Taroko Design and Tomoe River

Taroko Design notebook paper

The final part of our Taroko Design Trilogy is dedicated to the heart of the books, the Tomoe river paper.

For people that know Tomore River paper then you can just go ahead and skip to the lovely photos. Otherwise let us introduce you to something truly special.

The paper that comes in the Taroko Design notebooks is Tomoe River white 68gsm. This Japanese paper feels very different to the more familiar European paper from Rhodia and Clairefontaine. It is less glossy and more lightweight - reminds me a little of the old tracing paper used back at school, just a bit thicker and less transparent.

So what is it like to write on? Well the good stuff happens as soon as the pen meets paper. Every movement glides effortlessly, leaving a wet stroke behind. The ink sits on the paper for a moment as if on wax paper, floating above and wanting to burst out of line. But it behaves, keeps in and starts to settle into the page. Take a little break and grab a cuppa, it takes a while to dry but it is worth it. Or, do what I do watch and go:

Toy Story Green Alien ooooh

I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of the colours and sheen left behind, I'll leave that to the images below. It's not like any other paper, there is some black magic going on but that's okay with me! I'm afflicted by an addiction to try out any and all inks, pens, nibs and experience how it reacts with Tomoe River. I am filled with delight every time :)

I thought it would be good to point out couple of loved and also unwanted paper properties terminology that burden fountain pen geeks and then show you the difference that paper can make.

Bleedthrough happens when ink (or too much ink) gets absorbed in paper so much, that it gets to the other side of the page. Bleedthrough depends a lot on quality of paper and amount of ink on the page. Tomoe river clears this easily, other paper is not quite up to scratch...

Ghosting (or Showthrough ) happens when you flip the page and can see what's written on the other side. Not so much that the ink bleeds through the page but just enough to cause a distraction. By the nature of Tomoe River being a lightweight paper it has some transparancy but it’s not the end of the world’ scenarios, it's fairly light. The show through on something as thick as Rhodia 90gsm is very faint, almost completely opaque.

Bleedthrough on Moleskine paper

Moleskine paper - Bleedthrough

Ghosting on Tomoe River paper

Tomoe River paper in Taroko Notebook - Ghosting

Ghosting on Rhodia paper

Tomoe River paper in Taroko Notebook - Zero Bleedthrough

Feathering happens when ink on the page dries into a veiny looking tree. Lines don't look sharp or crisp anymore. I can't stand it! It is a true test of quality if paper can avoid this when writing with a fountain pen. Good news - Tomoe River paper excels in this category and shows absolutely no feathering at all :)

Zero feathering on Tomoe River paper

Tomoe River paper in Taroko Notebook - Zero Feathering

Feathering on Moleskine paper

Moleskine notebook - Feathering

Shading is the variation between the light and dark parts of a written line. This is one property which makes writing with fountain pens stand out. Some people find it quirky, others distracting. I love it. This is more of an ink quality, but paper can help - colours on Tomoe River pop!

Tomoe River paper in Taroko Notebook - Shading

Shimmer is when ink with particles, shine and sparkle in the light. J. Herbin 1670 inks come with gold particles; Diamine Shimmering inks have a range with gold or silver…forget the gel pens, fountain pens can do it too.

Sheen is when ink looks as though it has a metallic finish. It is more apparent when you get the right angle under the light. Sheen can be gentle and sit around the edges or it may completely cover the base colour of ink. For me, the more the better! Sheen is not just about the ink, paper and pen often play an important role. Pen – wetter the better. Paper, well, let’s just say that Tomoe River is the champion when it comes to showing off this quality.

Herbin Emerald of Chivor is beautiful green teal ink which has both sheen and shimmer which makes it simply the best :)

Taroko Design notebooks are a great first step into the amazing world of Tomoe River paper - great for travelling and using as a refill. However, sometimes you need something a bit meatier to work with. After discussing with Taroko Designs creator, Steven (interview here), we helped refine some ideas and proudly announce Enigma.

Currently available in pocket A6, lots more pages to fill... Steven is working on an A5 version too so keep with us for more info :)

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