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In search of the best paper for fountain pen use


Hello everyone! ๐Ÿ˜€ This has been a long time coming but I finally managed to get around to it. So this idea came to me when I received a notepad from Colorverse that had Tomoe River Paper in it. That paper is regarded by many to be the best paper for fountain pen use and it produces the highest amount of sheen with inks out of all the papers. I thought to myself that there is surely paper better than Tomoe River floating around somewhere, I just need to find it. So I decided to go on a quest to find the best paper for fountain pen use!

As it turns out, there isn’t a paper (or I haven’t found it yet) that excels at everything. Nonetheless there are a couple of good papers out there that I can recommend for you guys to try out. I’m not going to babble on much longer so let’s start.

Or you can skip to the “Final Thoughts” section -> here


Since everything started with the questions: Is there a better paper than Tomoe River Paper? What are some good papers for writing with fountain pens? I have decided to use Tomoe River 52 g/m2 as the baseline to which I’m comparing the other papers. Obviously please take these comparisons as my own personal opinion and perception of these papers. In no way have I used scientific methods or equipment to examine the papers and the inks on them. I also went out of my way to choose brand or papers that came recommended by others so you won’t find utterly useless papers in this list.

There were 6 (six) characteristics that I took into consideration, rated from 1 to 5:

  • Bleed-through prevention – this is actually when the ink comes out on the other side of the paper, for some this might be a deal breaker if it’s too excessive.
    0 = please call an ambulance; 5 = no bleed-through
  • Feathering resistance – another important aspect, an important one for me definitely as ugly feathering will just look horrible.
    0 = put this paper into a bird cage ; 5 = no feathering
  • Ghosting resistance – also know as see-through, it’s worth knowing about when getting papers and it’s prevalent with very thin ones, things can get annoying when ghosting is too visible. 0 = who you gonna call?; 5 = no ghosting
  • Shading – pretty straight forward, inks behave differently on different papers and shading is quite important for a lot of folks. I’m going to admit that this way a bit hard to keep consistent since in my opinion it’s hard to differentiate the amount of shading produced.
    0 = no shading; 5 = beautiful shades of the ink color
  • Sheen – again something that is highly sought after and one of the main selling points of Tomoe River paper is its ability to produce sheen using inks that might otherwise not exhibit any on other papers. 0 = no sheen; 5 = put on some sunglasses
  • Writing experience – Mainly about how it felt to write on the paper, how satisfying it is to use the paper and the different pens. This is a completely subjective scale based on my personal preference an what I consider to be a good writing experience.
    0 = rough, bad writing exp; 5 = sex is good but have you ever written on this paper?

Last but not least I’m also going to write a few thoughts about the paper after I do a writing session on it. For this part I used the same pen and ink on all papers. A Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl M and Pelikan Edelstein Olivine ink. (not illustrated on the scans because I’m testing the papers while I’m currently writing this article, and because I usually write obscene words when I do tests. I hope I’m not the only who practiced some of them to perfection? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ)

The scanner I used was a Brother DCP-L2532DW multi functional printer. The images were scanned at 600 DPI and saved as a TIFF file using default scanner settings. I didn’t edit the colors, the changes I made were cropping/rotating, resizing and saving them as JPEGs at 85 quality settings.

Papers Used

Click on their names to go directly to the page they are featured on.

  1. Tomoe River 52 g/m2
  2. Bank Paper 84.9 g/m2
  3. Clairefontaine Papier Veloute 90 g/m2
  4. Clairefontaine Smartprint Clairemail 60 g/m2
  5. Colorverse Japanese Paper 64 g/m2
  6. Fabriano Ecoqua 85 g/m2
  7. Fabriano Schizzi 90 g/m2
  8. Franklin Christoph 90 g/m2
  9. Gmund Bauhaus Dessau ?? g/m2
  10. Gmund Bavarian Book Blocker Paper ?? g/m2
  11. Hahnemuhle Federzeichenblock 250 g/m2
  12. Hahnemuhle Hand Lettering 170 g/m2
  13. Hahnemuhle Layout 75 g/m2
  14. Hahnemuhle Manga 80 g/m2
  15. Maruman Croquis 52.3 g/m2 (available at Pennonia -> here)
  16. Maruman Report Pad 60 g/m2 (available at Pennonia -> here)
  17. Oxford Orange Pad Optik Paper 80g/m2
  18. Piccolo Press Writing Paper 160g/m2
  19. Rhodia Dotpad 80 g/m2 (available at Pennonia -> here)

Final Thoughts and price comparison.

Inks and Pens Used

  1. Pelikan Edelstein Star RubyPelikan Souveran M605 White Transparent B
  2. Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm – PenBBS 350 F
  3. Colorverse Methuselah Tree – PenBBS 323 M
  4. KWZ El DoradoFaber-Castell Ambition M
  5. Colorverse Sea of Tranquillity – PenBBS 323 M
  6. Pelikan 4001 Dark Green – PenBBS 350 F
  7. Diamine November Rain – Faber-Castell Loom B
  8. Ferris Wheel Press Tanzanite Sky – PenBBS 323 M
  9. Pennonia Tihanyi Lila – Wing Sung 698
  10. Colorverse SupernovaPelikan Souveran M600 Turquoise White M
  11. Diamine Oxford Blue – Rotring Newton M

Diamine November, Oxford Blue and Colorverse Supernova were chosen because they are known to sheen. Later in the article you’ll see me referring to the sheeny inks. I’m talking about these three.

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