Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Review: Hippo Noto Tomoe River Notebook on @Kickstarter

Not too long ago, Krystle from Squishy-Ink contacted me to ask if I would be interested in helping out with her upcoming Kickstarter project. The Kickstarter is called Hippo Noto (a Hippo-sized Tomoe River notebook), with an accompanying custom ink color: Robert Oster's Hippo Purple. The ink review is coming up on Thursday, but here's an overview of the notebook!
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Visit the Kickstarter page to snap up a notebook and ink!

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ABOUT

Size: Pocket A5 - slightly smaller than A5 at 131 mmx 208 mm
Color: Cream
Ruling: Dot grid, blank, ruled
Page Count: 500
Paper Weight: 68 gsm
Price: $33.00USD for one notebook
Where to buy: Kickstarter

APPEARANCE
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I won't spend too much time on the little details as I have a prototype and there will be some minor changes to it. The covers and pages have rounded corners, the elastics and bookmarks match (or almost match, or complement) the covers. The three colors combinations currently available are black & blue , lavender & pink, and turquoise. What's your favorite?

Inside, the pages are flush with the notebook. There is no wasted space. It's just right down to the business of sexy, fountain pen friendly paper. Should you need it, there is an expandable pocket on the inside of the back cover.

PERFORMANCE & FEEL

I love the simple design of the notebook. Notebooks don't have to be complicated, and I actually find them somewhat intimidating to use when they are. I just crack them open, soil a page, then I don't have to worry about what genius things to put in it, because my genius already soiled it. 
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68 gsm Tomoe River paper is just as fountain pen friendly as the one most of us know, the 52 gsm Tomoe River. If you dislike the lightweight, crinkly, prone-to-dog-ear-ness of the 52 gsm stuff, then the 68 is the perfect alternative. It still offers all the great fountain pen friendliness, without the crinkle, dog ears, and lightweight feeling. It's still lightweight, but it's not - no pun intended - paper thin. The color of this paper is pretty easy on the eyes - not super bright white and not so yellow that it really affects the appearance of your inks.
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I personally love the crinkle of 52 gsm Tomoe River, but I didn't find myself missing it with this notebook. It performed well, took ink like a pro - there is show through in the pictures as you can see, and some bleed through, but I was really ladling on the ink here. With normal writing, it's solid. The paper got a little warped and crinkled a little after drying, especially where I had used a lot of ink, but the elastic closure still held the notebook shut, and I didn't find the dried pages annoying to write on. I actually really love the tactile experience. 
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Everyone that loves Tomoe River loves it because it's so good with inks. Inks pop, shine, shade, and sheen like crazy. It brings out the shading, shows off the saturation, and the particles in inks sit on the page, giving it a second layer! Bleedthrough is visible below because of the intense saturation of the swabs on the other side. With regular use, it will not bleed. 
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PROS/FEATURES
  • Lie flat, thread-bound notebook - easy to open, write on all sides and parts of the pages, and it will lie flat without you having to wrestle with it.
  • 500 pages of cream Tomoe River paper - cream of the crop, as it were. This stuff is the bomb-diggity. I'm so sorry I said that.
  • Elastic closure - I found the cover stays closed without the closure but as the notebook fills up, especially if you are using wet media and the papers warp, the closure will be useful.
  • Two ribbon bookmarks - well shucks. Ribbons always look pretty.
  • Ships from the USA - perfect for those local.
  • Pocket A5 size - slightly smaller than traditional A5, but super convenient and portable. A5 is my favorite size but I'll happily take pocket A5.
  • Interior back pocket - I almost never use these in a notebook, but they are useful if you need to carry little bits of paper, or blotting sheets. 
  • Various ruling options: dot grid, blank, ruled. Dot grid is where it's at though.
  • Three great color options: I'm sorry, I can't even settle on just one. 
  • Adorable design on the front - who doesn't love an adorable hippo icon?
  • Fountain pen friendly paper
    • Shine, sheen, shimmer, shade!
    • Ink looks wonderful on Tomoe River paper, and the writing experience on such paper is exquisite. I don't really want to use much else.
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CONS
  • With regards to the Kickstarter, I really love the notebook. The downside is international shipping is pretty high, so you may want to consider stocking up or a group buy to make it a little less painful.
OVERALL

Aside from shipping, the notebook (and ink) is a great deal. The paper alone is worth it - 500 sheets of 68 gsm Tomoe River is delicious, and you get a cute notebook, and support a worthy project. Check out the stretch goals as there are so many extra good things going on. In my case, a notebook I truly love inspires me to use it, and I get all sorts of creative ideas when I'm scribbling in it. 

I received this item on loan for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion! This notebook will travel on to the next person and the on to another and another and another...

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