January 25, 2016


I've been getting questions from my followers regarding the paper Hobonichi uses in their diaries, how thin they are, how they handle watercolour etc, so I thought I'd give a little review on it. I'm no expert, but these are my experiences with using it so far:

When it comes to the usage of watercolour and a few other 'wet' mediums, I can say that the Hobonichi holds up well. There are two definitions when I mean 'well', and this is what I will go into.

Firstly, the Hobonichi paper is great in terms of the fact that most ink does not bleed through to the other side (However, please do try your own pens out in a spare page in your Hobonichi before using it on your actual page in case it bleeds through). When I mean 'bleed through', I mean being able to see ink marks on the other side of the page. You can forget about using Copic markers and any type of alcohol markers though because those will bleed through without a care in the world. When it comes to watercolour, however, mine (Koi and Daler Rowney paints, wet Gelato) have yet to burn through to the other side. That said, because the pages are super thin, some people may get annoyed with the fact that you can see through markings on the other side of the page. I used to get annoyed with this, and is probably why I stopped using one in 2015, but I tend to just roll with it now.

Secondly, the Hobonichi paper is great in terms of its ability to dry flat. If you've used normal 80gsm printer paper with watercolour, you'll notice that once the paper dries, it crinkles up in places where you've placed the paint down. For the Hobonichi, this happens only to a minimal extent. You could actually say that the page basically dries out flat again, and I think this is the true beauty of the Hobonichi paper. BUT, and this is the greatest but of all, in the first few moments of laying down water and paint on the paper, the Hobonichi will warp up much much much more than any usual paper. Just don't freak out, trust me; be patient, let it dry up, and you will see that you panicked for nothing (but of course, wet your paper within limits!), because for some miraculous reason, the paper manages to dry up so much that it will lay out flat again.

Anyway, here are some examples of spreads I currently have in my Hobonichi. Below is a spread I did using Gelato (some parts wet, some parts dry) and watercolour paint:

While the next spread, I used purely watercolours for the splattered looking background and a stamp with brown Kaisercraft ink.

Here's how the latter page looks like when it's nice and dried:

It does flatten out quite nicely, doesn't it?

So look, don't be afraid to wet your pages. Experiment. Let your creativity flow. I used to be afraid of using my Hobonichi and ruin its pretty clean pages, but once I made the initial marks on it with paint, it has morphed into my art journal, and I love it. I'm able to let myself go on those pages without knowing the actual outcome and learning from the experience at the end. Try not to pressure yourself so much into creating beautiful masterpieces every time. Besides, it's your journal, not anyone else's.

To sum up, here are just some sample pages from my Hobonichi so far:

Hope this proved useful!


  1. 1. This is a really neat idea. 2. Your pictures are so pretty! :)