Graphilo Notebook Review

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(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

I first heard about Graphilo Paper from my friend Chris, a.k.a. Mr. Paper, over at Anderson Pens. His review of this notebook was downright giddy. After he let me try it out at pen club, I was sold. I've been hauling it around for a few weeks now, and I feel pretty comfortable saying that it's one of my new favorite papers. I just need someone to bind 200 sheets of it into one book.

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The Graphilo notebooks come in three styles, all A5 size with a thin cardstock cover. There's a white cover that has 8mm lined paper, a grey cover with 4mm graph, and a cream cover with blank pages. Each notebook has 32 sheets. They're bound as one signature with a sewn binding. It's a sturdy spine--I haven't had any issues with the binding at all. The cover is just the right amount of firmness and flexibility--though you will need a writing surface. There are no bells and whistles--this is pure minimalism. No pockets or bookmarks or index. There is a faint foil logo in the upper-right corner of the cover--but it's inobtrusive enough that I keep accidentally opening my book backwards. I'm going to have to deface the cover to save myself that irritation. The clean, minimalist look is nice--but not always practical.

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The paper is, of course, what takes this notebook to another level. It isn't as smooth to the touch as Rhodia or Tomoe River paper. It has some texture to it that gives excellent pen control, but it doesn't feel scratchy or grabby. There is some feedback, but it's pleasant. Despite the texture on the paper, I didn't have any feathering with any ink that I tried. I even literally poured ink on the page and it just sat there--it didn't even seem to want to run when I tilted the page at all. It's like the paper has its own special ink gravity. Once I did get the ink to spread around, I was able to see how nicely it showed shading and sheen. It doesn't show it quite as nicely as Tomoe River does, in my opinion, but it's still lovely--and I prefer this thicker page and texture.

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On the back of the page, I can see some show-through, but just barely. The only ink that bled through was where it sat in a puddle for quite some time. None of the pens bled through except the Sharpie. When Chris used a Sharpie on the blank paper, it didn't bleed--so there may be some difference between them, there. Mine bled even with light pressure. But I'm not going to write in my nice, slim notebook with Sharpie--that would be silly. It performed excellently with literally everything else. The tooth on the paper even made it a delight with pencils.

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One downside to the paper was dry time. Any paper that prevents bleeding this effectively is going to have a slow dry time, but this was pretty excessive. Even at 30 seconds, the ink smudged. At one point, I wrote a full page, and the ink at the top of the page still transferred to the page opposite when I closed the book. It must have been at least five minutes later. So I would highly recommend using a sheet of blotting paper with this notebook. I use one in my Nanami Paper Seven Seas Writer--it's no bother and definitely worth it. I've been using the same single sheet for over a year. Otherwise, what's the point of paper that doesn't bleed through if you can't use the opposite page anyway for fear of smudging ink? Given this, I wouldn't recommend the paper for lefties--at least not with liquid inks.

Ink pour

Ink pour

The only other issue I have with this notebook is the cost-for-what-you-get issue. $14 is quite a lot, and 32 sheets is not many. I want to write a lot more than 64 pages with this paper. At that rate, if I were to get a notebook with the page count I want, it would cost me somewhere upward of $70. My first impulse, when I saw how slim these books are, was to buy several and see if I could use the existing binding stitches to sew a few of them together into one book. That dream quickly evaporated. At that cost, this will be a rare treat, and I'll stick to more economical (albeit less magical) paper for regular use.

If you need a paper treat, though--indulge, because this is a nice one. This is the fancy-flavored liqueur truffles of paper.

(This product was purchased with my own funds from Anderson Pens.)


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Posted on October 5, 2017 and filed under Graphilo.