BARON FIG - DISCIPLINE & IMPULSE
Sketchbooks and notebooks for thinkersABOUT
After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, the Baron Fig Confidant sketchbook is now available to the public.
Ruling: Dot Grid, 5 mm
Paper Weight: 100 gsm
Sheet Count: 192 pages
Price: $15.95USD (free US shipping)
Where to buy: Baron Fig
The paper is off white and easy on the eyes. The dot grid pattern is in a light grey, dark enough to be seen but not so dark that I find it obstructive. I also like the appearance of the paper, with its rounded corners to match the cover.
I love the size and weight of the whole notebook itself. Bigger than pocket-sized so nice for larger projects, but not a giant notebook that is cumbersome to carry around and open on a table at your local coffee shop. You don't want to be one of those people who take up all the space. The paper feels like that you would find in a sketchbook, some kinds of sketchbooks anyway - heavy, fairly smooth, but also with a little bit of tooth.
The notebook lies flat, but not without cracking the spine. It does lie flat, yes, but it's not like you open it anywhere and it just stays that way. This isn't a bad thing. You also want the notebook to stay closed when you're done, however, having to crack the spine means it's a little difficult for it to stay closed. Personally, I like the look of a well-used notebook, so this suits my tastes. Others prefer a pristine notebook so this might not be your thing.
Pencil: Pencils worked well on this paper, handling the tooth easily, especially pencils with soft lead like the Palomino Blackwing 602. It would be suitable and enjoyable to sketch and draw in this notebook with pencils because the paper is heavy but allows for smudging of pencil lead
Dong-A Miffy 0.5mm). There was no bleed through.
Stabilo Easy Original rollerball exhibited feathering.
Ballpoint: Ballpoint pens, not surprisingly, were just fine in the Confidant. Honestly, I popped a Schmidt Easy Flow 9000 refill into a Retro 51 Tornado in the stainless lacquer finish. Looks pretty fine, hanging out with the soft grey Confidant. Also, the ink smells amazing. Okay, but this is a notebook review...
Drawing & Calligraphy Inks: Tolerated well by the paper - very little feathering, very little show through, and no bleed through, barring exceptional cases where I actually applied way too much ink. The feathering is not visible to the naked eye either.
ématite anniversary ink, all of which display a sheen, feather little, and do not show through or bleed through. Pilot Iroshizuku, which is quite well-behaved in general, showed little feathering.
J. Herbin Rouge Hématite does well and feathers very little, but J. Herbin Green Apple, a much more watery ink and one without a sheen feathers like crazy. This was tested using a Waverley dip nib.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE?
How does The Confidant compare to the Gold Standard of notebooks for fountain pens? Rhodia and Clairefontaine - for most users - though I'd argue Tomoe River for myself because I don't care about bleed through, but that's an argument for another day...
The Confidant is a whopping 100 gsm, making each page feel quite thick and heavy, hence the art/sketchbook feeling. Rhodia paper, some of the top-tier fountain pen-friendly paper, is 80 gsm, and Clairefontaine, right alongside Rhodia in terms of its fountain pen-friendliness, is 90 gsm, so at 100 gsm, my expectations were high. What the Confidant lacks, however, is that smooth coating that Rhodia and Clairefontaine possess. That coating stops fountain pen ink from soaking into the page and results in the feathering and bleed through that seems to be extensive here. The advantage to not having that coating is drying time is much faster on the Confidant than it is on Rhodia/Clairefontaine.
- Available in blank, ruled, and dot grid.
- Opens flat - no wasting space against the inner margins because you can't reach them.
- 12 perforated pages (6 sheets) at the back.
- Acid-free archival quality paper.
- Dot grid allows you to use the ruling in any orientation.
- Tolerates liquid acrylics really well - really nice for artists (not that I'm an artist).
- Sheen can be seen for those inks that have one.
- Lacking an elastic closure - especially if you use it for artistic purposes, the paper gets crinkly and the notebook doesn't close as well.
- After a week of use, the bookmark started to fray. Concerned about its life.
- Not completely fountain pen-friendly.
I must say, this is a very attractive, simple notebook, in the best way possible. I love its simple elegance and minimalistic appearance. I picture 20 of these lined up on my shelves, all full of clever writings and drawings, looking awesome. I love uniformity. No, I don't have OCD, why?
The thick paper tolerates many utensils very well - gels, pencils, ballpoints, some roller balls (easy on the liquid inks), liquid acrylics, and drawing/calligraphy inks. I'm hesitant to say this is entirely fountain pen friendly because of bleed through and feathering. While the feathering is not always visible to the naked eye, the way the paper accepts the ink changes the writing experience, and micro feathering can be felt. With a loupe, that feathering is very obvious. Personally, I use a lot of flex pens and those pens are very wet writers, so I expect the paper I use to tolerate the ink very well. On the other hand, the paper does show off the sheen for those inks that have it.
Is it fountain pen friendly? My requirements are: no feathering, sheen must be visible if the ink displays one. I will accept bleed through and show through (I know, I may be insane). This paper has very little to no show through, sometimes there is bleed through, you can see the sheen, but feathering is an issue, therefore overall, I cannot say it's completely fountain pen friendly.
Still, I would highly recommend this to replace your Moleskine. Highly.
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