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Is Moleskine good for fountain pens?

January 12, 2023 7 min read

Is Moleskine good for fountain pens?

I anticipate criticism and outrage in response to this piece, but Moleskine has become the industry standard notebook, for better or worse, throughout the years. Moleskine notebooks, first and foremost, come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations. The design is minimal and sleek overall. No one can really hate them even if they try. To put it mildly, they are unadorned. Plus, you can find them almost anywhere. The airport, the bookshop, the coffee shop, and your favorite boutique all sell them.

The final straw was a remark someone made recently, which seemed to imply that the paper used in the Cahier, Volant, and regular Moleskine Notebooks was of a different quality.

Okay, now I have a question that needs answering.

So, I went to the Barnes & Noble near me and picked up a brand new copy of each in the regular large format. I was concerned that older versions, which could have been printed on lower-quality paper and were just lying on my shelf, might be missing. The thinness of Moleskine paper made it an easy choice for me while shopping for blank notebooks; I frequently utilize guide sheets. All the Moleskine notebooks come with a variety of colorful covers, but I opted for the classic black. Seeing that I was unable to get a black version of the Cahier, I opted for the next best color, which was a neutral grey.

Similarly, I tried out the 2016 week-on-two-pages planner with a soft cover that I purchased from Jenni Bick. My test hypothesis for using the planner as a wacky variable is that the printing process adds a coating to the paper that may affect ink adhesion.

What is the best journal for fountain pen?

It's not that I think Moleskine notebooks will magically become perfect for writing with a fountain pen or anything like that, but I know plenty of readers who don't require paper that works well with a fountain pen 24/7. And while we love our Baron Figs, Field Notes, and Word Notebooks, there are many more that we use frequently but which do not accommodate fountain pens as well as we would like.

fountain pen with its lid off making splotches of ink on a white note

We are huge fans of writing instruments of various shapes and sizes, including gels, rollerballs, ballpoints, pencils, felt tips, brushes, and so on. Additionally, there are occasions when we require something readily available at a size that will fit in our preferred Fauxdori, Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter, or any other bag or pocket we may need to load with paper.

When I initially looked at my spreadsheet, I saw that the Cahier 3-set was a better value than the Volant or the soft cover notebook when compared on a page-by-page basis, regardless of any promotions or discounts. Cahier sets nevertheless have "extras" despite less sturdy coverings thanks to the inclusion of perforated pages in the back and a pocket. I just found that to be a noteworthy observation.

fountain pen on paper with ink text on a white background closeup.jpeg
In my opinion, the XL edition is not noticeably different from the large, soft-cover, simple notebook that I have used. The paper performed as I had hoped, and I like the flexible cover as an improvement over both the traditional hard cover and the flimsy paper cover of my previous notebook. The flexible leatherette cover is comfortable to hold and can be folded back or laid flat, depending on my needs. Furthermore, it reduces the book's overall thickness by a hair. Like the traditional hard cover version, the soft cover notebook has a gusseted pocket at the back, a ribbon bookmark, and a vertical elastic.

The Volant's coverings are the toughest-feeling of the three.

Instead of the leatherette quality of the soft cover, which feels more supple and upmarket, they feel more like cheap plastic. One thing I do appreciate about the Volant is that you may choose to have all the pages perforated. The Volant is the most adaptable notepad for jotting down to-do lists and random thoughts. The Volant is an extremely minimal and well-designed notebook, with no frills whatsoever (no ribbon bookmarks or pockets). Writing on the Volant matched the sample exactly to that in the simple notebook. The Volant is my husband's top pick.

Cahier notebooks have beautiful covers made of kraft paper and visible stitching.

Cahier paper did seem to feather fountain pen inks more than Volant, soft cover, or planner paper. With the exception of the Cahier, my TWSBI EF's J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor performed admirably. I can't say for sure if the peculiarities I observed with the Cahier paper were the result of chance, but it seemed to cast more shadows and bleed through to the back side than the other three types of paper. Perhaps that's why the price-to-value ratio is slightly better. Ultimately, you get what you pay for.

Finally, I also checked the 2016 Weekly Planner's week-on-two-pages format (with the same soft cover as the plain notebook) to make sure the paper quality was consistent throughout the printing process. I used the identical pens and inks on both the plain notebook and the Volant, leading me to believe that the paper in both was not printed on. The printing lines don't appear to diminish the quality of the paper, and the Cahier paper still feels a touch more absorbent than the other papers. Moleskine notebooks with lined or graph paper will hold up to the same scrutiny as the plain books.

The smooth texture and comfortingly neutral white hue of Moleskine paper are two of my favorite features. The soothing and comforting white tone is sure to put a smile on your face. It's easier on the eyes than the standard white page of most notebooks.

It is encouraged that you examine the photos in as great detail as you desire for the purposes of the written assessments, thus I have left the original file sizes intact. You can see that Moleskine paper works well with standard, fine-line pens. Even the most elegant fountain pens acted like adults. Felt tip pens, such as the Sharpie and the Staedtler Triples Fineliners, work wonderfully on the Moleskine paper. They hold on for dear life and leave beautiful marks.

Opened blank notebook with elegant golden fountain pen on wooden background.

If you like a fine writing instrument, you won't have to worry about snagging a 0.25mm on the tooth of the Moleskine paper. Even pencils have no trouble moving around on the page. My current favorite Platinum Carbon Pen glides across paper just as smoothly as the Pilot Hi-Tec C and the Energel Needletip. Many writing implements are delightful on Moleskine paper, notwithstanding the problems with some fountain pens and fountain pen inks.

Moleskine paper is perfectly suitable for my needs because I perform most of my everyday writing and drawing with a 0.5mm tool or smaller. The results were consistent across all of the regular paper types. I found that the paper was sensitive to my body heat and moisture levels. Neither is it made of thick paper, but then again, neither is Tomoe River. There are pros and cons to every notebook and paper option; Tomoe doesn't feather, but it's translucent and it takes forever to dry.

Some ghosting and show through on the top row of pages (the planner and the Cahier) is visible when viewed from the back. However, it is not distracting. Even when using two-sided paper, I find that I only need one side for my plain paper journals. Rather than using pencil, I use color-coded gel pens in my calendar on a daily basis because they don't bleed through as much as pencil does. The results of the pen tests in reverse were not quite as dismal as I had feared they would be. Even my brush pens showed some restraint, albeit I didn't use many large calligraphy fountain pens.

It would appear that the Cahier paper is thinner and of worse quality than that found in the Volant and ordinary notebooks. If you want to dip your toe back into the Moleskine pool, I'd choose the Volant or one of the soft cover notebooks rather than the Cahier.

Close-up of fountain pen and book

The fact that I've been using my Moleskine XL as a daily sketchbook since the end of last year has piqued my curiosity in everything Moleskine-related. My attitude toward the potential of Moleskine notebooks has changed. Each day I've taken the XL to and from work, I've scribbled in it, written in it, stamped it, doodled in it, and watercolored in it. Nothing bad happened as a result. Three months' time. Please don't stop publishing it; I'm enjoying painting in it. This is why we have notebooks, by the way, and I look forward to continue to fill the pages. That's why I always have a notebook on hand: to jot down ideas and sketches.

You shouldn't feel bad about using whichever notebook inspires you to make marks, write your tale, store your memories, draw, scrawl, or jot down your grocery list. Make good use of your beloved Moleskine. If you want, you can use a notebook made of Italian embossed leather that you bought from a vendor on the Bridge of Sighs. In the end, it doesn't matter which kind of notebook you go with because the one you have on you at all times is the finest.

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