Guides and Recommendations


A comprehensive introduction to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, three parts.

An introduction, by way of a review, to the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter notebook system, with an update here.

A guide to D1 refills. D1 refills can be used in many multi-pens and are often used in machined pens too.

A guide to pencils for drawing.

A guide to small handheld pencil sharpeners.


Top 5 Fountain Pens at prices you can admit to your significant other, as long as he or she is fairly understanding

  1. Faber-Castell Basic
  2. Kaweco Classic Sport
  3. TWSBI Diamond 580
  4. Lamy Vista (or Safari)
  5. Karas Kustoms Ink

Those in bold have sponsored one or more posts.

Top 5 Fountain Pens at prices you should keep quiet about

  1. Platinum #3776 Sai
  2. Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic
  3. Pelikan M215
  4. Tombow Zoom 101
  5. Faber-Castell Ambition

Top 5 Gel Ink Pens

  1. Pilot Coleto
  2. Pilot Juice
  3. Muji Gel Ink Pen
  4. Pilot Choose
  5. Pentel Energel

Top 5 Rollerballs

  1. OHTO Graphic Liner
  2. Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball (it really is as good as everyone says it is)
  3. Stabilo pointVisco Gel Rollerball Pen 41
  4. Lamy Vista rollerball
  5. Schneider Xtra Document 0.3

Top 4 Drawing Pens

  1. Copic Multiliner SP
  2. Sakura Pigma Micron
  3. Aristo GeoCollege Pigment Liner
  4. Staedtler 308 Pigment Liner

Still searching for a pen worthy of making this a top 5…

Top 5 Wooden Pencils

  1. Tombow Mono 100
  2. General’s Cedar Pointe
  3. Mitsu-Bishi Hi-Uni
  4. Palomino Blackwing (the Blackwing, Blackwing Pearl & Blackwing 602)
  5. Staedtler Tradition

Top 5 Pencils below 2.0mm

  1. Pentel GraphGear 1000
  2. Pentel Graph 1000
  3. Staedtler 925 25-07
  4. Rotring 600
  5. Pentel P205

Top 5 Pencils 2.0mm or above

  1. Staedtler Mars Technico 780C Leadholder
  2. e+m Workman Long Clutch Pencil
  3. Kaweco Brass Sketch Up 5.6mm
  4. Koh-I-Noor Toison-d’Or clutch pencil 2mm 5900
  5. Kaweco AL Special (also available in smaller than 2mm size but that one isn’t so great)

Top 5 Notebooks/Paper Brands

I’ve done this as a list of brands rather than products. Which specific notebook or paper you want to buy is going to depend entirely on your own particular needs.

  1. Rhodia (Webnotebook review and notepad review)
  2. Calepino
  3. Maruman (Mnemosyne review)
  4. Nib
  5. TADA

Also great (but not particularly fountain pen friendly): Field Notes and CIAK.

An honourable mention for my favourite sketchbook, the Pink Pig White Cartridge Sketch Book.

Independent retailers

Those in bold have sponsored one or more posts.

Beautiful handmade accessories


There are so many beautiful inks!

Top 3 Black or Grey Inks

  1. Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-Same (beautiful grey ink)
  2. Aurora Black (a good dark black ink)
  3. De Atramentis Archive Ink (a good waterproof ink)

Top 3 Dark Blue Inks

  1. Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo
  2. Diamine Teal
  3. Rohrer and Klingner Verdigris

Top 3 Blue Inks

  1. Pelikan Edelstein Topaz
  2. Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro
  3. Diamine Eau de Nil

Top 3 Brown Inks

  1. Diamine Ancient Copper
  2. Pelikan Brown
  3. Diamine Oxblood (this could conceivably go in the red section but, to me, it’s more of a brown)

Top 3 Green Inks

  1. Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin
  2. J. Herbin Vert Olive
  3. Kaweco Palm Green

Honourable mention for the sadly discontinued Sailor Jentle Epinard

Top 3 Red, Pink or Purple Inks

  1. Diamine Monaco Red
  2. Kaweco Ruby Red
  3. Diamine Coral

Honourable mention for the sadly discontinued Sailor Jentle Grenade.

Top 5 Yellow or Orange Inks

This is a top 5 because I really do like my oranges and yellows!

  1. Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-Yake
  2. Noodler’s Apache Sunset
  3. Platinum Mix-Free Sunny Yellow
  4. Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-gake
  5. Rohrer and Klingner Helianthus

Another honourable mention for what is probably my favourite ink ever, Sailor Jentle Apricot.