisingly, the book folds back rather well, without creasing the spine very much.



Performance

Writing


The bRead notebook has a nice paper to write on.  I had no smearing and found the drying times to be reasonable.  There was no feathering, not even with the fountain pen inks.

The paper isn't bad for fountain pen ink.  Show-through is minimal, and I had no bleed-through except where I deliberately let my pen sit for a few seconds.  It was with the Rouge Hematite, and if you look close, you can see the red spot (the slight dark mark about midway is something stuck on my scanner).


Even the alcohol marker only had about 50% show-through, and I was using a brand new nice and juicy Tria.  There was no feathering or smearing with this marker, with regular writing speed.

Drawing with Fountain Pen Inks


While there is no feathering while drawing with fountain pen ink, the heavy application of wet on wet ink did result in more show-through, and quite a bit of bleed-through.  There was no pilling of the paper or tearing.  You can feel a slight embossed effect from the fine-point nib, but it doesn't show, and there was no dimpling.

I did find that the printed ink used for the ruling is slightly resistant to the fountain pen inks, leaving faint white lines across the page.  The eye still tends to ignore them in the finished work, but they are more noticeable than I've found in other ruled notebooks.



Colored with Dye-based Ink sprays (wet medium)



I used Dylusions spray inks for the background of this drawing, and did the linework with gel ink pens.  The spray inks are highly saturated and very wet, so I wasn't surprised that the bleed-through was almost 100% in some areas.

The paper held up well to the wetness though.  There was only the slightest curl at the corners, and no dimpling to speak of.  The texture of the paper softened, just a little, rather than becoming crisp and crinkly as most thin papers do.

The line resistance wasn't a problem this time, and they are very difficult to see unless you look very closely (they show up more in the scan than they do in real life).


Painted with Acrylic Paint and Glued Ephemera (Mixed Media)


I was interested to find out how this paper would do for mixed media, so I covered the page with Montana Markers (water-based Acrylic paint markers) for a base, glued on some paper ephemera using Polymer medium, and then did linework with Moonlight gel pens.

There was almost no curl or dimpling, and no show-through or bleed-through.  The page became a bit heavier and stiffer, which you would expect with paint and glue.  Overall, this paper handled the mediums very well.

Drawing with Gel Ink Pens

Truthfully, this drawing doesn't really test the paper anymore than the work I'd already done--I was just having too much fun to stop!


Overall

Yes.  The bRead notebook is another cute notebook.  It is also surprisingly sturdy and versatile.  I've had more fountain pen friendly paper, but not by much.  I'd recommend it for mixed media, if it weren't for the number of pages, which would make adding items cumbersome.  I suppose you could tear pages out, but I don't think they would tear easily.  What a cool, chunky book this would make though!

The resistance to ink that the ruling showed might be a problem if you wanted to sketch in this book, and possibly for those that write large enough to span lines.  It is faint, and wouldn't bother most.

The bRead goes toward the top of my list of favorites, right next to the Cookie Bookie!


Daycraft bRead notebooks, and a wide selection of both fun, and elegant journals, planners and sketchbooks can be ordered from their online site.

Of Note
By default on the site, prices are listed in Hong Kong Dollars.  At the top of the screen, you can change to the prices to U.S. dollars by hitting the HKS arrow in the upper right and selecting USD$.



DISCLOSURE: Other than the three Daycraft bRead notebooks, I did not receive any compensation from Daycraft.  They did not ask me to have a giveaway or do a review, and all opinions are my own.  

I want to thank Daycraft for sending me these fantastic items.  It is always a pleasure to review their products!