Posts Tagged ‘cahier’

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A Paperchase Notebook Makes Some Inky Friends

07/05/2015

When it works well with fountain pen ink, Paperchase is just right. When it doesn’t, it fares no worse than Moleskine and with less bleed-through. At the price point, it is a viable alternative and with many inks, it is a better paper for clean, clear writing.

For testing purposes, I purchased the Purple Metallic Notebook (7.5 x 5.75″). It has a textured softcover, rounded corners, and sewn binding that holds 128 pages/64 sheets. This is a no-frills cahier style notebook with only a small, discrete logo printed on the back. Count me a fan of its minimalist but colorful design.

The off-white paper has a smooth finish and pale gray lines, a good combination for fountain pen use. Line width and line color are identical to Moleskine while the paper is slightly less yellow. Half the inks tested produced clean lines and an unusual degree of shading. The other half experienced some uneven outlines though little feathering along the fibers that paper like Moleskine can produce. Bleed-through was evident with some inks, though for the most part only the occasional dot.

Worthy of note is that most inks dried slowly so lefties beware.

Show-through or ghosting depended on ink flow and was evident with all inks tested. Some inks produced too little to be offensive especially when paired with a fine nib. With thin paper, this is common and frankly I don’t mind the look of it. Wide, wet nibs deposited too much ink making the backs of pages less useful. Free-flowing inks may produce the same result. To demonstrate how unpredictable I found this problem, Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu and Iroshizuku tsuki-yo in Pelikan italics exhibited more show-through than Diamine Dark Brown in a Platinum #3776 Music Nib. Platinum Pigment Ink showed through the least even with a very wet broad nib. That does not hold true on Moleskine where the same pen and ink made a mess with both feathering and bleed-through.

Confusing? This is one of those situations where matching ink, pen and paper could make Paperchase work well for you. Or you can take a more relaxed perspective and just write with whatever is at hand. Most of my journaling will never get read so it doesn’t matter whether a page has marks from the other side that show through. As long as I am writing, all is well.

For convenience I often carry a green metallic Lamy EF loaded with Noodler’s Black. The duo performed perfectly in the Paperchase journal. The ink did not bleed through so both sides of the paper were usable and since black is highly visible even in low light conditions, I could write anywhere. Thus all of my off-site requirements were met. In addition, the Lamy barrel is a pleasing contrast to the purple notebook cover. Attractive tools do tend to trigger my creative urges and that is a significant plus.

Along with the notebook, I picked up a packet of three larger cahiers (8.5 x 5.75″), one blank, one lined and one printed with a pattern. I couldn’t resist the foldaway bag in the Secret Garden pattern and put it to work immediately. It travels in a diminutive carrying case with a clip that will make it a steady companion for shopping excursions or a carryall for my doodle kit and journals. I managed to stuff it with purchases from two shops plus my daily notebook and writing instruments. Not too shabby at all.

Despite the iffy performance with a few inks, I will continue to purchase Paperchase notebooks. The form suits me very well and the ease of buying it at a local store along with the reasonable price, makes it a worthwhile addition to my paper wardrobe.

All of the Paperchase items were purchased at Staples and are available in several patterns. The metallic notebook was $4 and the 3-pack of larger notebooks was $8. Even my frugal budget monitor cannot frown at those prices, and if he does, he will get laughed at to be sure.

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Canson Art Book: Inspiration – A New Cahier

11/04/2012

Yesterday I discovered a new cahier journal at Swain’s Art Supplies. It’s from Canson and not only does it work for light water media, it is good for fountain pens, too.

Canson is a very old French company that offers paper for artists under the Arches and Canson banners. This past year one of their Mix Media spiral notebooks became my testing ground for watercolors and brushes. Fountain pen ink works in it, too. I had high expectations for the Canson Art Book: Inspiration and was not disappointed.

Canson Art Book: Inspiration

Canson Art Book: Inspiration

The cover is bendable and unadorned except for an unobtrusive logo embossed at the bottom of the back cover. The interior of the cover could hold a lot of data including contact info or an index. The paper is acid-free and fine grained though with an almost imperceptible tooth. It works beautifully with pencil and erases easily. This may well be its first and best use.

Canson Art Book: Inspiration Writing Samples

Canson Art Book: Inspiration Writing Samples

Other writing instruments performed well with only a few exceptions. The Sharpie Ultra Fine Point demonstrated mild show-through with the Copic and Tombow showing even more. The Copics also bled-through but a blotter (a doubled sheet of printer paper in this case) prevented damage to the succeeding page.

Canson Art Book: Inspiration Fountain Pen Samples

Canson Art Book: Inspiration Fountain Pen Samples

Just because a paper is good with a variety of media doesn’t mean fountain pens will take to it. But even writing with wide, free-flowing nibs turned out well except for the Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses that suffered a smear. There was no feathering, no bleed-through, and only the faintest hint of writing visible on the reverse. The paper might be a bit dry but that control makes this journal good for two-sided use.

