Review-Denik Layflat Notebook

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    Sandra Strait

    Not a watercolor supply, but I just reviewed a notebook that would be great for sketching and value studies.  Since the season of giving is around the corner, I decided to go ahead and post here. You can find the complete review here.

    I recently won a Denik notebook and decided to review it.  Denik is a company with a cause.  A portion of the proceeds go directly to building schools and to support the artist that designed it. Learn more about their mission, and the artists who design the covers, here.

    SPECS: Size: 5.25 x 8.25; No. of Pages: 144 pages/72 sheets; Paper: 100 gsm text, white, blank; Cover: 250 gsm Soft touch laminated cover stock with Artwork by Liesl Cannon.  Learn more about the artist hereBinding: Smythe-Sewn and glued, layflat, special glue resists cold and heat; Price: $9.99 USD

    Look & Feel

    I received the Denik Softcover Layflat notebook with cover artwork by Leisl Cannon.  Her beautiful mountain painting is on both the front and back cover.  The front has nothing but the painting and the artist’s signature.  The back has the Denik logo, statement, and social media information, as well as the name of the artist and @ information.

    The soft touch cover is pleasant to the touch.  It is a little slick which might be an issue while carrying the book around, if you are as klutzy as I am.  The covers are rounded and lie flush to the pages.

    The inside covers have further information about Denik’s mission.

    The paper is white and smooth, but not slick.  Except for the first two pages in the very front and the very back, all the pages lie flat  My scan makes it look like there is a slope, but there isn’t, even in the middle.

    The binding is a Smyth-sewn block glued into the cover (which is why the first and last two pages don’t lie flat).

    You can fold the book pages back so it can be held in one hand while you are writing or drawing.


    As you may know, I like to test my paper to the point of destruction.  I hit that almost immediately with this notebook.  When I used a fountain pen to write, I had no feathering or bleed-through, but when I drew circles, layering wet ink on wet, the paper started pilling.  The ink bled through to the back and onto the page beneath.

    Front of page                                                                                                                                               Back of page

    It doesn’t show too well with the scan, but I also had bleed-through with the technical pen and colored fineliner, though it wasn’t as bad.  Surprisingly, the brush pen, with a much heavier, bolder line but drier ink was the only medium with show-through, but it no bleed-through.

    The ballpoint pen debossed the paper when I drew the circle, but not while writing.  In fact, none of the problems occurred while I was writing, except for the brush pen showing through.

    It seemed to me that the issue had to do with how wet the ink/dye/paint was and whether you were adding wet ink on top of wet.  With that in mind, I used the same technical pen that had bled through in my first test to draw my next test.

    I moved around, coming back to work on areas that I wanted darker, after giving the ink at least 2-3 minutes to dry.  As a result, I had no bleed-through or show-through from this drawing.

    Next, I used colored pencils on a brush pen drawing I had done earlier.  The paper was a bit smooth for it, but did allow me to lay down 3 or 4 layers before reaching a burnished stage.


    The Denik Layflat Notebook has a beautiful cover, one of many being sold, and part of its purchase goes to build schools and to support the cover artist.  The soft touch cover is pleasant to the touch but a little slick.  The binding is sturdy with a glue that resists cold and hot temperatures.  The notebook lies completely flat.

    The paper is middle of the road, good for pens and pencil.  It will pill or bleed-through with medium levels of saturation, so you might want to test what you use before using it very much. Darker inks may show through on the back.  Despite this, most mediums will work without feathering or bleeding through while writing.



    Thanks for the review… not for me, but for sketchers maybe?

    Sandra Strait

    Thank you, Kate.  I’ll be using mine mainly for value studies.

    Sharon Nolfi

    thanks for review. I had not heard of this before.

    Sandra Strait

    It was a brand new to me as well before I saw the review at Notebook Stories.

    Jennifer McLean

    I had heard of these a few months ago and loved the concept. I want one for a stocking stuffer!

    Sandra Strait

    It’s nice to have a notebook for your non-watercolor stuff!

    Leslie O’Connor

    Took me forever to find a thorough review of this paper, thank you. Just wanted to know if there was bleeding before I used my wet wet Energel pen in there. Sounds like it should be fine.

    Sandra Strait

    I think you’d be good for writing.  Drawing or calligraphy might create enough saturation for some bleed-through.

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