Category: Paper Alert

11_11 HandmadePH Passport Sized Synchronicity Journal

I got this passport sized traveler’s notebook from 11_11Handmadeph because I thought it would be nice to carry something smaller for a change. My journals are always so big and heavy. I figured I wanted something that’s easy to whip out and lighter to carry around. I decided to try 11_11Handmadeph because I met the maker behind it a couple of years ago during the Fountain Pen Day at SM Aura, and one of the members showed me her nice, fat, white TN that she had with her. I think that’s called natural colored leather, and the patina on that piece was gorgeous. I made a mental note to try out this journal when I decided to give a passport-sized TN a try. It’s a bit hard to buy leather TNs through shopping online because I really like to touch the leather first and make sure that I like how it feels first, so I’m grateful I got to touch one of 11_11Handmadeph’s journal before I decided to get one.

I like that the seller (Anne) was responsive and accommodating to my questions. She showed me photos of the color that I liked and we finalized the transaction in a matter of minutes. It was shipped promptly and I received it in this carefully wrapped package.

Part of what I really like about handmade goods is the kind of personalized care that makers put in everything, including the wrapping. I was excited to open the package, and of course I was so delighted to see the handwritten note and this little slip of paper that introduced the product and provided a guide on how to take care of it properly.

My first thought when I touched the leather of the journal was that I’m glad the quality of the leather is the same as I remember it. It was delightful to touch the smooth texture of the leather and see the little creases and natural markings that show the unique character of the leather hide.

This leather is just the right thickness that I like. It doesn’t feel floppy or overly tough. The cover retains its shape when I open and close the journal. I also like the quality of the elastics they used on it. It feels firm and secure. It’s also not overly thick. I like the color Anne picked for this journal, it matches really well.

I also really liked how the holes in this journal are placed. Unlike my other traveler’s notebooks, the holes are placed along the spine and not at the rear flap. This means that I don’t feel the knot of the elastic when I lay the journal flat while writing.

The holes for the inserts don’t look too intrusive, and it gives me four strands of elastic inside. Plenty of room if you’re into chunky TN setups, but it’s really more than enough for me since I usually only use 3 inserts. I like how the edges are neatly burnished and rounded.

It also  has this cute little bookmark. I’m supposing it has a letter P on it because of my name, I thought that was a nice touch. The velvety part of the leather inside was not too fluffy, I’m not sure what the term is. Overall, it just looked nice and clean. From the way the elastics are laid out to the burnished edges, rounded corners, the cut…everything about it is just nice and neat. I love that.

The journal comes with two inserts; one with cream-colored paper and one white. They’re pretty nice too. The paper is fountain pen friendly, it took even my broad nibs without any bleeding at the back. I can’t wait to customize some inserts for this journal.

Overall, I really am quite pleased with this journal. The product is well-made and uses good quality leather, and the maker behind it was really pleasant to deal with.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Here is something pen and ink fans will find truly interesting and delightful. I used to keep a software database of pens, but I haven’t been very good with keeping it updated, until I eventually just forgot about it. Here’s a truly analog way to document an analog hobby.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Everything Calligraphy came up with its very own pen and ink journal! It’s soft-bound and uses their own 90GSM ivory colored paper that’s fountain pen, brush pen, and pointed pen friendly. Hardcore, man.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The theme of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo is the thread that runs through the different sections of the notebook, from cover to cover. When I first held the journal in my hand, it really felt like something that you can keep as a “pen memoir”, and I felt sorry I wasn’t able to document the old pens that I had already sold, or the inks that I already used up.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

There is a simple Elias logo on the binding, and the spine feels nice and tight. It’s bound securely, though it’s not going to lay flat by itself. It’s not difficult to write in or leaf through, though. The journal is bound by plain white, textured card paper, and there’s a translucent, waxy paper that wraps around it. I really like the illustration used in that decorative wrap. It’s printed neatly and is really like a slice of a story.

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It also smells good. Mmmmm. Yum. The journal has several sections. I’ll show each section in this review.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The first section is the Pen Journal section. It has space for every kind of information useful in a pen. Like brand, model, nib size, rating systems, etc. The opposite page is dedicated entirely to writing samples, or (like what I did) a review of the pen. You can put anything! How you got the pen, its little back story, anything that helps you either catalog the pen’s specifications or document its history. You can even stick a printed photo of the pen, if you like. You can get as creative as you want, there’s space for it!