There is only an unlined version so it won’t suit all writers. I tried a sheet of Rhodia with its lavender lines as a guide beneath the Art Book paper and that worked well enough under good lighting. Something with darker lines would be even better.

Canson Art Book: Inspiration Watercolor Swatches

Canson Art Book: Inspiration Watercolor Swatches

I used a fairly wet, #8 round synthetic brush for the watercolor samples using straight Daniel Smith and American Journey paints. The colors turned out suitably rich and very bright. The paper did wrinkle slightly but much less than I expected. There was no bleed-through and the blotter prevented any moisture from seeping though to the next page. Each remained pristine and ready for immediate use.

If you are a Moleskine fan, this is a fair competitor should you need a different grade of paper. It isn’t a substitute for a specific Moleskine product but rather an additional journal for certain uses.

Canson Art Book: Inspiration is targeted at artists but good for anyone. A blotter sheet between pages for tools that are very wet like the Copic brush pen tip or watercolor media is essential. That really is the only caveat.

The minimalist form and quality paper make this cahier a real treat for an urban artist. Just tuck in a small box of watercolors and a tiny bottle of water and you can discreetly catch any subject. If you are a writer, especially one who uses fountain pens, anything in your kit should work just fine. No need to match pen to paper since the paper handles most every ink and pen equally well.

Do I sound enthusiastic? Well I am. Nothing since I was introduced to Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks has hit the mark for my paper needs so well. Now there is a very portable cahier to complement my S&B hardcover journals. Color me very happy indeed.

Canson Art Book: Inspiration specifications:

Comes in a package of two journals

Sizes: 8.3″ x 11.7″, 3.4″ x 5/5″, 5.5″ x 8.5″

Contains 30 sheets of 65lb/96gsm, acid-free, heavyweight Mi-Teintes paper

Simple sewn binding

Flexible cover in four colors:

  • Cover: Indigo, inside cover: Lavender
  • Cover: Black, inside cover: Grey
  • Cover: Tobacco, inside cover: Oyster
  • Cover: Wine, inside cover: Red
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Keep Track Of Your Collection With The New InkJournal

10/28/2012

Do you keep track of your inks in a journal? If not, it’s a great way to chart your ink journey. When my collection blossomed from fewer than ten to dozens and later more than a hundred, a simple notebook was the best I could find. Now there is a better option, the InkJournal from Tom Oddo of Goldspot Pens and Oddo Ink.

InkJournal Cover

InkJournal Cover

Full specs are available at the blogs below but suffice to say the paper is friendly to fountain pen nibs and inks. The format is useful and the dimensions similar to a pocket-sized Moleskine cahier. The journals are environmental friendly, too.

InkJournal Inkdex

InkJournal Inkdex

The prompts are logical and include enough space for your unique observations.

InkJournal Ink Info Page

InkJournal Ink Info Page

The back of each page is assigned to notes and comments. I used it to write a few words with the same ink but from different pens as new ones went into my rotation. To fit as many writing samples as possible in the space, I kept to the name of the pen and the nib size with a symbol or doodle to remind me of how well the ink and pen worked together.

InkJournal Notes Page

InkJournal Notes Page

Each journal contains enough pages to evaluate fifteen inks and comes packaged in sets of either three or six booklets. Sorting by brand is one way to organize your collection. Another way is to dedicate a journal to a color or color group. If this would suit you, it’s worth buying more than one set from the start. My color categories include

  • black and gray
  • blue
  • blue/black
  • green
  • brown
  • red and burgundy
  • purple, violet and aubergine
  • green-blues like turquoise and teal
  • orange and yellow

If a single journal will be used to track two colors, you might start at the front with one and the back for the other. They will eventually meet towards the middle as your collection grows.

InkJournal Back Cover

InkJournal Back Cover

What with bottles, cartridges, ink samples, and trades, these InkJournals could fill quickly. Even written samples snipped from correspondence, can be tucked inside the appropriate color booklet for comparison purposes or as a reminder of inks to purchase in future. If these babies don’t make you feel organized, nothing will.

Do place the included blotter behind the page on which you are writing to prevent ink from bleeding through to the next page. Swabs are most likely to offend in this manner so it isn’t a fault with the paper. Rather it is from the amount of ink deposited by the swab.

The holidays are coming and a pack of InkJournals would be a fine gift for the ink lover on your list. Throw in a couple of bottles of your favorite inky delights and what could make an inkophile happier!

More at Okami-Whatever: InkJournals and Pocket Blonde.

Thanks, Tom, for generously sending a packet of journals for review.

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