If you are a fountain pen enthusiast and happen to be starting a new journaling hobby, then you are probably hunting for a new notebook. Now, what is the most suitable journal for fountain pens? That might seem like a tricky question but it is not that complicated.
There are lots of journaling notebooks in the market these days but not all of them are the top-notch bullet journal for fountain pens. Fret no more as this article will give you some tips on how to get the right notebook for your new journaling journey.
The Journal for Fountain Pens Reviews
1. Dingbats Wildlife Lined Medium Notebooks
If you are looking for the a journal paper for fountain pens, especially one that you will be using a fountain pen on, it should have a flat lay. This means that the notebook lies flat on the table when you open it and this notebook does just that.
It has incredibly thick pages, 100 gsm to be exact. This means that it should be no problem for you to use a fountain pen and not expect the ink to go through. However, you should still be careful as loose ink can still get through the thick pages.
If you are like me and you want your journal to mirror your personality, I am sure you would like this notebook. It has more than a dozen different colors and as many different designs. The designs are minimalist illustrations of endangered animals, giving a reminder of the company’s advocacy to help the environment.
Speaking of helping the environment, this notebook is completely manufactured without any animal products. It is also cruelty-free. If you are a vegan, you do not need to worry about finding out later that your journal contains animal products.
The manufacturer has an advocacy to protect the environment in whatever way they can. If you feel the same, you might want to support them.
Although this notebook is great for general journaling purposes, you should still be careful in your choice of fountain pen ink. Yes, the 100 gsm pages are quite thick but they are not immune to bleeding through.
In addition, the pen loop is quite flimsy. The adhesive they used to stick the pen loop is quite weak.
- Has a flat-lay design
- Features fountain pen-friendly pages
- Comes in many different colors and designs
- Vegan-certified; does not contain any animal products
- There is still a bit of bleed-through
- The pen loop is flimsy
If you are looking for a journal that also has an advocacy to help the environment, you might like this. However, even though the pages are incredibly thick, you should still be careful with ink bleed-through.
2. Rhodia Rhodiarama SoftCover Notebooks
The thing I liked the most when I started using the Rhodia soft-cover notebook is the quality of the paper. Aside from the thick pages (90 gsm), they are also soft and smooth to write on. I have been exclusively using fountain pens when journaling and it is like I am writing on pure silk.
Not only are the pages delightful to write on but they are also quite resistant to bleeding through. I am not saying that the ink will not bleed through as the highlighter ink would still sometimes show through the page. However, the bleed-through has been very minimal compared to the other notebooks I have used so far.
Another nice feature of the Rhodia notebook is its flat-lay design. Regardless of what page you are on, the spine of the notebook will always lay flat on the table, which is a sign of fountain pen-friendly journals. This means you do not have to roll the cover back when you are writing. Just open the notebook and it will stay in place.
I also like the variety of colors and page styles that you can choose from. Choose the color that suits your personality the best. I like earth tones better, so I chose the taupe cover. You can also choose between lined, dotted, or blank pages. There is a notebook for everyone.
Although this notebook is one of my favorites, I do have a couple of issues with it. One of which is that the pages are a bit too yellow for my taste. This makes the pages look quite old and also hard to erase mistakes using White-Out.
- The pages are thick and resistant to bleeding through
- Has a flat-lay design
- Even though it is a soft cover, it holds its shape well
- Comes in many different colors and page styles
- The pages are a bit too yellow
- The cover is too soft and creases easily
Although the Rhodia softcover does have a couple of flaws, it is still one of the nicest notebooks for journaling. The quality of the pages is quite nice and they are a joy to write on using fountain pens.
3. Amazon Basics Classic Notebooks
This is the most affordable journaling notebook on this list. This is almost half the price of some of the notebooks in this list but the quality is not that far off from them. If you are not that finicky, this notebook should be fine for your journaling needs.
Even if this is an affordable notebook, the quality of the paper it uses is quite nice. The paper is archive quality. This means it will not yellow or turn brittle even after many years have passed. This makes it a great choice for record keeping.
Although this notebook only comes in one cover color, you have a choice between plain, ruled, or dotted pages. The ruled pages have clear lines but they are not distracting. They are just visible enough to guide you to write straight.
Although it is quite affordable, you can look at it from the outside and you won’t be able to tell the difference from other more expensive notebooks. The cardboard cover is quite thick. It comes with an elastic band to keep the notebook closed, a bookmark, and there is an expandable pocket inside the cover.
For the price, it is almost certain that this notebook will not be perfect and it does have a couple of flaws. For one thing, there is only one cover color, which is black. There are manufacturing errors, like glue leaking into some of the pages. On the other hand, you do get what you paid for.
