Tag Archives: Clairefontaine

Fountain Pen Friendly Notebooks For School (or When You’re on a Budget)

One of the “next stages” of discovering fountain pens is that you realize that fountain pens don’t work the same on different kinds of paper. There’s office copy paper or school exam paper that can be too absorbent and your ink can feather and bleed all over. If you’re stuck using what you’re using, you can try a finer nib or maybe a different ink, but sometimes you just want your fountain pen ink to look like fountain pen ink.

We get asked about cheap fountain pen friendly notebooks quite often. It’s sometimes from students who are also paying tuition and textbooks and trying to get a meal in every once in a while, but it’s also from people who write a lot and maybe don’t necessarily want something expensive if they’re just scribbling or doodling or writing for fun, or maybe even just trying out fountain pen friendly paper for the first time to see if it will really make a difference (it will!). We have one customer who writes in her journal every night and then throws out her journals when she finishes them, and I’m pretty sure she’s not using Webnotebooks 🙂

Cheap Fountain Pen Friendly Notebook Paper Clairefontaine Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

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Watercolours & Some Thoughts on Creativity

So we’ve mostly recovered from the Vintage Pen Market this past weekend, especially since we also had Monday off. We left all the tables and chairs in the shop to put back together on Monday, along with a bunch of other chores, like grocery shopping and running some errands, but today the shop was back to business again.

Clairefontaine Graf it sketch pad Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada

I’ve been using the Clairefontaine Graf It Sketchpad to try out some new things, and I took a few pictures to share! I actually took these a week or two ago, but managed to let myself get too distracted to remember to post them. Normally it seems like I just use regular notebooks for writing, notepads from Rhodia or correspondence stationery, but I’ve been trying to stretch my creative chops lately.

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How to Use Seyes or French Ruling for Handwriting

Now, I’m not quite delving into the debate about whether or not cursive writing should be taught in public school, but if you are interested in spending some time on your handwriting, French ruled paper, or Seyes ruled paper, could be something to help you out.

Calligraphers also use this paper, sometimes ignoring the “rules” for standard handwriting, but using the lines to help get a consistent size – I’ve seen calligraphers using the Pilot Parallel pens with letters up to 15 or 20 lines high.

This paper looks super complicated, but if you spend some time with it, it’s actually not too complicated at all. The paper has thick lines with three thin lines in between each. These thin lines are supposed to help you keep the size and height of your letters consistent.

Seyes Ruled Paper, French Ruled Paper Notebooks from Clairefontaine

Seyes ruled or French ruled paper is widespread in France, and actually, I think you can find it in many countries in Europe. It’s often used by students, and I think the margin on the left (nice and wide!) is for teachers’ gentle encouragement/corrections. The vertical lines help with indentations for paragraphs or tables, as these notebooks could be used for a variety of school subjects. I’ve also read that generations of French school children used J. Herbin’s Poussiere de Lune ink, which is kind of a romantic thought! All that moondust 🙂

We have a customer who had grown up in France who comes in specifically for this Seyes ruled paper. She said since she’s come to Canada she’s been using “regular” paper, and her handwriting has been swooping all over the place uncontrollably (this is not the case, as I’ve seen her handwriting and it is perfect…ugh! The French and their eating endless varieties of cheese and never getting fat! And their perfect handwriting!!).

How to Use Seyes Ruling, French Ruled, Handwriting Alphabet Sample

There are five rules to follow:

1. Capital letters go up to the third line.
2. Lower case “bodies” – like a, c, the circle part of d or p – go up to the first line.
3. Loopy stems go up to the third line – b, f, h, k, l.
4. Non-loopy or straight stems go up to the second line – just d and t.
5. Anything that goes below the line – f, g, j, p, q, y, z – go down two lines.

Seyes Ruled, French Ruled Notebook, Handwriting sample, How to write on Seyes paper

Really, basically everything goes up to the third line, or the first line, except d & t. If you keep that in mind, you just have to be careful about the d & t.

How to write on Seyes or French ruled paper, handwriting sample

A popular warm-up exercise for calligraphers and handwriting teachers is to try drawing circles of consistent size across a line. I think you’re supposed to go fast to really loosen up the muscles, but I don’t think I’m at that stage yet – I’m still at the concentrate-really-hard-and-don’t-mess-up-because-you’re-taking-a-picture-for-the-blog stage, but don’t be afraid to mess up!  


If you’re just starting out, it may help to take a letter that’s troubling you and write that letter over and over again. The next step might be to try connecting two letters of different heights, like a – f – a – f – a – f to practise getting from one height to the the next. 


It takes practice! It takes some practice and concentration to get all that muscle memory working, so take a trip to your local cafe, or sit out on the porch in this fresh spring weather! And then, send me a letter in your beautiful (or you know, “unique”) handwriting 🙂

We have two types of notebooks in this Seyes or French ruling – an A5, softcover staple and we just got in an A4 softcover spiral bound. These are made by Clairefontaine, so the paper is excellent for fountain pens – although the lines are quite close together, so I might recommend a fine or extra-fine nib if you’re specifically practising your handwriting.

Clairefontaine Seyes French Ruled Notebooks at wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Toronto

Interesting side note! When I was in college I spent some time teaching in Madagascar, an island country off the east coast of Africa. Madagascar was previously a French colony, and like Canada, they still have much of the vestiges of French language and culture around.


When I was there, a young stationery aficionado wandering around, I discovered Seyes ruled notebooks. Having never encountered them before at that time, I stocked up on a few, and I still have one left today!

The paper quality, however, is no Clairefontaine (and that’s being generous…).