Last year I was able to try out Victoria’s Journals’ Copelle Gold Edition which was raffled off to a few lucky people at the Fountain Pen Network Philippines’ Christmas party. We enjoyed trying this because the paper was really nice thin. I have been waiting for it to be available at National Bookstore branches near me ever since, but it was only yesterday that my husband was able to find one for me (w00t).
The cover is faux-leather textured and very light. It’s soft to the touch and the binding is stitched. I’m not too keen on the colors, though. I picked the dark grey one because it’s the least shiny-looking one in the collection, but it’s sparkly. I would love to see them come up with a non-shiny looking cover, that would be awesome. The elastic is thick but soft, easy to pull on and off the notebook.
As you can see in the photo above, you can lie the journal flat. That’s great, and makes it easier to write in. I like the stitching and binding on the journal.
It has a few pages for a 2-year calendar spread, table of contents, trip planner, and a couple of pages of blank Eisenhower Decision Matrix (instructions included).
It also has 8 pages of ink test cutouts. Each page is divided by 4 sections with perforations so that that you can tear them off individually. I think that’s a nice touch, especially since it shows on the cover that the notebook is “fountain pen friendly”, which means it’s targeted towards a market of fountain pen and ink enthusiasts.
At only 55gsm, the paper does remind you somewhat of Tomoe River but it’s thicker and smoother. You can feel by touch that the paper has more coating than Tomoe River, and the quality feels premium. Unfortunately, they only have dotted paper, no blanks. Still, the paper is white and the dots are light grey, which makes it easier to ignore them. I personally prefer not to use the dots to guide my writing because I like to space my lines closer to each other. I really would prefer a blank page but the light grey dots aren’t exactly a deal breaker for me.
The paper might feel a little slippery if you’re using very fine nibs or dry writers, but overall I find the experience of writing on it very pleasing. It doesn’t feather but it does show a bit at the back if you’re using thick nibs.
Not particularly bothersome for me, Tomoe River shows through a lot more than this. It also holds up better to dye-based stamp inks. It doesn’t bleed through to the other side.
The paper holds up okay for light washes, it doesn’t tear up or fall apart when you apply light layers of watercolor on it, but it warps a lot and it doesn’t flatten out too much afterwards.
The color is pretty vibrant, but it’s hard to get the watercolor to behave how you want it to, with all the warping going on. The smooth paper also makes it too easy to rub off too much pigment with just a few brush strokes. Overall, good for simple watercolor illustrations but don’t go crazy with it.
Here are a few close ups of the writing samples, to show how the paper shows off shading and sheen.
Overall, I like it a lot. I like the quality of the paper, and how thin and light it is. I won’t really use the other planner features on it but I guess other people might find that useful. Not too awesome with watercolors but it wasn’t really made for that, I suppose. It was made with us, pen nerds, in mind. So the paper shows off the best parts about using fountain pens and inks. A little pricey but considering the quality of the paper and stitch binding, I think it’s priced competitively. I hope they will consider making blank pages and flat colored covers in the future.