- Very affordable
- Uses archival quality paper – It will not be yellow or turn brittle
- Comes in ruled, grid, and plain pages
- Includes an elastic enclosure band, bookmark, and internal pocket
- Only comes in black
- The glue in the binding seeped through some of the pages
Although the Amazon Basics notebook is not near the same quality as the more expensive brands, it is still a good notebook for journaling. If you are looking for a practical, fairly-priced notebook that does what it is supposed to, then this is the best choice.
4. Huhuhero Ruled Notebook Journal
One of the things that I liked the most about this notebook is its beautiful faux leather cover. Yes, I know for a fact that it is not made of genuine leather, and that’s okay. For the price, I am just happy that it looks nice.
Another surprising thing about this notebook is that despite being one of the cheapest on this list, it has the thickest pages of all. At 125 gsm, this notebook has some of the thickest pages of everything that I have tried so far and it has been a joy to write on.
Just like the other journaling notebooks, you can find all of the basic features that you would in the more expensive brands. This notebook has an elastic closer and a ribbon bookmark.
It also has an expandable inner pocket. I love the added functionality brought about by the inner pocket. It provides a space for cards, receipts, and other various knick-knacks that I may want to keep.
The best thing about this notebook is the price. Just like most people, I don’t care much about expensive notebooks. I am sure that they have their uses and benefits, but I don’t see the appeal of spending upwards of $20 a notebook. This notebook provides me with an excellent writing experience, at a reasonable (for me) price.
For its price, you can almost expect that this notebook will have a couple of flaws, and it has, but none of them are actual deal breakers. For one thing, these notebooks only come with ruled pages. In addition, this does not lie quite as flat as the other more expensive brands.
- Has a beautiful faux leather cover
- Features nice and thick pages
- Comes with an elastic closer, ribbon bookmark, and an expandable inner pocket
- Only comes with ruled pages
- Does not lay as flat as other journal notebooks
This is one of the most suitable journaling notebooks for those on a tight budget. You will still be getting a quality writing paper and an overall enjoyable journaling experience. You can get all that for less than half the cost of other notebooks.
5. Scribbles That Matter Bullet Dotted Journal
The Scribbles That Matter journals have some of the thickest pages that I have seen on a journaling notebook. The pages are 160 gsm thick, which is almost the same thickness as card stock. This is the reason why I am quite confident about using fountain pens in my journal.
Speaking of using fountain pens, it was a joy to write in this journal notebook. The tips of my fountain pens almost effortlessly glide over the pages and there is hardly any blotting. In other journals, the tips of my finer fountain pens always seem to snag on the fibers but this was not an issue with the Scribbles That Matter notebook.
I also like the sturdy construction of these notebooks. The spine is strong yet still flexible to allow the notebook to open completely flat. However, the best thing about this is the faux leather cover. The cover is stiff and resistant to crumpling, thereby helping the notebook retain its shape better.
I do have a couple of minor issues, one of which is the slight bleed-through. Even though the pages are quite thick, fountain pen inks still manage to bleed through slightly. On the other hand, the bleed-through is not that serious, maybe a couple of blots here and there, but it can still be quite annoying at times.
- Has thick 160 gsm pages
- Fountain pens glide smoothly over the pages
- Sturdily built – The faux leather covers help the notebook keep its shape
- Has clear but not distracting bullet marketing
- Customer service is quite lacking
- Even though the pages are thick, fountain pen ink still bleeds through a bit
Despite its shortcomings, the Scribbles That Matter bullet journal is still one of the best in the market. The pages are among the thickest that I have used so far, and even though it bleeds a bit, writing on them is quite enjoyable.
How to Choose A Journal for Fountain Pens
Choosing a journaling notebook that you can use with a fountain pen might seem like a simple enough task but it is a bit tricky. After wading through more than a dozen brands, I managed to whittle down a short list of requirements when shopping for a new journal and here they are:
- Paper quality
- Build quality
- Bleed-through resistance
- Lay-flat design
- Page styles
1. Paper Quality
The first thing that I look at when I am shopping for journaling notebooks is the quality of the paper used. Just by touching the paper of the notebook, you can already tell how good it is.
The paper should be smooth enough that a fountain pen could glide over the surface almost effortlessly. However, it should not be so smooth that the ink could not penetrate the surface.
The paper used for the pages should also be quite thick, especially if you will be using a fountain pen. The pages should at least be 90 gsm but it would be better if the paper is above 100 gsm weight.
