I’ve always heard such good things about the paper quality of the Apica C.D. Premium Notebooks that I jumped at the chance to finally try the A6 blank notebook ($10.25). Its a small pocketable softcover with warm white pages and a slightly metallic graphite grey cover with a bookcloth taped spine. It has 96 pages and crisp square corners. It’s about a half an inch larger in height and width than a pocket-sized Moleskine if you’re not familiar with the A6 size.
Inside, the paper is a soft, warm white. Not ivory, just a natural white and silky smooth.I used the notebook on and off for a week before I felt like I oculd make an informed opinion about the notebook because I had some surprising results the first couple times I used it. I had heard that the Apica premium paper was awesome so I assumed my fountain pens would work great.
What I discovered was that, for me, it was too smooth for most of the fountain pens I use. The inks from fountain pens either took too long to dry or kind of bled a bit and softened around the edges. And the paper was so smooth that I felt like I was chasing the smooth nibbed fountain pens around on the paper. However, what I did like using on this paper were felt tip pens like Microns, the Sharpie Pen, brush-style felt tips or even a PaperMate Flair. The felt/fiber tips seemed to have just enough traction on the slick paper to make for a wonderful writing experience. Gel pens and rollerballs also did well on the paper too. The one fountain pen I did find that worked well was the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen so I suspect that other microfine fountain pens might also perform well.
I had decent results with colored pencil. I tested graphite after I photographed. Palomino Blackwing 602 smudged a bit because its so dark but a harder 2H Turquoise worked quite nicely. I think a standard HB or 2H pencil or a mechanical pencil on this paper would be a good match up as well.
Overall, once I got over my disappointment that this notebook wasn’t going to be THE notebook for fountain pens, I ended up really liking it. I really like the size, the soft cover and creamy paper. It creates a nice form-and-function arrangement that I really like.
DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
3 comments / Add your comment below
I have found the Apica CD11 (not premium) notebooks to be really, really good for fountain pens. They are A5 and very thin, so not for all use cases, but the paper is great. I’ve also had the same issue you describe with the Kokuyo High Grade, so it makes me think the coating on many of the Japanese “nicer” papers just gets too slick for fountain pens. Then again, these days it seems like everything other than Tomoé River feels just a bit (or sometimes a lot) like plastic to me rather than paper.
I was about to say the same thing! The cheaper Apica line has great paper for fountain pens. And I too love the thin A5 notebooks. (Perfect for short projects or for a light notebook to carry everywhere.) Give it a try!
I use an Apica CD 11 and 15 for my law office to-dos, one for every day and one divided up for my life ignition files 2 pages each). Also, use a small pocket Apica for travel, hike, scooted-writing, etc. all are great for fountain pen ink, and except for the occasional Tsubame, they are my work notebooks of choice,
Thx for the review,