Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Ciak Sketchbook’

I have been experimenting with a few illustrations done with Prismacolor Colored Pencils and I noticed that different paper yields slightly different results. The differences are most apparent in smooth blended areas of color, but there were a few other differences as well I thought worth noting.

Color blends were created on the paper in a Moleskine Sketchbook, Plain Notebook and Ciak Sketchbook.

Color blends were created in a Moleskine Storyboard Notebook, Plain Notebook and Ciak Sketchbook. The top of each blend was creating using heavy coverage and lots of pressure, while the bottom portion of the blends were created using light pressure.

The Tools
I used  four Prismacolor colored pencils in the red-orange tonal range to simulate a color blend you might have when illustrating things from nature such as berries or flowers. The notebooks I tested were the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook, Moleskine Plain Notebook and the Ciak Sketchbook. On each blend, I drew with lots of pressure at the top of the blend and with very little pressure at the bottom. I wanted to see how blends using different pressure would look.

Four colors were used to simulate a color blend you might find in nature.

Four colors were used to simulate a color blend you might find in nature.

The Moleskine paper in both journals was ivory in color and the Ciak Sketchbook was nearly white. The paper in the Moleskine Storyboard was the thickest, with the Ciak Sketchbook just slightly thinner. The Moleskine Plain notebook had the thinnest paper. Note: that the paper in the Storyboard Notebook appears to be the same as the paper in the Moleskine Sketchbook so I would expect similar results with Moleskine’s Sketchbook.

After creating the blends in each journal, the first difference I noticed was the color. The whiter, brighter Ciak paper yielded more intense color that overall appeared cleaner than the paper in either Moleskine notebook. I am assuming that the ivory color of the paper was the primary reason, but the Moleskine Plain notebook appeared the dullest of all. This really isn’t a problem because the Plain notebook is more of a writing tool than a sketchbook. The color is still good enough for most uses.

The next thing I noticed was the look of the blends. The paper in both Moleskine journals is coated, so the blends created with lots of pressure did not go down as nicely as the blends on the Ciak Sketchbook. Because the paper is smooth, the wax of the pencils tended to bunch up on the edges or where the colors overlapped and I even had a small amount of color flaking in the Storyboard Notebook in the densest areas of color. In the lighter portions of the blended areas, the difference was not so pronounced, but I did prefer the paper of the Ciak Sketchbook and Moleskine Plain notebook because both papers have a little bit of tooth for smoother, more consistent transitions. Note: Be careful when using lots of pressure with your colored pencils in the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook or Sketchbook. The strokes I drew with the most pressure actually developed a shine or a burnished look. This could be interesting as an artistic touch when done intentionally, but it wreaks havoc with smooths transitions.

The paper in the Ciak Sketchbook is bright white and has a little bit of tooth to it. I found I preferred it for smooth blends using the colored pencils.

The paper in the Ciak Sketchbook is bright white and has a little bit of tooth to it. I found I preferred it for smooth blends using the colored pencils. The colors appeared the brightest and the waxy pencils performed in a more predictable manner.

The paper of the Moleskine Sketchbook is thick, smooth and has a coating on the surface. While this is great for pens and even graphite, the slick surface is not ideal for waxy colored pencils. Areas of heavy coverage had a tendency to buch up and even flaked a bit where the color overlapped.

The ivory paper of the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook is thick, smooth and has a coating on the surface. While this is great for pens and even graphite, the slick surface is not ideal for waxy colored pencils. Areas of heavy coverage had a tendency to bunch up and even flaked a bit where the color overlapped. Edges where color faded completely tended to be coarser than those on the Ciak. The coating on the paper creates tiny, pale specks on the paper leaving areas where the pencil did not cover well, similar to the issue I had with the Moleskine Sketchbook in another review. These are hard to see in the photos but appear as tiny white pinholes in the color.

The Moleskine Plain notebook resulted in the dullest color, but I preferred the colored pencil blends to those done in the Moleksine Sketchbook because the paper has a slight tooth to it. The same pale specs appeared on this paper that were evident on the Moleskine Sketchbook. I think this might be due to a coating that is put on the paper.

The Moleskine Plain notebook resulted in the dullest color, but I preferred the texture of the colored pencil blends to those done in the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook because the paper has a slight tooth to it. The same pale specks appeared on this paper that were evident on the Moleskine Storyboard Notebook, but overall they are not too distracting.

