Elias Pen and Ink Journal


Here is something pen and ink fans will find truly interesting and delightful. I used to keep a software database of pens, but I haven’t been very good with keeping it updated, until I eventually just forgot about it. Here’s a truly analog way to document an analog hobby.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Everything Calligraphy came up with its very own pen and ink journal! It’s soft-bound and uses their own 90GSM ivory colored paper that’s fountain pen, brush pen, and pointed pen friendly. Hardcore, man.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The theme of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo is the thread that runs through the different sections of the notebook, from cover to cover. When I first held the journal in my hand, it really felt like something that you can keep as a “pen memoir”, and I felt sorry I wasn’t able to document the old pens that I had already sold, or the inks that I already used up.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

There is a simple Elias logo on the binding, and the spine feels nice and tight. It’s bound securely, though it’s not going to lay flat by itself. It’s not difficult to write in or leaf through, though. The journal is bound by plain white, textured card paper, and there’s a translucent, waxy paper that wraps around it. I really like the illustration used in that decorative wrap. It’s printed neatly and is really like a slice of a story.

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It also smells good. Mmmmm. Yum. The journal has several sections. I’ll show each section in this review.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The first section is the Pen Journal section. It has space for every kind of information useful in a pen. Like brand, model, nib size, rating systems, etc. The opposite page is dedicated entirely to writing samples, or (like what I did) a review of the pen. You can put anything! How you got the pen, its little back story, anything that helps you either catalog the pen’s specifications or document its history. You can even stick a printed photo of the pen, if you like. You can get as creative as you want, there’s space for it!

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The next section is the Ink Journal. It has all the pertinent information you need to catalog your ink. From the cost, to the properties (shading, sheen drying time, flow), a portion for swabs and water resistance tests, and your comments. Here’s a photo of my first ink journal page, documenting one of my new favorite inks, Kyo Iro Moonlight of Higashiyama. It’s a straightforward way to catalog your ink collection. The paper being Elias paper, it shows off any shading and sheen so well. The paper also holds up very well to my water resistance test.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

I had to chuckle a little at the next section, the Future Pen and Inks. It’s like a wishlist. You can note down pens and inks that caught your attention and would like to purchase in the future. This is a list you can really have fun ticking items off of.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The next section contains coloring sheets. Line drawings of scenes and excerpts from Noli and El Fili. It adds a really Pinoy flair to the entire thing. I like how the line drawings are made. They have a folk-artsy feel to them. The pages remind me of these traditional Japanese line drawings before anime became popular. There’s a story going on in each drawing and it really captured that overall theme of the journal. The person who drew them is Julz Riddle (a Filipino teacher and artist). Her Instagram account is @hulyariddle. Here are a couple of samples from the journal.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Those who are into practicing calligraphy will love the next section.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

These pages with guide lines can help you achieve consistent strokes. Even if you only want to improve your handwriting by practicing writing in script, this can be really helpful.

The remaining pages are blank sheets, doodle pages. If you look at the back of every single journal I have, the last pages are basically doodle pages. Figure eights, “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, baybayin scribbles, anything! A blank space to doodle and free the mind. How wonderful that there’s a space in this journal for doodling.

Overall, I don’t think I’ve come across a journal that’s exactly like this, and with a very Filipino flair. It’s really a great way to celebrate your fascination with pens and inks (and doodling!). I’m glad that Everything Calligraphy came up with something so special for pen fans like us, and I’m planning to fill up my journal soon. It would be a great way to keep record of each pen and ink color that I have. Maybe someday when it’s time to pass on my pens to my nephews and nieces, they can have this journal as a companion of sorts, to help them appreciate the pens not just as writing instruments but as little things that brought me joy at some point in my life.

The Elias Pen and Ink Journal is available at Everything Calligraphy.

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Lusine


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Last week, my friends, my husband and I tried this new cafe in BF Homes, L’uisine. It’s along Elizalde St., just a few meters away from Concha Cruz. It wasn’t completely open yet, much of the place was still being fixed up. But there’s a part out front that was already set up to receive a few customers.

