First a disclaimer…I am fairly new to the forums…joining only in March. And perhaps this topic has already been written to death. But I’ve been writing cursive italic for 40 years.
Everyone seems to rave about Tomoe paper for writing with fountain pens. But it’s not my favorite writing paper. I know this can vary from person to person, depending on many different things, the pen, the nib, the ink, whether you prefer some “tooth” or not.
Today, I was writing a letter on Tomoe 68 gm paper. I often use an italic fountain pen for my writing….and I write in cursive italic. But I seem to find it difficult to write on Tomoe paper with my italic pens. I was wondering if others had as difficult a time writing on Tomoe as I do. The paper is super thin, which doesn’t particularly bother me. But I think it is the extreme smoothness (almost slipperiness) that gives me trouble. It is so slick that it is difficult to form proper italic letter shapes (I’m talking quickly written cursive…NOT formal italic) and I am not able to get the nice thick and thins that I get with a “toothier” paper. So I got out 6 different types of writing paper that I have on hand:
1. Strathmore Series 400 Calligraphy writing paper 75 gm
2. Rhodia High Grade Vellum Paper 90 gm
3. Tomoe 68 gm paper
4. Triomphe Clairefontaine Vellum paper 90 gm
5. Md Midori Loose leaf paper 70 gm
6. Strathmore Premium Writing Paper 25% cotton 90 g
I took out several different pens with different nibs…from extra fine to medium regular nibs to italic extra fine to double broad. I wrote the same sentence on all the papers with all the various pens and nibs.
I would say both Tomoe and Rhodia paper produced the most “saturated” colors with a higher sheen. Both are very smooth papers. It is difficult for me to control the uniformity of my handwriting as well on these papers. I just don’t have the control of my pens that I would like to have…especially my italic pens. They simply just don’t “feel” as nice to write on as some of the other papers. The ink lines are slightly thicker on both of these papers.
The next smoothest paper was the Triomphe Clairefontaine. I felt I had more control over my pens on this paper. It is slightly “toothier” than the Tomoe and Rhodia. My pens grabbed the paper better, so I had more controll over my pens. The italic pens seemed to work much better on this paper also, providing nice thicks and thins.
Next for me was the MD Midori paper. Very similar to Triomphone Clairefontaine, but just slightly toothier. Writing on this paper was perhaps the best for both regular fountain pens and my italic pens with italic cursive. The ink flowed very well, it was nice and saturated.
Next was the Strathmore Premium Writing Paper 25% cotton. Actually, I really liked writing on this paper also, especially with my regular nibs. The “toothiness” made control of my regular nibs very easy. My italic nibs did not write as well on this paper, since it is rougher than the other papers. Formal italic would work fine but cursive italic handwriting is a little more difficult. My regular fountain pen nibs worked well on this paper. Nice saturated ink and dried quickly.
The last paper, Strathmore Series 400 Calligraphy Writing Paper 75 gm is a bonded paper. So there are very small ridges running through it. Regular fountain pens again worked very well on this paper. But italic cursive writing was the most difficult on this paper because of the ridges in the paper. This paper would be OK for formal italic. The paper itself is the prettiest paper of all 6 that I tried.
Since ALL of the paper I tried is “writing paper,” I really did not have any major problems with bleeding or feathering. Comparing the ghosting from best (least show through) to worse (most show through):
Best: MD Midori
Strathmore Calligraphy Paper
Strathmore Premium Writing Paper 25% Cotton
Worst: Tomoe 68 gm paper
My conclusions regarding these papers for the way that I write, and the pens that I use:
For both regular nib fountain pens and italic nibs, I prefer both the Midori and Clairefonatine. These 2 papers work the best (FOR ME) as all around writing paper.
For formal italic, I would normally use specialty papers….but the strathmore calligraphy paper, as well as the Midori and Clairefontain could also be made to work okay for formal italic.
If I’m only using regular fountain pen nibs (not italic), then all of them EXCEPT Tomoe and Rhodia. The Tomoe and Rhodia paper are simply to slick for me. I don’t like how my pens feel when I write on these papers, and I am not able to control my pens well. I suppose you could say they are “too buttery” for my taste. Sorry about the pun. I like to be able to have control and “feel” my pens working on the paper. And I do NOT have a heavy hand when I write.
I know most people will probably disagree with me, but that’s just my opinion based on my experience with these papers. In time and with more writing experience, this could change. I’d be curious about how others feel; especially in regard to using italic nibs for cursive handwriting. What paper do you prefer? Which nibs on which paper. And why?