Fountain Pen Friendly vs Fountain Pen Fun Paper

John BosleyPaper 5 Comments

I talk a lot about paper that is fountain pen friendly. I truly believe that using good paper is one of the most important aspects of writing with fountain pens. But today I want to talk about something a little different, and that’s paper that is fun to use with fountain pens, or what I like to think of as “fountain pen fun” paper.

What Is Fountain Pen Fun Paper?

So how would I define fountain pen fun paper? Let’s start off by defining what it is not. There are many papers out there that are fountain pen friendly, but for one reason or another, are just boring to write on. It doesn’t matter how little they feather or bleed, they’re just not exciting to use. A few that immediately come to mind are Rhodia, HP Premium32 and Mnemosyne. While all are very fountain pen friendly, in my opinion all of them are also boring to use.

So fountain pen fun paper must be the opposite of boring, right? Exactly! It shows shading and sheen. It has an interesting texture. It handles copious amounts of ink (and maybe even water). In short, it is not just fun for writing, but also for playing. Have you ever played with your pens and ink? I have to admit, it is quite a fun experience. If you’re interested, the most critical part of pen play is the paper that you use.

fountain pen fun paper hippo noto notebook

Finding paper that you love playing with fountain pens on is such a treat.

Fun Paper Recommendations

Now that you’re (hopefully) interested in learning more about fun paper to use, I’ve got some recommendations for you! I’ll break it down into some of my favorite papers, both for writing and for playing. By default, all of the papers are fountain pen friendly, so regardless of which category they’re in, all papers work well for ordinary fountain pen use. Let’s dive in!

Writing Papers

One of my absolute favorite papers to write on is Romeo paper, which is made by Itoya. Writing on it is an experience unlike any other paper. The surface is very smooth, but not quite slick. The best words I can use to describe it are silky and buttery. It truly brings a smile to my face every time I use it and I find myself trying out every single pen that I have inked up just to see how they feel on it.

fountain pen fun paper itoya romeo

This Romeo paper from Itoya is some of my favorite to write on.

Another paper that I find myself writing on with every pen that I have inked up is Cosmo Air Light from Yamamoto. This paper also has an interesting feel when you write on it, and it handles ink very well and shows amazing amounts of both sheen and shading, typically even more than Tomoe River! I find myself doodling on it just to see how different inks look.

fountain pen fun paper yamamoto cosmo air light

Cosmo Air Light from Yamamoto handles ink so well and makes it look fantastic!

You may know that I doodle with fountain pens fairly often and my go-to paper for this is Midori MD. Inks look great on it, it is wonderful to write on and it will even stand up to some water being added to it. While it may not be unusually fun for everyday writing, it is one of the papers I use the most when I doodle for fun.

fountain pen fun paper midori md

Midori MD notebooks handle fountain pen ink very well and are my go-to for doodling.

Playing Papers

While I don’t mind writing on Tomoe River, it is by no means my favorite paper. For writing, that is. When it comes time to play, it’s one of my first choices. Many people know that it shows more sheen than most papers, but that comes at the cost of increased dry times. One benefit of these long dry times seems to be that the paper can handle incredible amounts of ink and water without issue. This is one reason I like it so much for playing. Since it is so thin, it does tend to crinkle a bit, but this doesn’t bother me. Ink will still show through to the other side when enough is applied, but when you’re playing with ink and water, chances are you’re not going to use both sides of a sheet.

fountain pen fun paper tomoe River

Tomoe River can handle ink and water, so playing with both can make some interesting creations.

Another type of paper that I love to play with pens and ink on is watercolor paper. It’s not technically writing paper, but it does handle water and fountain pen ink very well and is surprisingly nice to write on! Since it is made for watercolors, it shouldn’t be surprising that it can handle lots of liquids, but the thing that really surprised me the first time I put fountain pen ink on it was how much the ink sheened! I have spent many an enjoyable evening just playing with ink and water on watercolor paper, anxiously waiting to see the results once it’s dry. It also works well for ink chromatography. One thing to note: if you go out to buy some watercolor paper, I prefer hot press over cold press due to the smoother surface that hot press paper has.

fountain pen fun paper

Since watercolor paper handles water so well, it’s a natural for playing with water and ink.

One thing to note is that the paper in the above image is actually mixed media paper. While it is not exactly the same as watercolor paper, it performs very similarly with ink and water and is much less expensive. The notebook I use is a Canson Mix Media notebook.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t intend to play with your fountain pens and simply want to write, any fountain pen friendly paper should work just fine for your needs. But if you want to have a little fun with your pens, I’d suggest trying out different papers until you find one (or a few) that really speak to you. This way, when you write on them your experience will be a bit more enjoyable and less mundane. If you’ve never played with ink and water on paper, I can’t recommend it enough. Grab some Tomoe River or watercolor paper and give it a try. All you need is ink (either a bottle or in a pen) and a bit of water. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it!

Comments 5

  1. Exactly!! I use ink and water for different effects in my watercolor work. Such fun playing and finding inks that slowly separate into different shades / colors. Chameleons, in a way! Admittedly, I no doubt have more sheets filled with fun ink time (experimental, lets say) than finished work! It takes a lot of play to find the media’s capabilities. Thanks for the article, John!

    1. Post

      Glad to hear I’m not the only person who loves having fun with ink and water! It’s such a joy finding inks that separate into interesting colors that you never expected. Keep having fun!

  2. I’m using my Lamy fountain pen with Noodler’s Heart of Darkness ink in my Canson mixed media sketchbook. And it’s taking forever to dry. As in hours, days?, never?. I’m not understanding the above recommendation to use fountain pens with watercolor or mixed media paper, unless you want it to run and smear, which I do not. I want to add watercolor or watercolor pencils to my drawing, but the ink is not cooperating.

    1. Post

      Hi Anne, sorry to hear it! I know that some people have had issues with some Noodler’s inks taking a long time (never) drying on some papers. I’m not sure about Heart of Darkness, but I’ve experienced it with Apache Sunset. There are probably some ink/paper combos that just won’t play nice together. I’d suggest trying a different black ink. Personally, I’ve had excellent luck using Platinum Carbon Black (even on watercolor paper) without smearing. Hope you can find a combo that works for you!

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