We really enjoyed everything that we ordered (I couldn’t fit in my cup of latte in my journal, though). This is what I really like about smaller cafes. The owner really knows her coffee, it seems, and they take great pride in every step of the process from sourcing the beans to pulling the shots, to thinking of great food to pair their coffee with. Everything’s done with great love, not lost in the impersonal approach of many commercialized coffee places. We’ll return to Lusine soon and I’ll remember to bring my camera this time, so I can take proper photos.

The Start of My Art Journal Journey


I’ve always loved writing journals. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always preferred to pouring out my thoughts on paper rather than speaking. Integrating art in my journal entry is something I’ve only recently discovered, though. I liked sketching when I was younger, but it’s an interest that I did not nurture. It was only when I joined Fountain Pen Network Philippines and became social media friends with many talented artists that my love for drawing resurfaced. Of course, you lose what you don’t use, so it feels like I’m starting from nothing again. That’s alright. 🙂 I don’t mind it.

A lot of people I know are so intimidated by the talent of great artists that they don’t even act on the desire of starting an art journal. I personally believe in not resenting your own progress, no matter how slow it is. With the overabundance of ugliness in the world (especially on the internet), contributing your voice in the form of art and other hobbies is not a bad thing.

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I learned that I like to combine words and pictures. The photo above is a rough sketch about the great protest march at Selma. I wrote my thoughts down about the movie after we watched it. It takes longer to finish a journal entry, but it’s so worth it afterwards.

Calligraphy is also something that I just recently discovered. Integrating calligraphy with art is so much fun. My journal is a hodge podge of pure text, text and drawings, alibata brushwork, drawings and calligraphy, photos, clippings, etcetera etcetera. It’s not a neat catalog of watercolor paintings or pen and ink sketches. It’s imperfect and ink-stained, crumpled and cramped, and it brings me so much happiness.

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After all, isn’t that the whole point? Each day in our life is different, anyway. I’d like my art journals to reflect that. Each day is a new adventure, a blank page waiting to be filled.

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If you’re thinking about starting your own art journal, I hope this nudges you to the right direction. 🙂 Do it. Do it today, with whatever art supplies you have and make your pages even more vibrant and meaningful to you than they already are. Art is ❤

Same old show.


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I really thought that all the hate and poo-slinging will slow down and grind to a halt after the elections. I was wrong. It looks like it will be noisy for a while. Actually, I’m coming to terms with the possibility that this is  the new normal. To care about the sanctity of human life, to care about due process and how the loss of it is a reckless way to go about a “crusade” that has good intentions, to have a balanced view instead of an idol-worshiping attitude for the new president… all that has become very unpopular. All of a sudden, we’re surrounded with people who “want change” and are less bothered by loss of human lives. Like sharks driven crazy by the smell of blood. All of a sudden we’re surrounded  by family and friends who feel strongly about rallying around the ideal. I sometimes wonder if these people shout louder and are more offensive and boisterous about their newfound “cause” because deep in their bones they know something’s wrong about all this.

I’m not one for debates, and I think it’s foolish and self-destructive to alienate my family and friends for the sake of pushing your brand of politics (of all things) in such an aggressive and offensive way. I’ve resorted to not looking through my Facebook feed (which, with my decidedly introverted personality, was once a favorite way of keeping tabs on family and friends) because of all the ugliness in it. It’s not just the news that is ugly, it’s the attitude of people. Somehow, things have grown much worse. Filipinos have become even more divided. Many of us have lost our civility and it’s like we don’t know how to balance our views and emotions anymore. There’s a reason the terms “Dutertard” and “Yellowtard” and all the other -tards were coined (makes me cringe to even read it now), and the evidence for that is all over social media.

In the narrow-mindedness that is prevailing these days, there’s no room for reason. If addicts and pushers are brutally killed, then they got justice. If one is given due process, it means justice was not done. If you’re anti-Marcos, then you’re automatically pro-LP. If you’re not red, you’re yellow. If you’re critical of Duterte, then you’re anti-Duterte and you and your family need to die violent, inhuman deaths. If you’re against the all-out-war on drugs, then you’re in cahoots with these druggies. If you clamor for due process for these druggies, then you’re condoning the violence they have done or will do in the future. If you want some checks and balances to be placed to keep the government from exploiting their power, then you’re against the drug war. If this…then that. The one with the loudest mouth, the one who can scoop up the biggest mound of shit and sling it around without care or second thought is the winner. Winner of what, exactly? No one knows.

