Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Does the right paper make you more productive?

Red Safari on Black Moleskine on Red Habana on ...you get the idea

I have obviously tested quite a few different kinds of paper. Paper for writing, for drawing & painting. While I can be creative with whatever you put in front of me, I find myself to be a great deal more productive when the paper and the media work together in a way that I find harmonious.

I'm still trying to find the "ultimate" paper for journal writing because without a functional form factor to suit my needs, good paper is useless. Take the Pentalic Sketch Journal as an example. Great paper, but I need a hard cover and a book that open/lies flat. I liked the design and plain ivory paper in the Medio Ciak but eventually found that the paper didn't work as well with fountain pen ink as I would have liked it to. Right now, I'm working in a Rhodia Webnotebook and it seems to be meeting most of my needs, (I would prefer a plain papered version...) but I will have more to say when I reach the end of the book.

One thing that drives me crazy is having to finish a journal that I don't like using. The volume of my writing tends to slow, and if it's really bad, I will stop using it and start a different one - though I will go back now and again until I eventually finish it.

So how does this work for you? Do you write/draw etc. more and of better quality/quantity when you use a paper that you really like? And what do you do with the products that you don't like? Can you work through until it's completed?


B Irwin said...

Absolutely! I hadn't thought it made a difference before I began experimenting with the Clairefontaine, Exacompta, and Rhodia products. But with great fountain pens, the right ink color, and papers that let the ink flow almost hypnotically off the nib of my pen, I find my characters almost dancing onto the pages of my latest manuscript.

The Clairefontaine staple and cloth bound notebooks seem to be best for manuscript purposes as I can bend them back on themselves when writing on a lap board.

The Quo Vadis Habana is my choice for now, for convention and class notes, as it, too, will bend back on itself at need, and I can use the elastic to help anchor the pages back both when writing and transcribing.

I haven't used the Rhodia Webnotebook enough to come to a determination. I think the pages might be too tightly stitched to really get it to lay flat, but the paper is exciting. I'm still unsure how I feel about the shift in paper color/brightness. It takes running thru a few to really settle on "this is it" for a particular project.

I just placed an order for more of the Clairefontaine staple bound, as I KNOW they work for me, and I'm waiting for a sale or another site to put bulk purchases up to buy more of the cloth bound and Habana. Too many websites seem to think only journallers use these, and sparingly, rather than bulk purchases, and they make it difficult to buy in bulk.

viola said...

I like the "whitelines"-paper very much:


very good for university stuff. :)

Sophie_vf said...

I'm not sure if better paper makes me more productive, but bad paper/form factor does frustrate me and send me hunting in cupboards (or on-line) for something that will work better. Or, I avoid the task in the first place because it has an added annoyance factor... SO...maybe yes, in a roundabout way.

Joel said...

Just started an Exacompta sketchbook after having used moleskines for the past couple of years. I find the paper interesting, and good (so far) with my Noodler's Black and rather wet Pilot 823. I was starting to get frustrated with moleskine paper - perhaps this last one was part of a bad batch or got "compromised" somehow, as I had never had such problems before. But I can tell this bendy cardboard cover and the rather tall "profile" of the book (height of page off the desk when just starting) is going to take some getting used to :-P

I'm thinking a leather cover would help. The Exacompta fits fine in my sister's Renaissance Art moleskine cover, although vertically it's a little loose and horizontally it prevents any meaningful use of the pen loop.

Bart Newton said...

Yes, paper quality makes a difference in my writing experience. I thoroughly enjoying writing in my composition notebooks (as journals)that have fountain pen-friendly paper--Staples Eco-Friendly (bagasse) and Norcom (made in Brazil ONLY). I can't wait to finish using my large Moleskine for this year's daily journal. The paper is inconsistent and the rule is too narrow for my taste. I plan to either switch to a Rhodia Webnotebook or go 100% with the composition notebooks mentioned above.

lee said...

I agree I have a hard time finishing the journal if the paper does not do what I want it to. If it cant take a beating, I dont like. I love your blog i read all your reviews. I bought the red fountain pen Lamy after reading your review, Just as I was searching for my first fountain pen and I love it.....keep up the good work.

Stephanie "Biffybeans" Smith said...

B - The good stuff is good, isn't it? I just blew through 13 pages the other night describing a particular event in my life. (When my Gram passed in 2000) The smoothness of the pen on the paper allowed me to just keep going & going and going until every last word was out.

Viola - I still haven't tried whitelines... keep meaning to.

Joel - Moleskine paper vs the Exacompta sketch... that's a huge difference indeed. Keep your eyes open for these covers - http://www.shopwritersbloc.com/exacompta-basics-sketchbook-with-madeira-cover.html It's not leather but they seem to make for a stiffer cover.

Sophie - :o)

Bart - I have experienced the inconsistencies of the Mole paper - though I have always liked the books design. The Webnotebook is quite similar, but with a heavier paper that won't bleed with water based inks. Try a Webbie. You just might like it. :o)

Lee - thank you kindly for your comments! I'm glad that my reviews have been helpful. I like to write often, and sometimes for long periods of time at a clip. When I fall on a journal that doesn't make me comfortable, I find that the quantity of my writing suffers. I NEED the good stuff. LOL

Stephanie said...

What a good question. I've been trying to figure this out myself. There are two journals that I REALLY felt good about using, and both had blank pages and fairly thick paper. I wrote and drew in them. I do definitely write and draw more when I have paper I really like and a journal that I really like. Right now my journal is a Paperblanks and I find it just too small for me. My hand is cramped. (How do people write in tiny journals?) I do write through products I don't like, with the one exception of a book with paper too flimsy for anything, even pencil. Don't know what to do with that one...

(Most of my journals are from Target or Paperblanks. Someday I'll try more of the ones reviewed here...)

Anonymous said...

I use Clairefontaine because I grow up with it and never really found anything better, apart Oxford which I think is Clairefontaine too. (90gr).

I drove pass Staples in Tottenham north London, and I saw a notebook/journal which open really flat, cream paper, brown or black leather with gilded border pages.
I thought, hmmm, should I?
I did not, but still think about it. Anyone wanting to try and let us know would be good. I wont drive there for a while.

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