Thursday, April 26, 2018

Review: Taroko Design Tomoe River & Orchid Paper Notebooks @cohobbyist

Thanks to Cohobbyist for sending several Taroko Design notebooks for a review! Here we have the Orchid Paper notebook and the 68 gsm Tomoe River notebook.

ABOUT

Size: A5
Page count: 64
Paper weight: 80 gsm
Paper color: Cream
Ruling: Dot grid 5 mm
Cover: 180 gsm linen
Binding: Staple
Price: $10.00 CAD
Where to buy: Cohobbyist

PACKAGING

None, thank goodness.

APPEARANCE

The Taroko Design Journal notebook has thick, flexible linen covers and has two staples on the binding, sharp corners, and cream-colored pages inside. The Orchid Paper notebook has a light green cover with Taroko Design Journal Notebook Orchid Paper printed on it in black, as well as a sketch of flowers (orchid?). The Tomoe River journal has a dark brown cover. Both have grey 5 mm dot grid that is easily visible but I find that on the Orchid notebook a little visually obstructive. They are simple notebooks that I really like. Flat profiles, folded over but even cuts, and that's it. So basic.
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PERFORMANCE & FEEL

I love how thin, compact, and portable these notebooks are. Easy to slip into a bag, and especially useful at pen meets and pen shows. The notebook is floppy so one must use a writing board or write on a hard surface. The covers are not all that great at protecting the paper but the slim profile makes it relatively easy to keep safe - whether in a folio or tucked away somewhere, whatever works for you. I usually carry mine in a leather folio.
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The Orchid paper is smooth but does not feel coated. It's stellar as all-around paper. It's great with pencils - slightly toothy so it works well for hand lettering, sketching, and writing. Ballpoints, rollerballs, and gel pens work fine - no feathering to really talk about, some show through, but no bleed through. Markers work fine but you can expect some more show through and some bleed through.
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Fountain pens? Mostly yes. It is not wildly fountain pen friendly like the Tomoe River paper below, but it's still a solid paper. It's a little more absorbent so wet writers did give some show through and sometimes bleed through but feathering wasn't really an issue. Shading was visible but inks don't pop as brightly as they do on Tomoe River. Sheen was muted by the absorbency of the paper, but particles were visible.
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When ink dries on the page, it felt a little crinkly and warped. I like that feeling a lot because it's so very tactile and a tangible representation of filling a notebook. So satisfying! The upside to all this is drying times were pretty fast, so it is very convenient.

The Tomoe River paper notebook is delicious. I'm a big fan of the 68 gsm paper, but the 52 gsm is also available at Cohobbyist if you prefer. It's very fountain pen friendly and a pleasure to write on.
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OVERALL

Love it. I had never used the Orchid paper before but I love the way it feels. It works really well with pencils, ballpoints, and many fountain pens. The Tomoe River is a no-brainer. Both are portable, comfortable to write in, and fairly affordable - a bit of a splurge, but worth it.









I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

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