At the end of the day, people have pulled so violently on the already tense connections that we have with each other, and boy, it’s exhausting. Humanity is exhausting. I’m all peopled-out, honestly.

Coffee Infographic in My Journal –because, why not?


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I was up late last Friday for work, and I could not wind down to sleep, so I thought I’d pick up my pens and draw something that I would enjoy making. The details are really small, I used a small watercolor brush for them. I didn’t have a fine pen inked (I don’t think I have a pen with a fine nib, actually) so I had to use the closest to it, which was a Pilot Custom Heritage 92 with a medium nib. A wet, Japanese medium.

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Here’s a better look at the whole thing. By the time I finished it, I was ready to sleep. 🙂 As always, writing, drawing, and making little watercolor paintings on Tomoe River paper is such a pleasure. The finished work always feels great to the touch. I liked the play of Iroshizuku Shin Ryoku’s green with the different shades of brown.The TWSBI Micarta is inked with Diamine Ochre, which I think is the perfect ink to pair with a coffee-colored theme. It’s dark brown with notes of red and crazy beautiful shading.

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The think I really love best about using fountain pens whether in drawings or regular writing is that the letters look as if they’re part of the painting. Paired with great paper, it makes the letters look like they were painted on because of the shading and line variations. You can’t get that much drama in lines with ballpoint pens or rollerballs. There’s a lot of character in lines that are made by fountain pens. The overall effect is just so beautiful.

Below are a few close ups of the descriptions of each kind of espresso-based coffee. Overall, a very relaxing journal entry to write. 🙂

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Tomoe River is da bomb. If you need inserts for your traveler’s notebooks, check out Everything Calligraphy.

Save the Carrot!!!


There’s a part of me that’s always going to be silly, I suppose. So there will always be a part of me that will want to play Carrot Fantasy even when I’m incredibly busy. Especially when I’m incredibly busy, actually.

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That’s what my last journal entry is about. It’s about saving the carrot. I’m not sure why I love this tower defense game, but maybe it has something to do with how cute the little monsters are, and that the carrot wiggles and giggles when you tap on it. Haha. Anyway…back to my excel sheets and paperwork.

Review: Contrail Street Journal


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I saw these cute little journals on my way to a mini pen meet last Sunday at Glorietta, when I dropped by Powerbooks at Greenbelt. They’re kinda hard to miss because the covers are just so pretty! I wasn’t familiar with the brand, so discreetly printed at the back of the cover, but the paper seemed nice so I bought three. A quick search on Google showed that Contrail is made by Itoya, a Japanese stationery company. I’ve had such good experience with Japanese stationery that I was pretty sure I’d like this one too, and I was right.

I just love the design of their covers. Really. I love the colors that they used, and the patterns. These are very tastefully designed covers. I also like that the binding is neatly stitched with white thread. It looks very cleanly done.

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I’m not sure what you call these lines. They’re grids but rectangular instead of square, and they spacing is pretty tight. I imagine it could be designed specifically for Japanese characters? I’m not sure. I’m not too crazy about the guide lines, but they don’t bother me much. I like that the lines are light brown, you can just ignore them completely when you write.

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The paper is pretty good. It’s not smooth, it definitely has texture to it, but there’s very little feathering using my fine to broad nib. Some feathering can be noticeable with my 1.5 mm stub, though. Here are a few close ups:

The texture is beautiful. It’s not going to show off sheen, but it will show off some shading. It’s hard to explain why but sometimes I miss enjoying texture on paper because oftentimes when the paper has some texture to it, fountain pens bleed all over the place. It’s pretty rare to find paper that allows you to enjoy texture while you write without excessive bleeding and feathering.

The paper handles brush pens very well. It distributes the ink smoothly, and allows the pen to glide on the paper without difficulties.

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There’s a bit of ghosting at the back, though I would not consider it bothersome. There’s also a bit of bleedthrough where I wrote with my 1.5mm nib. It could be because I used a very wet ink (J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor). It’s not so bad either, in my opinion.

The size is about 3.25 x 5.75 inches. It’s pretty small and can comfortably fit in your backpocket or your bag. I heard they’re also available in National Bookstore, at P149 per piece. These are great for everyday writing and small brush calligraphy projects. I’m so happy we have Itoya here in the Philippines now. What a great time to be a stationery fan!