When you get a new fountain pen or bottle of ink, where’s the first place you test it? What about when you meet up with someone else and want to try their fountain pens? How about if you want to try out a new font or doodle? For me, the answer to these questions is always the same. I have a dedicated notebook that I use for fountain pen fun and play.
My Fun Notebook
When I first started becoming more active in my local fountain pen community and going to pen meet-ups, I found that I wanted a place where I could keep track of the different pens, nibs and inks that I had a chance to try out. I started bringing the same notebook with me every time so that I knew exactly where to look when I wanted to refer back to something.
At the same time, I was constantly writing things down and trying things out on random scraps of paper that I had laying around. I usually ended up throwing them away once I was done with them. Then one day I wanted to look back on something that I had already thrown away. I realized that I should have been saving my own personal writing samples as well.
That’s when I realized I should dedicate a notebook to having fun with fountain pens. My original pen meet notebook was a Fabriano EcoQua. While they have great paper, I realized I wanted something that I could not only use for writing with fountain pens, but also for heavy applications of ink and even water. One of the best papers for this is Tomoe River.
It just happens that around this time, I took a trip and wanted to bring along a notebook that I could use for journaling. I had a Hippo Noto laying around that, mainly due to its size, I wasn’t sure how to use, so I decided to take it along. I started out by writing in it like a normal journal, but soon started sketching things that I saw and doodling in my down time. It wasn’t long before I started playing with ink and water in it. That was the beginning of a whole new type of notebook for me… my fun notebook!
So what do I use my fun notebook for? Pretty much anything I want. What started out as a writing journal has become a home for my doodle practice, attempts at sketching, ink chromatography, wacky ideas, and yes, even some writing once in a while. I take it with me when I go to pen meet-ups and keep track of different inks and pens that I try. I let other people use it to try out my pens. In short, I use it for everything that doesn’t already have an official journal like my handwriting practice and daily journal.
One thing that I have found very freeing is not worrying about wasting paper. The notebook that I’m using is huge (500 pages), so it seems like no matter how many pages I use, I still have plenty remaining. This gives me the freedom to use entire pages for playing with water and ink or for testing out new ideas.
Trying It For Yourself
Is this something that sounds interesting to you? If it does and you’re thinking of making your own fun notebook, I have a few suggestions for you. The first, and most important, is use a notebook that you’ll enjoy writing in. It doesn’t do you any good to use a notebook that you have laying around with paper that’s not fun to use. The whole point of the notebook is to have fun! Second, find the right size of notebook for your needs. I mentioned that I really enjoy having a notebook with lots of pages so I don’t feel like I have to conserve paper, but you might get bored with having the same notebook for so long and want to switch things up more often. There’s also the physical size of the notebook. I like using an A5, but some people might prefer something bigger like an A4 or smaller like an A6. Third, I would highly recommend getting a blank notebook. Lines and grids are great for writing, but sometimes it’s nice to have a blank page with no restrictions sitting in front of you.
When you go decide to start a fun notebook, don’t worry about what you use it for and just dive in! I’d even go so far as to suggest just making a page or two of ink splats, scribbles and currently inked pens, just to get the creative juices flowing. Once the first page or two have ink on them, the rest will fall into place. Have fun with it and let me know if you decide to try this and how you like it!
If you don’t already have a notebook in mind, here are a few that I would suggest you consider: