We just got in our shipment of Tomoe River Paper! We’ve been excited about this, and a little uncertain, as getting it into Canada has not been as easy. The paper is a little hard to come by, especially in Canada as it’s not readily available from many retailers, so you have to order directly from Japan, in large quantities. I’ve heard of a few group buys in pretty large volumes, but if you’re not quite ready for that kind of commitment, we’re here for you.
Tomoe River paper was originally designed for large volume catalogue mailings – light weight, yet able to handle ink on the page well. However, the paper has begun to build a bit of a following in the pen and paper community because it’s such light, smooth, thin paper that handles fountain pen ink exceptionally well. Higher weight paper (like the 80gsm Rhodia pads that I sometimes use for writing samples on the blog) often handles fountain pen ink well, but it’s rare to find something very thin that also does the job, and very well at that.
It’s similar in texture and feel to Bible paper or onion paper or tracing paper, kind of crinkly and easily wrinkled. If you’re worried about it, you’ll definitely want to move your paper around in a folder of some sort. The paper is acid-free, and a very light cream colour – not a white, but not quite ivory.
With such a nib on the finer end of the size spectrum, this paper had no problems at all. Shading, super smooth (although the Pilot 78G is also quite a smooth nib), zero feathering of any sort, and no bleed-through. What more can you ask for?
This paper is actually kind of exciting because even though it’s so thin, there is extremely minimal bleed-through or feathering, even with your broadest nibs. The ink sits beautifully on top of the paper, crisp lines and shading even with finer nibs.
Even with your flex pens or broader nibs, this paper is great. There is quite a bit of “ghosting” or show through – meaning you can see the ink shadowing from the other side, especially if you hold your paper up to the light.
I tried out the paper with a Noodler’s Ahab and a few italic nibs.
The Noodler’s Ahab is where you can most see the ink, since it’s a pen that lays down ink heavily. Even with the sharper tines spreading, and almost digging in ridges at the edges of the letter, still no bleed-through!
With finer nibs, maybe up to a broad, you should be able to write on both sides easily, since there’s no bleed. However, you may find that the shadow of the ink on the other side may make it difficult to read if you’re using darker ink colours with flex nibs or really broad, wet nibs.
One good thing about the paper being so thin is that you can print off a dot, grid or lined template to go behind the paper as a guide for whatever you’re writing or drawing, which you can reuse over and over again.
If you look carefully at the close-up of the word “Ahab,” you can see how the paper has a slight indentation along the flexing of the tines – and even with that digging in, such beautiful, crisp letters!
The biggest downside to the paper is the dry time. It’s a bit of a balance – the more feathering you get, the faster your ink will dry precisely because it’s being absorbed into the fibres of the paper. To get the really crisp lines, the ink will dry as it’s sitting on top of the page, so you’ll need to be careful to not smudge it as you’re writing.
But…to get such beautiful lines…
This paper is great for…writing long letters, sketching and drawing, practising calligraphy, journaling. It’s wonderful.
We’re selling them in 50 loose A4 sheets, which will come in a plastic sleeve with a cardboard sheet to protect it from bending. We’re planning on expanding to different sizes and in glued pads as well for convenience.