Favorite Paper and Notebooks

Paper is a huge part of this hobby, and I think that it can often be taken for granted. Although not as flashy as the pens and inks, the writing surface will ultimately make or break your experience. Most people find a paper that they enjoy and then stick with it for years—until they find something interesting that excites them. Below is a running list of my favorite paper and notebooks that I expect to regularly update as I encounter new products and options. Note that most have been chosen for suitability with fountain pens and ink.

At the end of the day, paper-preference is a very personal thing and will vary across the board (i.e. whether you like sheening/shading, an ultra-smooth writing experience, or quick dry times), but I hope you find this helpful when choosing your own notebook!

1. Rhodia Notepads

  • ideal for desk notes
  • very smooth, coated, and bright white paper
  • 80 gsm and handles ink well, though smoothness can cause occasional skipping in some pens
  • I typically use this paper as a base line when testing and tuning new pens and nibs

2. Apica CD Notebooks

  • 34 sheets of incredibly smooth paper from Japan with a reinforced stitched binding
  • 6.5 mm ruled pages with a designated location for the date and title on each page
  • affordable (around $4-$5), and for the quality, it’s hard to beat as a general notebook for many types of situations
  • ideal for class notes or journaling
  • if I could only use one notebook for the rest of my life, it’d probably be this. Great paper, more durable than you’d think for a cardstock cover notebook, affordable, and its form factor (thin and light) makes it practical for slipping into a briefcase or book bag
  • Jetpens.com offers a wide variety of colors and sizes

3. Leuchtturm1917 – A5/A6 Hardcover Notebooks

  • ideal for bullet journaling
  • Slightly toothier than Rhodia/Clairfontaine paper, but handles fountain pens and most inks very well
  • 80gsm, uncoated, and slightly off-white/cream colored paper (not as much as the Rhodia Webnotebook)
  • Has a table of contents, archiving stickers, and numbered pages. Probably the best all-around notebook for most people in various situations. I use a line Leuchtturm for my work notes

4. Tomoe River Paper

  • ideal for journaling and testing inks
  • very thin 52 gsm paper, but incredibly fountain pen-friendly
  • arguably the best paper to bring out the sheening and shading qualities of an ink
  • thinness makes it difficult to use as an EDC (for me at least), but is an absolute joy to use at home or in the office when I have time to write
  • Nanami Seven Seas makes an excellent 400+ page notebook with Tomoe River Paper

5. Fabriano EcoQua – A5 Staple-bound Notebook

  • paper is slightly toothier than Rhodia/Clairfontaine paper but handles FP ink really well
  • bright white, uncoated, 85 gsm paper
  • more durable than you’d expect from a staplebound notebook
  • affordable (less than $5)
  • ideal as a commonplace notebook for quick notes and ideas

6. Mnemosyne A5 Spiral-bound Notebook

  • coated 80 gsm paper with perforated pages
  • durable plastic cover
  • ideal as a meeting notebook for working professionals needing a more understated design
  • a bit expensive, but very high quality paper and smooth writing experience

7. Field Notes

  • Not perfect for fountain pens, but has recently been one of the most used notebooks in my collection. I always have one in my back pocket, and I carry a few extras in my bag. Mainly used with a Fisher Space Pen or a Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball (Schmidt P8126 refill)
  • Lots of different designs and covers
  • Portable, practical, durable, and relatively affordable



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