Notebook Review: Dominant Industry Ink Archiving Book

My favorite part of the fountain pen hobby isn’t the pens, it’s the ink. While fountain pens aren’t required in order to enjoy ink, paper is necessary. Typically my ink reviews will use several types of paper – I believe that gives a more in depth understanding of how the ink will behave in any situation – but I stick with the same 3-4 notebooks and rarely branch out.

But I’ve found something new.

Dominant Industry just released an Ink Archiving book. This book started life as a Kickstarter project and recently became available to the general public – however, there is only one retailer in the United States where I could find the notebook – Pen Chalet.

The paper in the Ink Archiving book is 100gsm – heavy enough to hold up to quite a bit of ink along with watercolor paint.

The 252 pages in the book consist of three sections – section 1 uses a double-page spread for each design (every design is repeated once in this section).

Section 2 uses the same design rotation, but each double page spread is one printed page and one blank page facing it. The only aspect of the Archiving notebook that I would  change is in this section – I would prefer the back of each printed page to be blank so I could use heavier applications or wetter media without the risk of bleeding through another design.

Section 3 can be used for swatching or archiving ink, cataloging the inks used in the rest of the book, or tracking currently inked pens. This is the smallest section in the book while sections 1 and 2 contain an equal number of pages.


The designs in the Ink Archiving book are reminiscent of a nature study notebook showing an overall scene and calling out individual sections or animals in detail on the opposing page.

I tried to push the paper to get a feel of the amount of ink it could handle so I used several layers of ink and plenty of water.

This finished page showed no signs of feathering or spreading of the ink.

Below is the back of the page above. There was no bleeding at all through the paper. There’s a small dot of ink On the goldfish fin, but that was my own careless flinging of ink and not bleeding.

The full scene page is where I was tougher on the paper – I used lots of layers, bright colors, and sheening inks. I was able to get sheen using Octopus Sheening inks and Wearingeul Anne of Green Gables.

Below is the back side of the page above. The only ink here is ink showing through on the lower right shell. This was a section where I had applied two layers of watery ink then dotted the starfish with a heavy application of red ink.

It’s difficult to show the condition of the paper after the ink and water dried – there was a bit of wrinkling of the page and left the material slightly… crinkly. The paper held up much better than I expected – I was pleasantly surprised at the quality.

I’m looking forward to filling up the entire Ink Archiving book! This is an amazing idea that was well-executed and selling for a more-than-fair price (Pen Chalet is offering it right now for $22.40). The only problem is trying to get one!

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1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. Well you have skills. I wonder how color pencils or markers would work, though it’s not intended for those.

    I might be able to color those with a pencil…but a nib — wouldn’t be so pretty.

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