Review of the Clairefontaine Crok’ Book Sketchbook

I've rushed this review a bit, because there is currently a giveaway on the Rhodia Drive Blog and you have a chance to win a Crok’ Book of your own.  There will be 20 winners! (Giveaway ends on June 9th, 2013).

I'm not involved in that giveaway, but  yesterday I received a couple of Crok’ Books so I thought I'd give you the chance to see exactly what you might be winning.

Put simply, the Crok’ Book is 24 sheets of high quality, staple-bound paper with a 270 gsm  cardstock cover.  No bookmarks, cover sheets, or envelopes.

It comes in several colors and four sizes, 6.75 x 8.75 (17 x 3.4 cm); 8 x 12 (3.1 x 4.7 cm ); and 12 x 17 (4.7 x 6.7).  I received the landscape version 6.75" x 4.25" (17 x 11 cm).

The paper is 90 gsm, thin but sturdy.  It's smooth but not glossy.  It's also Clairefontaine paper, so you know it's good!

The front is embossed with the words Crok’ Book and Clairefontaine.  The back has the Clairefontaine logo embossed on it. The stock is very smooth and I love the tactile feel of it. I hold my books at a 45 degree angle when I sketch and I found myself running my fingers over the embossed edge because it just felt nice.  Unfortunately, the cover also picks up the oils from your fingers, so it already has smudges that show in certain lights.

I'm not too worried about that--this cover begs to be customized.  You'll be seeing some gel pen work on it soon.

The book lies flat, is easily folded back and is very light to carry.

Since I wanted to post my review as soon as possible I only did two drawings.

The first was done with a J. Herbin Stylo Roller ball pen filled with J. Herbin Vert Empire ink (I'll be doing a review on this soon).

This ink and pen combination is surprisingly wet, almost fountain pen-like, so I wasn't surprised to see a few spots of bleed through where I really saturated the page.  Show through wasn't bad but might bother some.

Bleed through shouldn't be an issue with writing unless you pause and leave the pen in one place for a while.  The spotting was minimal, and I won't hesitate to draw on the other side.  

I decided to use a fountain pen for the second drawing and went with my Lamy Safari (medium  nib) and Diamine Chocolate Brown.  Neither the pen or ink is very wet and I didn't expect any bleed through and I didn't get any.  Show through was about the same.  

There was no feathering or skipping with either pen.  As with most Fountain-Pen-friendly papers, drying time is a bit slow, so you'll need to take care not to smudge.

The  Clairefontaine Crok’ sketchbook is a delight to draw in with pen and ink.  I'll do some color pencil and watercolor in the near future, but I suspect they will work well.

The lightness and size make this a fantastic book to slip into purses, briefcases or folders to carry around.  From the look of it, you might worry that it will crease and bend too easily, and it might with truly rough handling.  But it's sturdy enough to withstand more than you might think at first glance.

It's a fun sketchbook designed for easy transportation, but high quality results!

Intrigued?  Well, if you haven't entered for a chance to win, head over to  the Rhodia Drive Blog.  If you don't want to wait to see if you won, I'll direct you to the 'Where to Buy' page at the Exaclair site.  You can look for both online and brick'n'mortar stores in the U.S. that carry Clairefontaine and other Exaclair brands.  

Other Reviews:
Fountain Pen Network
The Well-Appointed Desk
Tyler Dahl Fountain Pens