Final Thoughts

While any of these journals are great for general sketching, I preferred the Ciak Sketchbook for using with colored pencils. The blends are smoother and it was easier to achieve more natural looking transitions. The paper is similar to what you would find in a traditional sketchpad and the paper is brighter, giving you cleaner, more accurate color.

Read Full Post »

Bright white, uncoated paper in the Ciak Sketchbook is perfect for pencil drawings, but how does it perform with a roll pen? Some journals have thin paper and suffer from ink bleed through unless you use the finest points, but I expect more from a sketchbook. I want a sketchbook that will work with a variety of mediums. I am an avid fan of Tombow’s roll pens and prefer them for quick ink sketches, so it is important to me to have a journal that can handle these pens with ease, without excessive bleed through.

I tested the paper in the Ciak Sketchbook using my TOmbow Ultra roll pen.

I tested the paper in the Ciak Sketchbook using my Tombow Ultra roll pen.

My Tombow Ultra roll pen laid down a very wet, permanent line on the Ciak paper. It dried quickly and was fairly crisp although not as crisp as the coated paper in the Moleskine Sketchbook. The paper’s surface was completely smooth and there were no skips or picks, so my line was consistent throughout the illustration. It was a pleasure to illustrate on this paper. Even though the line was wet, the back side of the paper showed minimal bleed through, only small dots of the heaviest areas showed through.

While you can see the the subtle image of the illustration through the back side of the paper, only the areas of coverage with the heaviest ink bled through.

While you can see the the subtle image of the illustration through the back side of the paper, only tiny areas with the heaviest ink coverage bled through.

The completed illustration has an interesting texture. Similar to an etching or engraving, the ink feels like it is sitting up on the paper vs. soaking into it, giving the illustration an added dimension. When you combine this with the contrast provided by crisp, white paper the end result is quite nice. I look forward to doing more of these.

Ink lines on the Ciak sketch paper are smooth and even.

Enlarged detail of ink lines on the Ciak sketch paper .

Ciak Sketchbooks have some unique features that make them ideal art journaling:

  • The soft cover is flexible, yet sturdy enough to use as a surface to work on
  • Several colors are available, so you are no longer limited to black, so you can use different colors for sketchbooks with different content
  • Cover customization is easy because of its slightly porous surface which accepts pens, markers and acrylic paint
  • You can keep a pen, pencil or brush handy by tucking it under the horizontal elastic strap
  • 145 leaves or 209 pages of acid-free paper, more than many popular sketchbooks and journals
  • Bright white, uncoated pages accepts a wide variety of mediums
  • Forgiving cover accepts abuse and can even repels water

If you are looking for a versatile sketchbook that can handle a variety of mediums, you will like using the Ciak Sketchboook. It is a stylish, competent contender that works well with pencil and ink and is worthy of a place on your art supply shelf.

Final illustration completed with a Tombow Ultra pen.

Final illustration completed with a Tombow Ultra pen.

Because of the way the ink rests on the paper, you can feel raised areas when you run your hand across the completed illustation.

Because of the way the ink rests on the paper, you can feel raised areas when you run your hand across the completed illustation.

Ciak journals and sketchbooks are available in a variety of colors.

Ciak journals and sketchbooks are available in a variety of colors.

Read Full Post »

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 used blocks of color created with Tombow Dual Brush Pens to test the papers ability to handle markers.

I used blocks of color created with Tombow's Dual Brush Pens to test the paper's ability to handle markers.

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.

After 2 layers of color, the backside of the page in the Ciak Sketchbook remained white with only a hint of color showing through.

Even after applying two layers of color with Tombow's Dual Brush Pens, the backside of the page in the Ciak Sketchbook remained white and without bleed through. Only a hint of color showing through.

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.

The darker triangles of color in each color blocks were created using multiple layers of color.

The darker triangles of color in each block were created using multiple layers of color.

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.

When I applied multiple layers and damaged the surface of the paper as shown in the left photo, the color did bleed through to the backside of the paper as shown on the photo on the right.

When I applied multiple layers and damaged the surface of the paper as shown in the left photo, the color did bleed through to the backside of the paper as shown on the photo on the right.

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.

Ciak Sketchbooks come in a variety of colors and can be found at www.journalingarts.com.

Ciak Sketchbooks come in a variety of colors and can be found at http://www.journalingarts.com.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: