Review: Curnow Back Pocket Journal with Tomoe River Paper

I’ve been using a Curnow Back Pocket Journal with cream Tomoe River paper for a few weeks now. In fact the one I started with is nearly filled.

Mine has a plain butcher orange card cover. Which has survived and is quite sturdy. It is the standard pocket journal size of 3.5X5.5 inches, with 48 pages of paper. Because it’s filled with Tomoe River paper it’s ultra slim and roughly half the thickness of a Field Notes or Word notebook. There isn’t anything groundbreaking happening with this notebook. The one change from other pocket notebooks is that this is stitched in a traditional pamphlet stitch with 3 holes using waxed linen thread. It’s very sturdy and has stood up to my abuse this month quite well.

The great thing about the Tomoe River paper is being able to use any and all of my fountain pens in it without fear of bleed through. I did have to worry about smudging and dry time. But to be able to use a wet medium nib was really kind of nice. I stuck to mostly using my fine and ef pens as that is what I use while I’m out and about and allows for faster dry times.

I really enjoyed harder pencils on this paper. I’m not sure why they performed so well, perhaps there is some toothiness there that isn’t perceptible with fountain pen. No matter- the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood (aka Stinkwood) and the Les Crayon De La Maison Cd’A (aka Fancy Plywood Pencils FPP) were really amazing on this paper. I actually grew to link the Stinkwood and ignore it’s foul odor of burnt soy sauce on it’s pages. Pretty shocking. Curnow offers some of their notebooks with limited edition covers, some mined from Creative Commons Imagery* and some from artists working with them. They also offer a variety of papers. The prices vary according to the paper inside with the Tomoe River as the most expensive option and it’s the same price as a pack of Field Notes with non-fountain pen friendly paper.

These are a great little notebook and worth the cost if you want to use fountain pens. They are well made and wear well. I have another with the other paper that they use and can’t wait to crack into it.

Oddly the only way to buy these little notebooks is through facebook or email. Honestly, I hate that, but head over to their facebook page, look at their offerings and send them a message and they will send you a paypal invoice.

*there has been some debate as to their use of the Creative Commons imagery. Personally I have no idea if they have paid the artist or not. As an artist I don’t release my stuff for commercial use, so if they used my art I’d ask them to pay up. That said much of what I’ve seen is stuff that is older out of copyright imagery. I haven’t looked that deep into it. But if the artist is living and posted their stuff as free for use by anyone- these are the breaks. That said, it would be nice of Curnow to offer the artist some cash, or even free notebooks if they are using their work for profit.