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The Paper Plane : Paperblanks Embellished Manuscript

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The Paper Plane : Paperblanks Embellished Manuscripts


I've been enjoying this little corner of the web for some time now, mainly focusing on inks and pens. But these are more or less useless without the humble paper or notebook that will let you capture your thoughts. So here comes the "Paper Plane", where I review some of the paper and notebooks that I've enjoyed using over the years. Today's guest is the Paperblanks Embellished Manuscripts journal, and more specifically the Ultra variant of this nice piece of stationary.


The Paperblanks company was founded in 1992 in Vancouver, Canada, by Victor L. Marks. As stated on their website paperblanks.com, he was driven by his passion for beautiful journals: "The joy for me is in making beautiful books that people use as a creative tool in their personal lives." No kiddin' - this is a really spot-on characterization of these notebooks. Paperblanks journals have beautiful cover designs, and even more importantly, they are quite suited for writing with a fountain pen.


My own favourite of the Paperblanks variants is the Embellished Manuscript style with the magnetic wrap closure and 144 pages of ivory-coloured paper. And I always choose the Ultra size with blank pages, which is more or less an A5-size. For me, this is the ultimate tool for personal journaling. A beautiful piece of stationary, that invites you to slow down your life a bit, and share some daily thoughts with the paper. These journals come in a huge variety of cover designs, so you're sure to find some that are to your liking.


Each Embellished Manuscript journal models its design on a manuscript page from a well-known personality - a writer, composer, inventor, scientist, ... Attention to detail is amazing. The front cover typically shows an embossed page from the author's manuscript. In the sample above, I show the front cover of the Bram Stoker journal, based on the Dracula novel. The colour palette follows the topic ... in this case the pale white of the vampire, with the red blood splotches. The author's name in his/her own handwriting is embossed on the magnetic wrap closure. The back cover continues the theme and gives the author's dates of birth and dead, and the name of the work from which the cover design is taken. At the back of the journal, you'll find more extensive biographical information about the author and her/his work. You'll also find a back pocket for storing some memorabilia. I really appreciate the attention that is given to all these details.



For a fountain pen user, the most important part of a journal is undoubtedly its paper. Let's have a closer look to see if it's fountain pen friendly. Paperblanks paper has a nice off-white ivory colour, that is gentle on the eyes in any lighting conditions. It's also acid-free paper, making it very durable - your notebooks will easily survive for centuries when proper care is taken. The paper for the Embellished Manuscripts journals is on average 120 gsm, with some slight variability due to the production process. Technically, it is "laid paper", which gives it a nice textured surface. It follows the traditional laid pattern with a series of wide-spaces lines (chain lines) parallel to the shorter side of the paper, and more narrowly spaced lines (laid lines) at 90 degrees to the chain lines. For more detail have a look at Wikipedia (search on "laid paper") for lots of interesting details. Suffice it to say that the result is a nicely textured writing surface. The paper takes fountain pen ink really well - typically without feathering, see-through or bleed-through (although I must confess that I occasionally encounter an ink with some slight see-through - but that's really the exception).



The Paperblanks Embellished Manuscript notebooks are my personal favourite for daily journaling. I really like the practical design with the magnetic wrap closure, and of course the multitude of simply gorgeous cover choices. And the ivory paper with its textured tactile feel works really well with fountain pens, and can take almost all inks without glitches (no feathering, no see-through or bleed-through). At about 22 EUR, they are certainly good value for money. I've been enjoying these journals for about 5 years now, and will most certainly continue using them. Highly recommended !

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  • txomsy


  • adim


  • ScarletWoodland


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Excellent review! No doubt my favourite! I wish they had a "plain" division that made regular notebooks as well or loose sheets of paper. Then I would never look again at another paper or notebook. They give the ideal feeling and looks of the ink on paper, in my opinion: ivory, a bit feedbacky, quite thick, just great!

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I'm a recent convert to Paperblanks and have a Rhodin Midi from the embellished manuscript range. My Paperblanks herd has grown alarmingly of late :D


Even though I have many, lovely notebooks with equal or superior (to my eye) paper, these just feel special.

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