If you’re writing a grocery list you probably don’t pay much attention to the pen you use or the paper you’re writing on. However, there are certain instances when the pen and paper you use are kind of important.
Ever write a note in the margin of a book, only to find after you flip the page, that the ink bled through to the other side? Maybe you’re at a coffee shop writing in your journal. Someone accidentally bumps your table and suddenly your cafe latte is everywhere it ought not to be. Before your eyes, all the brilliant thoughts and observations you diligently wrote down, washed away.
Chances are you’ve experienced something like this. How great would it have been if you had a pen that didn’t bleed through paper? Wouldn’t you be relieved if you could just wash your journal and all your writing would still be there?
You need the right pen
We’ve done the research and the Sakura Pigma Micron technical pen is a solid place to start. They come in various sizes and use archival ink. Hundreds of Sakura Micron reviews sing the praises of the pen over and again. It’s even recommended for taking notes in your Bible since the ink doesn’t bleed - amazing considering how thin the pages of the Bible are - and the archival quality ink won’t smudge.
According to Sakura, “Scientists, architects, archivists, anthropologists, entomologists, and laboratories alike consider Pigma Micron a necessary tool for any archival-quality, handwritten project, and record-keeping.” We can’t outright recommend this pen though because it is disposable. Sakura has no program to recycle used pens and buying more to just throw them away later is not a practice we can get on board with.
There are several reusable technical drawing pens available that are designed to last a lifetime of continuous use. However, as we noted when we discussed fountain pens, a reusable technical pen will have to be periodically disassembled for refilling and maintenance. (We’d like to note that maintaining a pen isn’t like maintaining a car, it only takes a few minutes and the directions aren’t difficult to follow.)
A good entry-level reusable is the Koh-I-Noor Rapidosketch series of pens. They are affordable (20 USD) and a good gateway into technical pens. For a larger investment, look at Rotring Rapidographs. They come in 11 different tip sizes and because the ink is pressurized it flows smooth and blob free the entire life of the cartridge. Both companies use archival quality inks that stick fast to the page. And you can also refill these pens with bottle ink.
Disposable pens typically require little maintenance and are great for beginners but if you find you like writing with a technical pen, we encourage you to look into using a refillable one.
You need the right paper
If you spill coffee on a notebook made from pulp-based paper that notebook will never be the same. The paper might survive but after it dries may be stained and most likely be wavy. On pulp paper, normal ink tends to run when it gets wet. So even if the paper survives, every time you wipe the coffee you’re also smudging or erasing the ink.
Go ahead and get our stone paper notebooks wet. Water will roll off the page. Get a sponge and scrub it. Guess what? All those notes. They’re not going anywhere. Stone paper is waterproof and even non-archival inks adhere to it better than pulp paper.
Ever have your notebook out while you were snacking? Maybe you just had some french fries and forgot to wipe your fingers? Grease and oils tend to stain pulp paper. Stone paper is resistant to such things. There’s a reason for that; we developed our journals in collaboration with outdoor experts and chefs.
There’s also the environmental aspect of pulp paper to consider. Paper comes from trees. Turning trees into paper means using massive quantities of fossil fuel, millions of gallons of chemicals and bleach, and depriving countless insects and animals of their homes when you cut down trees. A lot of paper is recycled but even recycled paper can be traced back to trees that had to be removed from the land.
Stone paper causes none of these things. Our stone paper notebooks are made in a solar-powered factory from calcium carbonate - marble mining cast-offs - and a small percentage of recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Making our stone paper notebooks required no water, acid, bleach or optical brighteners - things that when spilled spoil the water and poison environments. And since trees aren’t used, animals aren’t forcefully evicted from their homes and landscapes aren’t denuded of trees. We actually plant a tree with every sale. We stand proudly behind our notebooks and know they will last you as long as you need it.
All about what you use
If you use a napkin to write something down, you don’t expect it to stand the test of time. But if you want to write something down that will survive more than one day in a pocket, then a quality diary or journal teamed with a solid pen with archival ink is key. You’ll have a trusty companion that will survive pretty much anything.
Articles of further interest
Empty Notebook Ideas
What’s the difference between a diary vs. a journal?