The Ciak Sketchbook has a heavy, white, uncoated paper that is fairly smooth with just a little bit of tooth. There are no coatings on the paper like you would find on the Moleskine Sketchbook, so I was a bit concerned about how well the paper would perform using water-based markers. Would they bleed through, feather or dimple the paper?
I created a grid of color blocks using Tombow’s Watercolor Dual Brush Pens. I sketched each block with its own color and allowed the first layer of color to dry before applying a subsequent layer. I was careful with this layer and applied just enough to completely color the paper. The color went down smoothly, without bleeding or feathering and I was able to achieve crisp lines and edges. The colors were pure and clean and there was no muddiness. Upon checking the backside of the page to see if I had any bleed through, I was pleased to discover the paper was still white with only a slight hint of colors showing through on the other side. This appeared to be due to a translucence in the paper and was most obvious on the red tones.
Once the first layer dried, I painted a second layer in the lower right corners of the squares. The second layers appear as dark triangles of color in the lower right side of each color block. Again, I was careful to add just enough to darken the color, and I did not abrade the paper or overly saturate the area. A second check at the backside of the paper revealed the paper was still in good shape. The second layer did not bleed through.
On some of the color blocks, I applied a third layer of color in the squares using a different color, as I would do when creating a marker illustration. As long as I did not rub the paper too hard, there was no bleed through and the backside of the paper remained unchanged. However, when I applied the marker with a heavy hand, saturating the area and making it very wet, I broke through the surface of the paper and the backside of the page showed some bleed through as seen in the photo below.
The verdict: the Ciak Sketchbook is an excellent choice for using with your water-based markers. You get bright colors, crisp lines and the paper is thick enough to prevent most bleed through as long as you keep your color layers light. By allowing your layers to dry before applying the next, you will find that you can apply multiple layers without bleed through and the paper will stay fairly flat. If you prefer to work with heavy coverage and lots of wet areas, you will most likely have bleed through on the backside and you may even find your paper cupping somewhat. For more information on the Ciak Sketchbooks or to order, visit this link: www.journalingarts.com.