Tag Archives: Notebooks

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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…).

Field Notes Spring Seasonal Edition – Two Rivers

We’ve carried Field Notes for a long time. We have their three-packs and their seasonal editions, their steno pads, and we usually try to keep stock of their pencils, although I’m not so good at that because we’re kind of pen people here.

Field Notes Memo Books at Wonder Pens in Toronto, Canada wonderpens.ca

Jon uses one of their Memo books, and I like how they look when they get all weathered and beaten up. I’m an inky person, and I like my lines all crisp and shiny, so for me Field Notes paper is okay – it’s really meant for people who are using ballpoints and pencils and gel pens and extra fine or fine fountain pen nibs. They’re memo books for slipping in your pocket and being on the go, pulling it out on the TTC when you come up with that brilliant idea, or remembering you need to pick up milk on the way home from work.

Field Notes has their standard line-up, and over time, I’ve gotten to know a few customers who use these notebooks to get through their daily grind and keep sane. They also release a seasonal edition, which is produced in limited quantity. Because a big part of the culture of the company is made in the US, they often seek out topics or themes that represent pride in their heritage and history and how the notebooks are made.¬†

This spring’s seasonal edition is called Two Rivers.¬†

Field Notes Memo Books at Wonder Pens in Toronto, Canada wonderpens.ca

I have never truly LOVED a Field Notes…until now.

The Hamilton Manufacturing Company, of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, manufactured typefaces for printing from 1880 up until the mid 20th century. Field Notes partnered with the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum to create this Two Rivers Edition of Notebooks with their set of vintage wood typefaces.

Field Notes Memo Books at Wonder Pens in Toronto, Canada wonderpens.ca

As soon as this shipment came in, Jon gave me his Liz-be-responsible-you-are-an-adult-and-you-cannot-keep-hoarding-stationery-supplies look. He knew what was coming. It took some convincing (i.e. coercing), but he conceded to a second three-pack under the stipulation that it is to take photos for the blog.

Field Notes Memo Books at Wonder Pens in Toronto, Canada wonderpens.ca

Each three-pack of notebooks will have three of the four available colours.


There are four different colour sets of notebooks – a¬†yellow/green (my favourite, obviously), an army green/brown, a white/blue and a light blue/purple, and in your three pack, you’ll get three of these four colours.¬†

Here are some things I love about this edition:

1. None of them are the same. Each and every single notebook is going to be slightly unique, like snowflakes, and like you and I.

2. It’s letterpress! The little I know about vintage types and letterpresses is that you’re not supposed to press too hard. Modern letterpress favours a deep, rich impression, but you keep going on like that with the vintage types, you’ll wear out the crispness of types fast. I can just feel some of the actual letterpress impressions on the notebook covers – I am all about that tactile feeling of paper and notebooks.

Field Notes Memo Books at Wonder Pens in Toronto, Canada wonderpens.ca

3.¬†It’s all vintage typefaces – so if you’re a graphic designer, lettering artist, into type, this is right up your alley.

4. You’re supporting the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum with the purchase of each three-pack. Helping to support an institution that preserves and shares some of the heritage and history of type and printing – what could be better.

And if that is not enough to convince you, check out the video Field Notes made on the production of these notebooks.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/121834095″>Field Notes – ‘Two Rivers’ Edition – COLORS Spring 2015</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/coudal”>Coudal Partners</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

You can get it online here or come visit us in the shop.¬†We’ve got limited stock now, but we have more coming in soon. If we’re sold out online, you can sign up for the e-mail alert ¬†to notify you when it’s back in stock. These are a seasonal edition, so once that shipment sells out, they’ll be gone for good!

Tomoe River Paper Notebooks

I hope you enjoyed the last blog post on our visit to Coach House Press! We certainly enjoyed looking around, but the visit was especially exciting because we got to pick up a project we’ve been working on with John.

We’ve had Tomoe River paper for a while – it’s this ultra thin but ink resistant paper, kind of like the feeling of Bible paper, but because of its ink resistance, there’s very little feather or bleedthrough. It’s crinkly and delicious and kind of reminiscent of airmail paper. You can see some more photos of ink on it here.

Previously we’ve only had the paper available in A4 loose leaf sheets. This is great for writing letters or correspondence, but not so convenient to carry around with you.

Once we began carrying Coach House Press notebooks, we figured we would ask if they could do anything with this super thin and super light paper.

Tomoe River Notebooks in Canada Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

Tomoe River Notebooks in Canada Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

We now have Tomoe River Paper Notebooks in two sizes, an A5 and an 11 x 21 cm one that will fit your Midori Regular Size Traveler’s Notebook.

One of the biggest advantages of this 11 x 21 cm notebook is that you can now fit more notebooks or accessories into your Traveler’s Notebook without it bulging because the paper is so thin.

Tomoe River Notebooks in Canada Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

Each notebook has 64 pages and is trimmed and staple-bound right here in Toronto. Despite how thin the notebooks feel (with still 64 pages!), you can also feel how strong and almost heavy the paper is inside, because it’s so dense, if that makes sense. The sizing on the Tomoe River paper is excellent, but keep in mind that it will take longer to dry!

If dry time is a problem for you, consider getting a sheet of J. Herbin Blotting Paper to put in-between pages as you close up your notebook, absorbing any wet ink while marking your page. One piece of this blotting paper will last you a very long time, and as you use it, it will just get more and more little spots of ink.

Tomoe River Paper Notebooks Canada Toronto Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe A5 notebook and the 11 x 21 notebook are available in limited quantities, since the Tomoe River paper is a little hard to come by. We’re hoping with interest, we may make a few other sizes, but each new size requires set costs in addition to the binding.

If you’re a fountain pen user, and particularly a fountain pen ink lover with those broad and double broad nibs, the Tomoe River paper is something you definitely have to at least try, just to see the shading and sheen of those inks.