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The next section is the Ink Journal. It has all the pertinent information you need to catalog your ink. From the cost, to the properties (shading, sheen drying time, flow), a portion for swabs and water resistance tests, and your comments. Here’s a photo of my first ink journal page, documenting one of my new favorite inks, Kyo Iro Moonlight of Higashiyama. It’s a straightforward way to catalog your ink collection. The paper being Elias paper, it shows off any shading and sheen so well. The paper also holds up very well to my water resistance test.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

I had to chuckle a little at the next section, the Future Pen and Inks. It’s like a wishlist. You can note down pens and inks that caught your attention and would like to purchase in the future. This is a list you can really have fun ticking items off of.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The next section contains coloring sheets. Line drawings of scenes and excerpts from Noli and El Fili. It adds a really Pinoy flair to the entire thing. I like how the line drawings are made. They have a folk-artsy feel to them. The pages remind me of these traditional Japanese line drawings before anime became popular. There’s a story going on in each drawing and it really captured that overall theme of the journal. The person who drew them is Julz Riddle (a Filipino teacher and artist). Her Instagram account is @hulyariddle. Here are a couple of samples from the journal.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Those who are into practicing calligraphy will love the next section.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

These pages with guide lines can help you achieve consistent strokes. Even if you only want to improve your handwriting by practicing writing in script, this can be really helpful.

The remaining pages are blank sheets, doodle pages. If you look at the back of every single journal I have, the last pages are basically doodle pages. Figure eights, “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, baybayin scribbles, anything! A blank space to doodle and free the mind. How wonderful that there’s a space in this journal for doodling.

Overall, I don’t think I’ve come across a journal that’s exactly like this, and with a very Filipino flair. It’s really a great way to celebrate your fascination with pens and inks (and doodling!). I’m glad that Everything Calligraphy came up with something so special for pen fans like us, and I’m planning to fill up my journal soon. It would be a great way to keep record of each pen and ink color that I have. Maybe someday when it’s time to pass on my pens to my nephews and nieces, they can have this journal as a companion of sorts, to help them appreciate the pens not just as writing instruments but as little things that brought me joy at some point in my life.

The Elias Pen and Ink Journal is available at Everything Calligraphy.

Moleskine Watercolour Album (First Impressions)

I must admit that I’ve never been particularly impressed with Moleskine notebooks before. They’re not very fountain pen-friendly and they’re quite expensive. Since I’ve been trying out different watercolor journals that I can take around with me in my bag when I go out, I thought I’d give their watercolor notebooks a try. Maybe they will be suitable for urban sketching. I bought the smallest size first so I can try it out before committing to a bigger sized journal.

I was pleasantly surprised with it. The size is 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches, it has 30 leaves (60 pages) of 200 gsm, acid-free, cold-pressed paper that have 25% cotton content. I’ve only used 100% cotton paper and I love them a lot, but I wanted to try something smaller and with thinner paper.

Since it’s not 100% cotton, I expected it to buckle a lot after several washes, but it actually held up pretty well with a few light washes. You can add several layers without the paper warping. I do mostly ink and wash drawings, so I think the paper holds up pretty well because I don’t do a lot of super wet washes.

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I like that the blank ink of my drawing pen pops on the paper. It seems to be very picky about fountain pen inks. Some bleed horribly while some don’t, but pigment ink work very beautifully with it.

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It’s easy on my brushes too, since the paper doesn’t fight it too much. On the flip side, the paper absorbs the water pretty quickly so I have to work very fast if I want to do some basic blending. I need to be careful with blending washes on paper, though because it doesn’t seem like it will take a lot of abuse like 100% cotton paper does.

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I like the subtle texture of the paper too. It adds some character to the paintings.

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I picked this size because I thought I’d just test the paper out, but turns out I like this pocket-sized notebook a lot. It’s just big enough to accommodate some simple sketches, but it’s great for practicing layers and drawings.

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I like that the binding allows the little book to lay flat easily, and the hard cover also makes it easy to hold up when sketching without a hard surface. I think it’s great for urban sketching.

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I’ve tried other journals that have about the same cotton content and I’m so disappointed that the paper somehow makes the colors of the painting look dull. This one stays true to what it’s supposed to look like. It looks so vibrant, especially in person. It’s hard to capture the colors in photos at home (it’s a bit too dark in my study), but the colors really pop on the page.

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So far, the ink that works best with this paper (aside from the pigmented drawing inks) is J. Herbin Perle Noire, in case you want to use fountain pens in your drawings. I don’t have waterproof Noodlers inks yet, so I wasn’t able to test them. Iroshizuku inks don’t fare too well. They spider out and feather like crazy.

