What is Fountain Pen Friendly Paper?

If you are a writer that uses fountain pens you may have noticed that not all paper is created equal. The performance of your fountain pen may be spectacular on some paper, but less than desirable on others. How do you determine what paper is fountain pen friendly – that will give you the performance you want with your fountain pens?

The answer to this question is kind of like the answer to the question, “What is a comfortable pair of shoes?” Everyone has their own opinions and not all of them are the same, but there are some similarities in the answers. If you ask the question, “What is the most comfortable pair of shoes in your closet?”, then the answers will vary even more!

Many opinions of what fountain pen friendly paper is will include the following (but not necessarily limited to these things or in this order of importance):

1) The fountain pen ink does not bleed through the paper excessively.

2) The ink is not overly visible from the back side of the page.

3) The ink does not feather or has minimal feathering on the paper.

4) And for the lefties of the world I will add the ink must dry within a reasonable amount of time on the paper! In fact, this personally is my highest priority, otherwise I cannot use the paper with a fountain pen. I’m hoping the use of fast-drying ink will expand my fountain pen friendly paper selection.

If you ask the question, “What fountain pen friendly paper is on your desk?”, you’re likely to get a variety of different answers! Each fountain pen nib, each brand of ink, each color of ink and the paper in each notebook or journal will interact differently when used with each other. The equation pen + paper + ink = good/bad results changes each time you change a component of the equation. This is why in our online store we cannot say for certain which paper is fountain pen friendly and which is not. There are brands of paper that in general are known for good performance with fountain pens, but within a brand there may be several types and grades of paper, some of which may not be so fountain pen friendly.

There are many online reviews of various paper products that can be very helpful in making your choices. The Writer’s Bloc blog has a number of reviews with writing tests showing the performance of a limited number of fountain pen inks on specific paper and notebooks. Before purchasing your journal or notebook, why not do a search on our blog or use any search engine to find some reviews? From our own experience, experimenting yourself with pens, ink and paper will help you to find what you personally like the best.

So I must ask, “What fountain pen friendly paper is on your desk?”

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Fountain Pen Friendly Planners

Many people consider paper to be fountain pen friendly if it has the ability to prevent the following three problems: ink feathering, ink bleed through and show through of your writing (so that you can clearly write on both sides of the page).

Quo Vadis, Exacompta and Rhodia planners all have very high quality paper, and I would have to say their planners with 90g paper are the most suited for use with your beloved fountain pen. I’ve compiled a list of which of these planners contain 90g paper:

Weekly Planners with white 90g paper:

Rhodia WebPlanner 6×9
Prenote #24
President #16
Trinote #48
Minister #15
Executive #14
Hebdo

Weekly Planners with colored 90g paper:

Space 24 – soft green paper
Visual – soft green paper
Note #27 – ivory paper
Minister #15 – cream paper for the Habana and Smooth covers (discontinued)

Monthly Planners with white 90g paper:

Monthly 4 #76
Visoplan #67

Academic Planners with white 90g paper:

Academic Minister #34
Septanote #49
Principal #31
Scholar #55

I must also mention that the Quo Vadis Exaplan #66 21-month planner has 85g white paper. This paper likely performs almost as well as the standard 90g Clairefontaine paper.

As as lefty over-writer, my own personal requirements for fountain pen friendly paper are a bit different. In addition to the three requirements mentioned in the first paragraph, the ink must also dry fairly quickly on the paper to avoid smearing or I end up not wanting to use it. I compensate for this partly by choosing ink that dries reasonably quickly, but I am willing to compromise somewhat on the bleed-through, feathering and show-through issues to speed up the ink drying time.  I do well with the ink-proof paper inside Leuchtturm1917 planners. I believe this paper is typically 80g, so there is more show-through compared to a 90g paper. This issue may bother you, however to my liking, ink seems to dry more quickly on Leuchtturm1917 paper than it does on Clairefontaine paper.

While they are still in stock many of these planners with a variety of different covers can be found at Writer’s Bloc. If you see something you want and we don’t have it please feel free to ask if we can special order it. Planner season is upon us (what happened to summer?) – get your fountain pen friendly planner now before they’re gone!

What’s your favorite fountain pen friendly planner?

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Equation for the Perfect Writing Tools

If you are particular about what you write with like me, you may agree that the following equation, when put together just right, adds up to a great writing experience:

Pen (A) + Ink (B) + Paper (C) = The Perfect Writing Experience (YAY)!

There is no right or wrong answer to this equation since the answer will depend on the preferences and tastes of the writer.

I’m still in the process of experimenting with pens, inks and papers to see what works for me. Being a Lefty adds some additional challenges since I’m always trying to avoid a big mess of smeared ink. Much to my dismay, I’ve discovered that I am not able to use Clairefontaine’s fabulously smooth 90g white paper for everyday writing with a fountain pen. Almost all fountain pen ink dries too slowly on this paper for my style of left-handed writing and I make a huge mess. *Sniff* However, I can use this paper successfully with a fine nib Platinum Preppy fountain pen using Platinum ink cartridges, Pentel Energel or Slicci gel pens, or some other non-fountain pens and pencils. I’m in the process of testing other types of Clairefontaine paper such as the Graf it sketch pads to see if I can use it regularly with fountain pens. It seems that I need a paper that is slightly absorbent and not too coated, that still resists ink feathering and bleed-through. Right now I am loving J. Herbin Ink since it seems to have a pretty decent drying time. As regards to the pen I use, well, is it possible to have too many pens? I tend to write with whatever I’m in the mood for that particular day.

This is where I need to hear from you. Please leave a comment and tell me what your perfect writing tools are. I’d love to get some valuable tips from other writers!

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