Edited: You know, my mother did raise me better -- I completely forgot to thank either Kikkerland or Nifty at Notebook Stories for the giveaway and the chance to win a cool notebook. I would have appreciated it even if I hadn't won. And having won, I'm ecstatic. Thank you both!
Anyhoo - on with the review!
Look & Feel
No. Of Pages: 192 pages
Cover: Bonded Leather, Soft cover
Paper: White, Acid-free, white (I received the blank format, but it does come in other formats)
Size: 8.2 by 5.9 .6-inches
Binding: Thread-bound, opens flat
Extras: Black ribbon; Inside Back Pocket; 16 perforated-detachable plan half pages; IPad Mini fits in back pocket
In the photo above, I show the notebook with the promotional material still wrapped around the cover because it's hard to get a good shot of a plain black notebook. When I say plain, it means in an understated elegant way. The leather cover makes the book look more expensive than it is. The notebook is sized to allow an iPad Mini to fit in the back pocket, so it is a tad shorter and a little wider than many similar notebooks.
That cover is soft and flexible but not too thin. It feels very smooth and supple to the touch, though the eye can see the grain. There is some overhang, as the covers are slightly larger than the paper.
The book lies flat and has a sturdy thread-bound binding that allows you to fold the book backwards. The paper is a soft-white, thin and smooth.
The paper in the Writersblok is smooth and pleasant to write on. I was surprised to find that pencil worked reasonably well - the paper pulls enough graphite for you to get deep color, but it does smudge easily and probably wouldn't keep too well.
I found drying times to be about average - if the pen has a wide tip, or ink flows heavily be careful. Otherwise, you probably won't need to worry about smudging.
It isn't quite what I would call fountain-pen friendly, though it is certainly not the worst for those pens. I didn't have any feathering with the pens and inks I tried.
Various Gel and Ink Pens-Writing example
All of the pens I wrote with flowed smoothly with no scritching sound (though my hearing is going!). There was some slight show-through, especially with the heavy-flowing Energel ink, but I wouldn't hesitate to write on the back. I couldn't get the show-through to pick up on my scanner.
Kuretake Zig Water-Based Brush Pen, Clean Color Real
These Kuretake brush pens are water-based, and wet enough to be troublesome for many papers. I did get quite a bit of show-through, and some dots of bleed-through. I'd use the back, despite the show-through, but many wouldn't.
Various Fountain Pens and Inks
Based on my brush pen example, I really expected more bleed-through using fountain pens to draw with. As you can see from the scan of the back, the green Vert Empire was the worst, and it is the wettest, heaviest flowing ink I have. There was quite a bit of show-through but only dots of bleed-through for the other colors.
I really saturated the paper in this drawing. I would test any fountain pen/ink on the paper before doing much writing, but I you would be okay with some drier combinations. The 1670 Ocean Bleu and Rouge Hematite that I used were no worse than the writing pens.
Copic Alcohol Markers, Pigma Micron Pen and Sakura Moonlight Gel Pen
I expect alcohol markers to bleed through paper--it's just what they do, so I wasn't surprised that they did. The reason I like to test with them is because they tell me something about the way the paper takes color.
If you are very sensitive about show-through, then this won't be your favorite notebook, though it will be one of the better ones in the price range.
The Kikkerland Writersblok New York Notebook runs around $15, so it's a good book for those like leather, like decent paper, and an understated elegance that looks more expensive.