2. Build Quality
You will be using the journal for at least a year, so you should choose the best pocket notebook for a fountain pen that is well-built. For instance, the spine should be stiff and all the pages glued to it firmly. You would not want to use a notebook that would fall apart after just a couple of months of use.
The cover of fountain pen-friendly notebooks should also be durable. Ideally, the cover should be something more substantial than the usual card stock. If you can afford them, you should get a notebook with a leather cover, or at the very least, faux leather.
The cover protects the pages inside the notebook and prevents them from getting wrinkled, which is important if you carry your journal everywhere.
3. Bleed-through Resistance
Since you will be using a fountain pen in your journal, it is only natural that you buy a notebook with pages that are resistant to ink bleeding. Even if you are using an expensive fountain pen, there will be times when the ink will flow out unevenly.
Is it fine to just pick the finest school notebooks for fountain pens as long as they have thick pages? Typically, yes thick pages are usually bleed-through resistant but that is not always the case.
There are still some notebooks that have thick pages but the ink would still easily bleed through. The surface of the paper should be treated to prevent bleeding, feathering, and ghosting.
4. Lay-flat Design
Unlike traditional notebooks, when you open up the most preferred notebooks for fountain pens, they will always lay flat on the table. This will make the notebook more enjoyable to write on, especially when you are using a fountain pen. This means that you would not have a side of the notebook that you prefer more.
When writing with a fountain pen, it would be better to do so on a completely flat surface. Try using a fountain pen on a regular notebook, and you will find that it is quite difficult when you reach the middle of the notebook. If a notebook can lay flat on your writing surface, it would be almost like writing on a loose page.
5. Page Styles
There are different types of journaling techniques. The most common is the traditional way, which is just jotting down your thoughts. This means you will be writing on a notebook page with composition lines. However, that is not the only method.
Another journaling style is bullet journaling wherein you will be using bullet points to outline your journal entries. If this is your jam, you can use notebooks with dots. In addition, some people like to add scribbles or sketches with every journal entry and for them, notebooks with plain and blank pages are incredible options.
Choose the best stationary for fountain pens that fits your particular writing style.
Most of the popular brands of journal notebooks are quite expensive. It is easy to justify the high price point if the notebooks mainly use high-quality materials. For instance, a notebook that has a leather cover would be quite expensive compared to traditional notebooks that have cardboard covers.
You can get the most outstanding notebooks by spending quite a lot of money, though. As mentioned earlier, when it comes to journaling notebooks, you get what you paid for. However, this is not always the case as you can find affordable notebooks with similar and maybe even better features. You just need to be a bit more persistent when searching.
Things to Avoid
Just as there are qualities and features that you need to search for actively, there are also some things that you need to avoid. Here are some of them:
Unlike ballpoint pens, fountain pens have sharp writing points. When writing with a fountain pen on a rough sheet of paper, the tip will snag on the fibers. In addition, the fountain pen may also scrape the surface of the paper and cause fibers to clog the writing tip.
In addition, rough paper usually has loose fibers. This means when you write on paper with a fountain pen, the ink would bleed into and through the page easily. The ink would also “feather” into the paper. The ink would, therefore, seep through and spread out on the paper.
Although you can just use traditional notebooks as your journal, it would make the hobby more enjoyable if you use an actual journaling notebook. For one thing, the cardboard covers used by regular notebooks are quite flimsy, so they usually won’t last a year of regular use.
This is more important when you are planning to take your journal with you everywhere. A cardboard-covered notebook will get crumpled and ripped in no time at all. A good journaling notebook should have a stiff and durable cover.
Too Yellow Pages
Some journaling notebooks use unbleached paper, which means the pages are not quite as white as those used by traditional notebooks used in schools. There is something distinctly charming about writing on paper that is clearly imperfect. However, the pages of your notebook should still be as close to white as possible.
I have tried writing on notebooks where the pages have obviously been dyed to look like they are rustic and untreated. And they were horrible to write on. For one thing, if the paper is too yellow, erasing mistakes using correction fluid will only make things look worse.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of paper is best for fountain pens?
Ideally, if you will be using a fountain pen for writing, you should be writing on thick paper stock. The thin paper has little to no resistance against bleed-through, which fountain pens are the usual culprits.
Can I use 70 gsm paper for fountain pens?
If your journaling notebook uses somewhat flimsy 70 gsm paper, there is almost a guarantee that the ink from your fountain pen would bleed through. The ideal paper thickness for fountain pen writing is anything between 90 and 120 gsm.
The best journal for fountain pens is the one that actually lets you write on them using your preferred pen. Once you know the qualities you should look for, you can find a good journaling notebook that will provide you with months of endless enjoyment.