Saturday, 4 January 2014

Review of Peter Pauper A5 Journal

[click on any picture to enlarge]

I bought this book to use as a writing scrapbook – somewhere I could paste pictures of people I think look a bit like my characters, scribble notes about scenes I can see in my head even if I’m not exactly sure where they will end up, and make general notes about the things swimming around in my head. 90% of all this will probably go nowhere but I do like to trap it all, for the 10% that is useful.

Anyway, the book that I bought was the Persian Splendour Journal by Peter Pauper Press. I bought it from Peter Pauper via Amazon (no affiliation to either, just giving information).

I was a bit disappointed when it arrived as it had obviously been dropped on its corner at some point and bent quite significantly. The packaging was intact so the damage must have happened BEFORE it was sent so it is both disappointing and irritating that they packaged and sent a damaged item.

Other than the damage to the corner, the book looks glorious. The decoration is partially embossed and quite pearlescent in places. The pattern covers the front and spine and back of the book and the book is lined with a matching blue end-paper. There is no ribbon marker however. The size is slightly larger than A5 at 18.4cm x 22.9cm (whole book; page size is 18.2cm x 22.3cm).

After the end-paper, there is a page (inevitably stuck to the end-paper) with ‘Journal’ printed on it and the Peter Pauper Press logo. On the reverse of this is some information about Peter Pauper Press.

Reverse (label came off easily)
Info about Peter Pauper Press

The pages are lightly lined and there are 192 of them. The paper is a light ivory colour and acid-free. The ‘front’ side of the page (right-hand side when the book is open) is very smooth to write on but the reverse of the page is slightly rougher. It is described as ‘archival paper [which] takes pen and pencil beautifully’. My fountain pen tests are included below, along with my general comments on the paper.

Book open - lies flat

The line spacing is quite wide – 7.9mm and the lines are very faintly marked (which I like, but others may not). There are 23 lines per page and the lines do not go edge to edge of the paper, but have a 16mm margin (binding edge) or 13mm margin (outer edge). The top margin is 22mm; bottom margin is 18mm.

The pages are sewn and so the book lies flat and with the hardcover, it will be easy to write on it even without a table to lean on.

Fountain pen tests
These were mixed. At first I was horrified and the pictures may well show you why! Any ‘wet’ nib feathered with a peculiar ‘squashed spider’ effect. Most of them did not have major bleed-through to the reverse except the Ohto Tasche (which is the most challenging of my nibs really) and the Sheaffer calligraphy (also very challenging).

Fountain pen tests: front
Fountain pen tests: reverse
Close-up of squashed spider effect
More squashed spiders
And more of them. And no, I apparently can't spell cyclamen!

However, I noticed that a new (and as yet unreviewed) pen – a very cheap Manuscript brand calligraphy pen – did not show through or feather at all, even though almost every other pen did (it's the sample saying "lligraphy - J Herbin" in the 2nd picture of the squashed spiders above). I have since changed the ink in that pen from poussiere de lune to lie de thé, and have been using it to make notes in the book and there is no feathering and no bleed-through and it has been a delight to write in (phew!). The book is also a good size for sticking pictures in, so all in all it has turned out well.


  1. Urgh, ink spidering *shudder*. I hate that! Why oh why do companies tease by saying their paper is 'ink friendly' or the like when it is no such thing? Pretty book though, and I'm glad you've found a pen that it can handle. Thanks for a great post as always :)

  2. I have tried these journals, and have found that not all feature the same paper. Those with the gold guilded edges seem to have a heavier weight and smoother paper stock. I use a Noodler's Ahab on it (Wet) with good results and no feathering. The un-guilded edge journals have a lighter weight paper, with a slightly rougher feel, that feathers badly with the Ahab. I haven't seen if this is true universally. It is true across the 4 different designs (2 Gold guilded, 2 without.)I have purchased. The heavier paper, I love. The other not so much. They are beautiful books regardless, but I will be seeking out the styles that feature the better paper.