I love Daycraft’s specialty notebooks such as those found in the Animal Pal line-up. Recently, they’ve put out two limited editions, inspired by a new Hong Kong movie, Aberdeen (the movie looks interesting. I hope I get the chance to see it one of these days).
I’m giving away one of these notebooks at my other blog. (If you have any problems entering the giveaway, email me at LifeImitatesDoodles [at] gmail [dot] com).
Last week I asked people to vote for the one I should give away, and the overwhelming majority voted for the WHALE! You can find more information about the giveaway at the bottom of this review.
Except for the color and the face, these notebooks are identical. I’ve done all my examples in the Greenie, but the paper, specifications and performance will be the same.
No. Pages: 128
Size: not quite A6 (106x150mm / 5.8 x 4.1 in)
Page color: Cream with gray-brown lines
Paper weight: 100 gsm/67.56 lbs.
Cover: Fine Italian PU cover
Layout: 6.5 mm Ruled
Extras: Back pocket, Color co-ordinated ribbon, Aberdeen Movie postcards
Look & Feel
The cover of the these notebooks are adorable. That will be a draw for some, but they will definitely be too cutesy for some.
The covers have a soft leather-like feel that I find very pleasant to the touch. It is also a surface that can pick up oils and get nick and creases. My past experience with similar covers has been one with a few stains and scratches. However, I’m not the neatest person in the world. I carry the notebooks loose in my purse and work with all sorts of splashy, sticky media. Considering that, I’ve had notebook covers that fared far worse. With some care, your covers will continue to look good.
The notebook is too large for most pockets, but might fit in some coat pockets and purses. It’s fairly light so it’s good to take on your travels (keeping in mind, you might scratch the cover).
The color and design go across the spine and onto the back of the notebook. The word Daycraft is printed in the lower left corner, and the movie title ‘Aberdeen’ is printed in both Chinese and English..
The paper is on the thinner side of standard notebook paper. It has a hard, smooth surface. The color is cream with four watermark patterns of a darker cream that are repeated throughout the notebook. They’re very light and shouldn’t interfere with writing or reading, though some may find them annoying.
The lines are a grayish-brown. I know some like their lines very light, and these lines might be too dark for them, but I think they are middle-ground. Dark enough, even for those with weak vision, without being obtrusive when you are reading what has been written.
The binding has even stitches, and it’s sturdy and flexible enough to allow the book to lie flat, and to let you fold the book back completely. It allows little to no expansion room, so this wouldn’t be a good notebook for gluing ephemera, or using chunky media.
The notebooks have the standard ‘extras’, a back pocket and color coordinated ribbons.
There are also three promotional postcards from the movie ‘Aberdeen’, connected to make one scene.
Writing Example-Fountain pen
The paper does well with fountain pens. (It’s always best to test because fountain pen inks and pens differ so much, but I had no feathering, moderate show-through and minimal bleed-through with mine. Drying times were about average. I’d say it was fountain pen friendly, though on the lower end of the scale. More for the casual fountain pen user (is there such a thing?) than the collector.
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Drawing Example-Fountain pen
You can see the amount of bleed-through better with this drawing example. I still didn’t saturate as heavily as I usually do (wrist problems, still) but you can see the bleed-through occurs mostly where layers are worked, usually wet ink into wet ink. You’ll see more about the ‘wet’ aspect in my wet media example.
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Drawing Example-Black rollergel pen
This paper is very nice for linework, whether with fountain pens or a rollergel like the Energel. I switched to my non-dominant hand for this drawing, so any jaggedness is me, not the paper.
But the reason I kept it simple was to see how much the lines would show. While the lines do tend to fade from notice with the busier color drawing above, they are much more noticeable with a simpler line drawing.
There was a little show-through towards the bottom where I drew the dark trees. It wasn’t bad.
I would draw on this paper without hesitation, but then I draw on everything. Mileage will definitely vary from person to person.
Drawing Example-Alcohol Marker
Colors are bright but not brilliant. I did saturate some areas, since it is easy to do with a alchohol marker (I used Sharpie brush tips). There was no pilling or feathering. Bleed-through was expected and it was about 50%.
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Drawing Example-Watercolor marker
For my ‘wet’ experiment, I decided to use the Kuretake Clean & Clear Real brushes I’ve been playing with. Part of the drawing I did straight from the pen. In a couple of places (I’ll let you guess where), I put water down first and then used the pens.
Where I added the water first, really wet the page, bleed-through was about about 75%. Subsequent layers of color added after the first was dry, did not bleed-through. Where I blended the color from the pen, later, with water there were tiny spots of bleed-through. Show-through was minimal.
There was no curling, though I think there would have been some if I’d wetted down the corners more thoroughly. Dimpling occurred in the wettest areas, but not as badly as I’d expected.
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If you want a notebook with whimsy, the Daycraft Greenie or Whale may be the notebook for you. They’re light and sturdy and small enough to fit in some coat pockets and purses, though the cover might pick up spots or scratches, if you aren’t careful. They’re well-made and just as cute as a button, too.
The paper is above standard, okay with fountain pens, and good with other types of pens. Show-through is minimal to moderate with most media. The wetter the media, the more chance of bleed-through.
The watermark animal shapes and the darkness of the lines will meet with approval by some, but not others.
I’ll be using mine to draw in, but I suspect that most people will use theirs to write.
Daycraft has a wide selection of notebooks, planners, sketchbooks and accessories, including other Animal Pals!
By default on the site, prices are listed in Hong Kong Dollars. At the top of the screen, you can change the prices to U.S. dollars by hitting the HKS arrow in the upper right and selecting USD$. If you live in another country, you’ll need to google the conversion rate.
DISCLOSURE: Daycraft sent me these two Animal Pal notebooks to review. I did not receive any other compensation. Daycraft did not ask me to have a giveaway and all opinions expressed here are my own.
I want to thank Daycraft for sending me these fantastic items. It is always a pleasure to review their products!