J. Herbin Gris Nuage & Exacompta Basics Sketchbook

One of my favorite ink, paper and pen combinations is J. Herbin Gris Nuage ink, Exacompta Basics silver-edged sketchbook and the Pelikano Junior or any medium to broad nib size fountain pen.

Even though J. Herbin Gris Nuage is not a silver ink, the silver pages of the sketch book make me think of silver as I write and they complement the ink color nicely. The soft grey ink has beautiful shading and reminds me of writing or sketching with a pencil. From my point of view, it does not look like a watered down black ink, it looks like it is supposed to be a grey color. This ink has a decent drying time so I don’t have too many problems with smudging.

Since this ink is not a dark or intense color, I like using it best in a fountain pen with a medium to broad nib size, such as my Pelikan Pelikano Junior with the left-handed nib. The LAMY Joy calligraphy pen or any LAMY fountain pen with a medium or wider size nib would also work well with Gris Nuage ink.

And, of course, the Exacompta Basics sketchbook or journal contains some of my favorite paper. This off-white, 100g, acid-free laid paper is a dream to sketch or write on!

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What is 90 g Paper?

When paper has a weight of 90 g (or gm/m2, gsm, g/m2), this means that one sheet of this paper that is one square meter in size weighs 90 grams. Paper that is 80 g would most often be lighter and thinner than 90 g paper, paper that is 100 g would be thicker and heavier. This European measurement is approximately equal to the English measurement of 24 lb. bond/writing or 60 lb. text paper. I’m not even going to attempt to explain the complicated English method of measuring paper density, but you can read about it on Wikipedia if you wish.

Clairefontaine 90 g paper is well-known and loved by fountain pen users the world over. The weight of this paper combined with Clairefontaine’s super smooth finish performs very well with fountain pen nibs and ink. There is very minimal, if any, problems with fountain pen ink on this paper such as bleeding through the paper, feathering or showing through to the other side. If you haven’t already tried Clairefontaine’s famous paper why not add some to your collection. Your fountain pen and your hand will thank you!

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Kelly’s Wish List

Though I am surrounded by hundreds of pens, pencils, and notebooks everyday I cannot possibly (okay, practically) own all of the products that I would like. Here is my wish list of things I would love to call my own. What’s on your wish list?

Purple LAMY Al-Star Pen

It was a rare case of love at first sight when I saw the new Purple LAMY Al-Star Pen. That might sound a little extreme, but this shade of deep wine purple is my absolute favorite color and I have been wanting to get a new fountain pen to plan lessons and grade papers when I start student teaching next year.

Pentel Slicci – Set of 8

The Pentel Slicci gel pen has quickly become my favorite everyday pen. It’s especially good for jotting down notes in the margins of books and articles since it has such a fine tip. I would love to have this colorful set to start my quest of owning all the colors!

Robert Le Heros Journal

I have always admired the size and feel of the Robert Le Heros journals, and the cover design is so pretty! I am coming to the end of my current Clairefontaine journal, maybe this one will be next!


The best part of this game is that in the heat of serious bean negotiations true personalities come out, and they are often surprising and hilarious. Since so many of my friends own this game I haven’t picked it up for myself, but when I move away I will definitely have to buy it and take it with me.

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A Lefty’s Favorite Gel Pens

After trying and rejecting (due to left-handed smearing issues) many types of gel pens over the years, I’ve finally found two kinds of gel pens that I absolutely love!

At the top of my list would have to be the Pentel Energel liquid ink gel pen. Even when I use this pen with a 0.7mm needle tip I do not smear the ink! The Pentel Energel pens I’ve been using have lasted several years without running out of ink and I love that you can get refills in the color violet (I have them in all colors). Another great thing about the Pentel Energel pen is that it comes in other styles besides the basic pen. The Energel refills work with the Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip DX pen and the Pentel Tradio is available in colors ranging from a subdued a matte brown to a zingy metallic watermelon red. I find the grip on these Pentel pens to be very comfortable in my hand and they are nice smooth writers.

The other gel pen that I love also happens to be made by Pentel – the Pentel Slicci gel pen with a 0.25mm tip. This pen comes in an array of colors and I prefer it when I need to write small or when I’m doing detailed drawings. This is another gel pen I can use without smearing ink all over the place. I’m still working on my collection of pen colors… perhaps I should just break down and buy the set of 8 pens. We’ve heard from Pentel that a metallic version of this pen is coming soon!

If any of you know of other good gel pens to recommend for left-handed writers or have thoughts about Pentel Energel liquid gel pens we would love to hear your comments!

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