It’s also pretty nice that the paper doesn’t show a lot of warping, as you can see below.

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Overall, me likey. It fits my preferred style, at least. If you’re fond of using a lot of wet washes, I’m not sure that the paper can hold up well to it. But for urban sketching and some light washes and layering, it works well enough. I think I can commit to a larger notebook now.

Review: Rhodia Pads

Review: Rhodia Pads

Completing the roundup of my review on Rhodia products from Everything Calligraphy are Rhodia bloc pads in different sizes and colors. These are actually pretty nice. It’s a challenge to find fountain pen friendly pads because many will bleed through and feather in an awful way. A lot of pad papers I’ve used are only ballpoint pen friendly. A few do hold up well with fountain pens and rollerballs, but the texture isn’t as pleasurable to write on.

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Rhodia is a bit expensive. Relatively more expensive than most pads you’ll see in bookstores or school supply stores. The quality of the paper is a lot different, though. Probably the only locally available “rival” in quality is the Elias notepads. Once you use one of these, you’ll understand why they’re pricier.

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I tried out both the color and the classic pads. I’m leaning more towards the color pads because I like the texture of the paper better. I also like the color of the pages, they’re cream-colored and it really makes the fountain pen inks I tried on it look a lot lovelier. The photo below shows the difference in the color of the paper.

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Below is a photo of the page of writing samples. As expected, the paper held up very well with fountain pens, brush pens, and parallel pens. The 3.8mm parallel pen did have a bit of bleed through. Not too bad, but it’s noticeable since the ink I used was the default black cartridge, which is highly saturated.

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I think the paper is different from the Webnotebooks, but the writing experience is close to the Rhodia color pads. I love the texture of the paper. It’s different from the classic pads (which tends to be too smooth for some of my fine-nibbed, dry-writing pens). Rhodia’s color pads are 90 gsm and the classic pads are 80 gsm, both handle ink pretty well, but I personally like the color, quality and texture of the paper used in the color pads.

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I noticed the white pads are more resilient to calligraphy pens, though. I’m not sure why, it could be just the pens that I have (I don’t really have that many to test it with).

Here are a few closeups of the writing samples for the color pads:

Here’s a close up of the writing samples for the classic pads.

I love that these pads can really show off the shading, sheen and shimmer of the inks and the unique character of each ink and pen combination. Such is the pleasure of using good paper. I also like that the binding makes it easy to fold the cover. It’s very durable and doesn’t break apart when you’ve been using up the pages and not tearing them off. I used up my last large Rhodia pad without hardly tearing a page off, and the binding held up really well. If you do need to tear off the pages, the mini perforations make it easier to do just that without compromising the binding.

Overall, these are good quality pads, no surprises there. 🙂

Rhodia pads and other paper products are available at Everything Calligraphy.

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A PAID POST, I DON’T DO PAID REVIEWS.

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Review: Rhodia Classic Stapled Notebooks

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Here’s another Rhodia paper product that I’ve only tried recently. It’s the Rhodia Classic Stapled Notebooks. It’s a lot more affordable than the web notebooks (P199 per piece) and only comes in lined and graph.

The cover looks pretty simple. Just the basic soft cover in orange, black, and white. It looks like something I would have loved to use for class notes.

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As the name implied, the notebook is staple-bound, which is why it’s more affordable than the other kinds of notebooks. While it’s pretty useful for basic writing, note-taking and other casual writing, it does have some drawbacks. The cover is pretty thin, and it’s a lot harder to lay flat unless you weigh the cover down.

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It doesn’t have the premium feel of the web notebooks, but course this was not designed to be the luxurious leather-bound journal, it’s the affordable, rough and tumble cousin that you can take anywhere. It’s light, it’s no-frills, and the paper (while different in texture and quality) is still quite good.

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The paper is 80 gsm, with lines that are a bit purplish-blue, reminiscent of the notebooks I used back in my school days. The lines were noticeably farther apart than the webnotebooks.

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Personally, I prefer the width of the space between the lines of the webnotebook, and the light grey colored lines. Here are a few

The paper is not as smooth as the webnotebooks, but it’s still very fountain pen friendly. Doesn’t show off sheen or shimmer too well, but shows off shading just fine. It also holds up well to parallel pens and brush pens. It doesn’t feather or bleed through, and the show through is very minimal. Pretty good for an affordable Rhodia notebook. If you need a good fountain pen friendly notebook for casual writing and note taking, this is a great choice.

Rhodia Classic Stapled Notebooks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid post, I don’t do paid reviews.