Now that I've filled up half the sketchbook, I can review it properly. There are things that might be missed if I had only used a few pages and wrote the review. I take a long time to review sketchbooks because they need a long time to review.
Khadi Papers are from India and they are noted for their handmade paper, among other paper products.
Their sketchbook comes in different sizes:
- HB3 - 28 x 35cm
- HB4 - 21 x 25cm
- HB5L - 13 x 32cm
- HB5 - 13 x 16cm
Mine's the HB4 which measures 21 by 25cm. It opens to a wide 50cm which has twice the width for the height, great for panorama sketches, however you have to draw across the gutter. If you don't want to draw panorama across the gutter, there's the smaller HB5L which is 13 by 32cm.
Paper's 100% cotton, acid-free. As for the paper surface, there's ROUGH and SMOOTH (actually coldpress). Mine's the SMOOTH.
The cover is quite thick and is wrapped with some sort of horizontal striped paper. There are some paper fiber off from the cover. I actually kinda like it compared to the standard black cover sketchbooks that I have. However if you use it often enough, more paper fiber will come off from the cover, especially if you're drawing on a sweaty lap.
There's also the option for paperback. A hardcover is easier to use because there's a backing to draw on.
There are 80 pages in the sketchbook. Many places online list the number of pages incorrectly.
It's not a thick sketchbook because the paperweight is just 210gsm. They are mostly of the same thickness but some pages can feel thinner and some thicker.
Pages are deckle edge on one side and it looks nice. I've lost count of the number of people who commented about the deckle edge when they first saw the sketchbook.
The sketchbook opens flat which is great for drawing across the gutter, and also scanning. I've been using it for a few months and the stitching still holds up fine.
Sometimes, I do note that the watercolour from previous pages will seep through those stitching holes and affect other pages.
It is okay if the colours seep and affect coming pages because you have the option to sketch on single pages rather than across the gutter. However if the colour seep and affect previous pages, it would damage your earlier sketches. I find the binding tightness satisfactory. If you bind it too tight, it will be difficult to open flat. If it's too loose, then you'll have more paint seeping to other pages.
The paper is tub-sized with gelatin. I find the sizing to be inconsistent for some pages. In the picture above, the pages are from different sheets of paper and the watercolour appears different on them even though the same colour was used. The page on the right is not properly sized and has more white of the paper showing through.
Overall, the paper handles watercolour very well. It can take multiple layers of water with no problems. It absorbs water well and stay wet longer. This is great for those who like wet on wet techniques because the colours blend beautifully.
Paper may buckle slightly with heavy washes but if you close the sketchbook, the pages will be flatten again overnight.
The coldpress surface produces very nice granulation textures. There is no discernible pattern.
Another downside is sometimes the paper surface may have fiber sticking out. It will create unwanted effects when you use watercolour over it. So far, for half the sketchbook, I've seen two pages being affected.
It's important to a finger over the paper surface to check for those unwanted paper fiber before painting.
Overall, I really enjoyed using this sketchbook despite the downsides. Of course, the best is still a handmade sketchbook with your own choice of paper but that's more expensive.
It works well with pen and ink most of the time. There's one time on one page at the corner I had ink feathering, but that's probably because that portion wasn't sized properly. Oops, another downside.
I like that the paper is white and colours appear vibrant. It's mention elsewhere online that the paper is off-white, having a light cream shade, but I find it more white than creamy.
The sketchbook is priced reasonably in my opinion, from a range of £10 to £28 depending on size, for the number of pages. However, the overall cost will be higher because of the shipping. The sketchbook is from India and shipping cost makes up a significant portion to the total cost. I bought mine from Amazon and in total, I probably paid USD $40 with shipping. So that's like $1 for every two pages.
Anyway, this Khadi Papers sketchbook is near the top of my must-buy list when it comes to watercolour sketchbooks.
You can find them at http://khadi.com
Amazon sell them too, but only certain sizes. But you can check the availability with the links below.