I recently discovered a whole end-cap at the Hallmark Gold Crown Store of blank journals. There were lots of fun patterns and designs. Some were hardcover or soft cover, some with elastics and others with ribbon bookmarks. I couldn’t limit myself to just one. So I bought three. All three journals (a fancy term for blank notebooks) were approx. 6″x8″ and contain 160 pages. The paper feels weighty — thicker than the paper in the Piccadilly I reviewed last week.
Inside, each book had different printed lines and designs — some were simpler than others. The three I purchased were each different.
The purple floral book has an embossed, hard paperboard cover with an ecru colored paper lined with light purple dashed lines.There is a matching blue-violet elastic running vertically on the back to hold the book closed.
The Indian print design is a flexible cardstock embossed with glossy patterns. Inside, the pages are varied with 4 different designs over two page spreads in lime, blue, orange and pink with Indian patterns along the edges with coordinating dashed lines. It has a bright pink elastic to hold it closed.
My favorite inside designs were in the yellow-and-black zig zag cover of the Peanuts “Schulz” journal. The pages are off-white and have gray dotted lines which are flanked by Charlie Brown and Snoopy yelling across from the lower left hand page to the lower right hand page.
The back pocket on the Peanuts journal has tone-on-tone red dots and the Charlie Brown and Snoopy doing the happy dance on the pocket on the back cover. Along the spine is the Schulz signature.
The Indian print notebook has a yellow print pocket that matches the inside covers.
The purple floral book has a coordinating pattern on the inside covers and the gusseted pocket on the back cover carries the pattern as well.
Now, the big test is how well does the paper take ink? I tested the Indian print journal first and was surprised how well it took ink.
From the back of the page, the only show through was the alcohol-based marker pen. All the fountain pen ink did not bleed or feather or show-through. I suspect a very wide nib, dark black ink might show through on the back of the page but I was quite pleased with the paper overall. The patterns are fun and make it enjoyable to flip the page and see the new color.
The next book I tested was the purple floral journal and expected it to perform very similarly to the Indian print journal but the paper seemed to have some sort of coating on the paper that caused the ink to bead and dry very slowly. It did not work well with any of my fountain pens but the gel pens behaved just fine.
Again, on the reverse, I had very little show-through except the alcohol-based marker (i.e. a Sharpie marker) but the water-resistance of the paper makes me sad about this journal.
With trepidation, I put pen to paper on the Peanuts journal and was delighted to discover that it behaved like the Indian print notebook. Fountain pen ink was acceptable easily and there was no feathering or much show-through.
In retrospect, when touching the paper only, the Peanuts notebook and the Indian print notebook have a soft powdery feel while the purple floral notebook paper feels very smooth. So, if you decide to peruse the selection at your nearest Hallmark Gold Crown store and fountain pen use is something you want in a notebook, rub the paper between your fingers to see how it feels.
There were lots of other designs to choose from — an array of patterns, cover materials and lines inside– at the Hallmark Gold Crown Store. All the books sold for $11.95.