I just got in a Raffine Art Sketch book and did a quick trial page full of doodles to compare it to the Aquabee Super Deluxe that I am currently using. First, I used Noodler’s Beaver ink in a Conklin Crescent pen placed on the paper with a light and heavy hand and rubbed over at various intervals to test smearing. I tested the marks at one, five, and ten minutes. I was going to leave it overnight but thought that was overkill and tried the last rubbing about six hours later instead. In both books the ink was still smearable after ten minutes, but had finally dried in the Raffine in six hours. I take notes in my Aquabee during class and close the page on them with no waiting and no smearing so I think this really is only a problem when doing pen and wash. The pen and wash drawing of my fountain pen posted previously, was hard to control because the ink had not dried and was still sitting on the surface of the paper in the Aquabee. Platinum Carbon ink was permanent in both books with no smearing when rubbed at five minutes. It was also permanent and did not run when I washed over it with water at five minutes. The Noodler’s ink, (not a waterproof or bulletproof version) handled a wash of water about the same in both books.
Pencil seems to handle about the same in both books as does watercolor. I lifted off color using a “scrubber” brush marketed to do that job and also with a soft haired flat. The scrubber roughed up the paper in both books (a tad more in the Aquabee), the soft brush did not. I think my problem with lifting out color was that I was using the scrubber brush and it is just too aggressive for the paper.
Bottom line- both books seem to perform the same to me. The Auabee is 6″ X 9″ and is 93#, 152 gsm and the Raffine is 5.5″ X 8.5″ and 100#, 220 gram. The Aquabee front cover does feel a bit thicker and more sturdy. I’m going to finish out my Aquabee and then move into the Raffine. Maybe after I work in the Raffine for a while I will be able to tell more about it.