Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This is it. This is the one. This is my FAVORITE Ciak. The Medium with blank ivory pages.

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Gratuitous pen/journal shot.

Ciak journals are handmade in Florence, Italy, under what seems to be the parent company of inTempo (so that makes them related to Mood & Cartesio) another site specifically dedicated to Ciak is found here.

I'm still calling them "Cy-ak," even though it's supposed to be, "Chak."

So this is my 4th, (and hopefully my LAST) review of a Ciak product- and may I quickly interject that all 4 had different paper, each with different qualities. The first three were absolutely "no-go's" for me. The small was too small, and I didn't care for the ivory lined paper. The large was too large, and I don't care for writing on multi-colored paper. The Travel Journal's (also medium sized) paper was waaaaay to thin for my taste and now I think I've found it.

My most favorite Ciak.

Let me first give you a brief rundown of what I look for in a journal, because you will be surprised to learn that the Ciak is almost none of those things.

I really like the size of the large Moleskine - Medium Ciak is smaller.
I really like a journal with a hard cover- Ciaks have flexible leather covers.
I want my journals to open and lie flat - Ciaks do neither.
I like the paper to have rounded edges - Ciaks do not.
I like a journal that can do well with watercolor washes - this Ciak does just ok.
I want paper that doesn't bleed, feather, show through, or spread when using fountain pen ink - this Ciak doesn't meet all of those qualifications.

So why on earth do I love this journal so much?

It's difficult for me to put my finger on it, but I'll do my best. The size, though smaller than my preferred Moleskine, is glorious. The leather cover makes it feel like an expensive, quality product in my hands. The SMELL of leather is an added bonus. I absolutely LOVE the smell of leather. And what about the fact that this book doesn't open or lie flat? I think this is the one thing that pushes it over the edge for me. With it's limited opening, it gives me the impression of a secret diary. The size is perfect for propping on my knee and it opens wide enough to jot down all my deepest secrets and thoughts.

It reminds me of the perfect travel companion. I can see myself jotting notes in it at an outdoor cafe in France, a glass of vin ordinaire at a hands reach, a few morsels of a tasty pastry left on a napkin... I can see myself writing in it while on a train... The Orient Express maybe?

See- it's like that. It exudes more character than another journal I've touched. It screams to be written in.

That said, I know of only one online retailer that's selling the unruled ivory Ciaks, and maybe that's part of their charm. They just ain't easy to find.

You can get them online at The Journal Shop in the UK.

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Ciak on top of the Moleskine. This model is smaller than a large Moleskine but thicker because of the higher quality paper.

Lamy Safari and Sailor 1911 added for flair. Leather cover appears as it would add to the longevity of the book.

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Medium Ciak shown with large Moleskine for size comparison.

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

I like the elastic band that closes the book. Better design than the vertical Moleskine style that constantly slips off in my purse. It also works well as a pen holder.

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Sewn signatures, flexible leather cover.

Book construction doesn't really allow the book to open or lie flat, but the size allows easy writing on a non-flat surface. (Like on my knee)

Paper edges are squared.

There is no ribbon bookmark in this model, (not sure if it was just "missing" or not included with this model, since all of the other Ciaks I've tested had bookmarks.)

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

This was the first pen test. Paper is very smooth, and ink dries very quickly. In fact, it dries quicker than in any other journal I've tested. No feathering with any tested fountain pen ink. Note that with the paper being so absorbent, ink nibs DO write wider than normal on this paper. (What I call "spreading")

I really like the ivory/cream pages a lot.

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

This was the second pen test. Why two? I just wanted to be sure...

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Reverse of one of the pen tests. Only the very tiniest of blood dots (if any) pushed through. You can see the way that there is a little push through with some of the more saturated inks. (From a wide nibbed .07 cursive italic fountain pen.)

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Certain markers if held on the paper, spread quickly and bleed through to the other side. This paper is very absorbent, but I still love doodling with markers on it.

Ink and watercolor mandala

Watercolors only do "ok" on this paper because it absorbs so quickly. Don't expect to be able to mix inks on the paper, or reactivate once dry. Light washes will be ok, and the less water you use, the more vibrant the colors. I believe I outlined this with a Faber Castell F Pitt Artist Pen.

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

I believe I did this mandala with Staedtler Triplus markers.

Mandala: What is the true measure of success?

Color of the paper is a little off in this image. I can't remember what I drew this one with. Either a Faber Castell F Pitt Artist Pen or one of my fountain pens with Noodler's Bulletproof Black ink.

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Staedtler Triplus marker

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pens. (I absolutely LOVE those pens!)

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Tried a few different pencils from my Faber Castell drawing set. I always like to use the softer pencils, and this paper seems to prefer them as well.

Medium Ciak w/ plain ivory pages

Testing Caran d'Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons in the medium Ciak

Ok. So that's it. I love it. I will buy more. Is it right for you? Can't really say, since technically, it's not even right for me!

Here's a list of the various Ciaks and their options:

Piccolo (small 9x13cm)

Ivory Lined: 110gr, gray ruling, 96 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 128 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 96 Sheets

Medio (medium 12x17cm)

Travel Journal: ivory paper, 110gm, gray ruling, 120 sheets
Layout: right page lined, left page blank

Ivory Lined Specs: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 144 Sheets
Ivory Squared: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 120 Sheets
Ivory Plain: Specs not available from Ciak site, I've counted 120 pages, and can only guess that this is also 110gr paper like the others.

Grande (large 15x21cm)

Ivory Lined Specs: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 120 Sheets

Links to my reviews of the other three Ciaks I've tested:

Review of the Small Ciak lined, with ivory pages.

Review of the Large Ciak lined, with multi-colored pages.

Review of the Ciak Travel Journal medium sized, with cream pages, plain on one side, and lined on the other.


inkophile said...

Excellent review! You've made a point that the elastic ought to secure a pen but the vertical ones fail at that completely. Might have to add my own horizontal one to make my journals more useful.

The paper is a lovely cream and the blue cover very attractive with it. The range of paper quality is surprising but then, maybe not. Most companies seems to have trouble with that aspect of their journals. Not nice to fool us with inferior paper but good to know there is one journal worth buying in the Ciak line.

The black mandala is my fav and your writing is perfect for it. You really are quite the artist!

Ontheroad said...

Merry Christmas, neighbour.

Great review & perhaps this is the one for you!!!

Mystic Sight said...

Merry Christmas. Hope Santa blessed you with everything on your wishlist.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you may also like a Cartesio Large.

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