December 26, 2014

Hobonichi Planner Book Review

As the A6 Hobonichi Planner Book (English version) only started on the 24th of December (beginning to regret getting the English rather than the Japanese version), I was only able to try out its beautiful paper recently. Then I got hooked on it and couldn't stop...

Here's a look at some of the watercolour and pen tests I did in it:

Test Pages in my A6 Hobonichi
Pen Testing
Watercolour Testing - Akashiya Sai and Daler Rowney

I should have probably done my pen tests at the back of the book where there were extra dot grid papers but I was too darn excited!

Pen Test:
All the pens I tested on the page had no bleed through, however, had different shades of show through. There is of course, a major difference between the two:

  • Show through = shadowing at the back of the page from mediums used on the page
  • Bleed through = what you get when you use Copics / permanent markers on paper - ink bleeds through the paper and might even stain the next page.

With a paper as thin as Hobonichi's, I wasn't surprised that there were some form of show through. I was surprised, however, that there was practically no bleed through no matter what medium I used. So here's how it looked like on the back of the pen test page:

Back of the Pen Testing Page

As you can see, there are show throughs. It seems like the only really bad show through was from the unbranded Purple gel pen and the Pilot G2-05, both of which weren't exactly on the top of my pens-to-use-in-my-Hobonichi list, so I didn't quite mind. Microns, Copic Multiliners, Sharpie Pens, Lamy Safari with Noodler Ink pens had no problems whatsoever. But do bear in mind that the more you go over a single area with a micron, multiliner etc, the more show through will happen, which makes sense. The paper can only handle so much. But use in moderation and you won't have any problems

Watercolour Test:
For the watercolour test, the back of the page was unfortunately coloured over before I could take a picture, but here's another example in my Hobonichi page using watercolours:

Watercolour doodles in my Hobonichi! 
NYE Doodle
At the back of the watercolour test page

Remember how I said I got too excited? Yeh, now I can't use my Hobo till the 1st of January..

This is the back of the NYE page to show just how much the watercolour shows through:

Majority of the colours I used for the picture was using Akashiya Sai brush watercolour markers. The show through isn't too bad and for me, quite acceptable to live with and use the back page on. I used to think that the show through would cause me to dislike Hobonichi, but it's actually not that bad. Highly surprised and highly impressed!

Also, just a little tip for those who plan to use watercolours in their Hobonichi book: the blending of the Akashiya Sai markers on these papers are just wonderful! Compared to actual watercolour papers such as those found in Moleskine where the paper is just so absorbent, due to the sleek nature of Hobonichi's Tomoe River paper, it gives the watercolours time to soak in, which means, blending colours are just a complete ease to work with. Not to mention, the easy blend-ability also means less water required, which means your Hobonichi paper doesn't get soaked in. And I've noticed that with the Tomoe River paper, even though you have used watercolour on it, and even if you have used too much water / layering of colours, the paper does crumple up at first, but, put a stack of books over it overnight and the paper doesn't crinkle up so much anymore. Hooray!

So yes, so far, all I have for the Hobonichi paper are praises, praises and more praises! The only little 'problem' I've had with the paper is that little crinkle you see on the top right of the last image. I'm a pencil person and I tend to draw my pictures out with pencil first, outline it with my multiliner / Micron then rub the pencil lines off. Because the paper is so thin, rubbing it means the possibility of it crumpling up if you don't hold your paper down. It hasn't torn on me (yet), but because I didn't hold the paper down properly, it crumpled my beautiful paper up (and I cried inside). But nevertheless, it is smoothing out, and the crinkle is now not as bad as it first happened.

So all I have to say is: the paper is great, but be careful with it. It is quite delicate in it's own little ways, and although seems strong for 'normal' use, I have yet to test its abilities to the maximum. I guess you just have to try it out on your own to know its limit!


  1. The paper in the Hobonichi is divine. I'm using the pen that came with it, and it's got a very fine point, so there's lots of etching into the pages, I guess you could say? It's so nice to run my hands over the written in pages!

    1. Ooh yes, I absolutely love the pen that came with my A5 Hobo. I was surprised that it was actually a ballpoint pen!