Denik Sketchbook Review

Denik are an American company that makes notebooks and sketchbooks in a variety of formats, each featuring original artwork on the cover. They were kind enough to send me this sketchbook to try out. These are my own opinions.

Denik use a portion of their profits to fund schools in Laos, Guatemala and Mali. As they sent me this sketchbook for free I donated the equivalent amount to one of their partners, Pencils of Promise.

Size: 9″ by 11″
Price: $15
Pages: 150
Cover: soft laminate
Paper: 77lb, acid free, 75% recycled, white
Ruling: plain

Denik Sketchbook cover

This sketchbook is a good size, slightly shorter but wider than A4. It’s spiral bound and each page is perforated. This combination can be a little tricky and I found it hard to tear along the perforation without, instead, tearing the holes for the binding. That’s not a problem in itself as it’s good to get rid of the leftover holey bits but it makes removing a page neatly a very fiddly job.

Denik Sketchbook binding

The cover on my sketchbook is “Spring Day” by artist Jill Bruggeman. Denik make great play of the fact that by buying the sketchbook you are supporting the artist, which can only be a good thing, and I suppose it’s just my general naivety that meant it came as a surprise that this might not always be the case. Anyway, it’s a fun cover, made from thin but waterproof laminate.

What’s most important in a sketchbook is how the paper behaves with different media. This paper is smooth but with just a slight hint of a texture, making it great for pencil work. You can get fine detail without the pencil slipping across the page. It also takes pen and ink well with no bleeding or feathering.

Denik Sketchbook pencil

The paper’s thin so it does buckle with watercolours and it also soaks through to the other side. However it holds up well and if you want to play about with, say, watercolour pencils, it’s good enough to use for your own experimentation.

Denik Sketchbook colour

Denik Sketchbook watercolour back

I also tried an alcohol-based sketching pen, Kuretake’s Zig Artist pen. There was significant bleedthrough and so you could only use side of the paper. It also managed to mark the next page slightly. There was a touch of feathering but nothing too drastic.

Denik Sketchbook alcohol marker

Denik Sketchbook alcohol marker back

This is a good sketchbook for playing around in. There’s lots of space and the paper will take pencils and many pens very well. It’s not something I’d use to produce something for display but then that’s not really what a sketchbook is for. I recommend it for what it is: a good quality, good value large sketchbook for learning and experimenting in.

Pros

Good paper for pencil and pen and ink
Big format
Denik’s support for artists and schools

Cons

Perforations do not work well with spiral binding

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