I’m here today to review one of Clairefontaine’s GraF it dot grid pads. Exaclair, Inc has kindly agreed to give away four of these pads, so be sure to check the giveaway information at the end of this post (Giveaway is over).
GraF it dot grid pad
Binding: Glued & Top Stapled; Microperfed sheets
Paper Weight: 90g/41lb
4 Sizes: A4/8.27 in × 11.69 /21×29,7 cm
Paper Color: transparent
Rule: dot grid -pale violet dots with 5 mm interval
No. Sheets: 80
Covers: Cardstock front & back with third heavy Cardboard backing-several colors available
Overall Look and Feel
When you see the GraF it, your first thought might be, “Hmmm. Another sketchpad.” The pale color and unassuming drawing on the cover aren’t flashy. But then you notice those huge staples.
And, although the cover front and back is a light, but stiff cardboard, you realize there is also a heavier cardboard, to provide a sturdy backing.
There are three creases in the front cover, so it will easily fold to the back. The paper is micro-perfed for easy removal, but there’s a lot of ‘stub’, the paper left behind, to hold the sheets in the pad until you ‘want’ to remove them.
If you are like me, the word ‘workhorse’ comes to mind. You know, that tablet that lies around, stacked on top of things, or under things, is carried from room to room, gets shoved into drawers and pulled out for any and every purpose when paper is needed.
The paper looked as though it would be soft. It is not. It has a hard surface for non-cardstock, but it is not stiff. It is smooth but not slick. It folds and takes creases well. When you hold the paper to the light you can see the threads running through it, so there is a degree of translucence. It doesn’t have much tooth that you can feel when you run your fingers across the page, but when you paint on it, you discover there is a grain. More on that later.
What I’ve just written applies to the GraF it sketchpad of all sizes and formats. Formerly, the GraF it was only available in a blank page format. As you have probably guessed from the title of this review, it now comes in a dot grid format as well.
The dots are a very light violet/gray color. Perfect for those who want just the hint of a guide. A little less perfect for those with weaker eyesight, or who want a darker guide. As with most dot grids, the dots tend to fade from notice, once you’ve written or otherwise used the paper. I love them for anything but the most formal of artworks.
The paper is definitely fountain pen friendly. When I wrote, using several inks and pens, there was no feathering, skipping or bleed-through to the back. Drying time is fairly long and some inks may look a bit different on this paper than on others. The difference isn’t so much a matter of the color shade, but in the intensity. Some colors are more muted, though I noticed this more with other media then I did with fountain pen ink.
When I used fountain pens to draw, I did get some tiny dots of color, where I added wet ink over wet ink. Getting a full saturation of color was a bit more difficult than I expected, though that may partly have been the weather. I’ve noticed the same thing on papers that I’ve used in the past without problem.
A good deal of my work, especially my Zentangle®-Inspired Art, is done with Pigma Micron pens of varying sizes. The dot grid is excellent for this, because you can use the dots to help you with a pattern, or just ignore them if they aren’t needed.
My first impression of the GraF it was of sturdiness, and after working with it for a while, I still have that impression. It is a workhorse. You can use it for almost anything. It is a pad, and you are as likely to tear pages out and use them, as to work in the pad itself.
Even if you are familiar with the media you choose, your results may be slightly different than with other papers.
The paper is great for pen work. It’s fountain pen friendly, though dots will bleed through it you really saturate the paper. The dot grids are very helpful for learning and drawing patterns such as find with Zentangle or Celtic knots.
Some watercolors may bleed through to the back of the page, but the paper holds it’s integrity well with little to no dimpling or curling.
The GraF it would be fantastic for art journaling, quick sketches, or detailed artwork.
Disclaimer: I received the Clairefontaine GraF It dot grid pad from Exaclair Inc. specifically for this review and giveaway. I was allowed to choose the item to be given away. I’m excited about hosting this giveaway, but tried not to let it influence my opinion, and all opinions are my own. I received no other compensation.