Maruman 3Feet Notepad – A7


This was a little bit of an impulse buy because I had run out of Field Notes and didn’t want to buy another pack as I found myself using them less frequently now that I had gotten my hands on the legendary Hobonichi Techo planner(review coming soon 😉 ). At the same time, I needed a small notebook to quickly jot down some notes occasionally if I think of something interesting. Enter the Maruman 3Feet, an A7-sized, 7mm grid ruled notepad with some great features that I found really made using it fun.


This is one feature that I really feel changes the game when it comes to comfort when using a Rhodia style notepad. With the Rhodia, the front cover has notches the help it bend exactly the way to it needs to lie flat, but if not used on a relatively flat surface, it starts to flop around. Maruman fixed this problem by adding a small tab at the back of the notebook that allows you to tuck the front cover into it and holds it securely in place. Now this may not seem like a big deal for most people, but as someone who is usually walking, pacing or generally standing up when my ideas come, the ability to quickly jot down stuff while on the move is important to me and a cover that doesn’t flop around makes writing stuff down easier for me. Now most of you might not be like me, but if you ever want to move around with a Rhodia, due to not being secure, you can’t just lift it by the front and you have to mind the cover coming back around. With the Maruman, moving around is super easy and you don’t have to worry about the cover coming down on your freshly inked page and ruining your writing (If you couldn’t tell by now, this has happened to me several times and I am always annoyed by it).


With that amazing, highly functional and useful feature properly getting the praise it deserves, let’s talk about the paper. Being an A7 sized notebook, I was initially a little surprised that Maruman didn’t opt for a 5mm grid because it would allow for more lines, but eventually saw why they stuck to 7mm. As someone who’s handwriting is pretty small, I was a little bothered by how big the squares were, but grew to appreciate them when it came to creating flashcards, which is now the main usage of this notebook. To understand some concepts and terms, I find that having a physical flashcards really helps with memorization as it involves writing down the terms, thereby increasing muscle memory.


The paper is also very smooth when tearing. I am not prone to hyperbole, but this is by far the greatest perforation I have ever experienced. The paper comes out smoothly and without a fuss every single time. I often experience ragged tears when dealing with smaller Rhodia DotPads and it drives me nuts due to my OCD when it comes to having straight, even tear lines. After nearly 3 weeks of usage, not a single time have I ever experienced a misguided tear. I’m pretty much addicted to this feeling now and will hold this as the benchmark for all future perforated notebooks I review.


The biggest drawback to this notepad is the paper, specifically how thin it is. While it took ink well and for the most part didn’t bleed through, there was a rather noticeable amount of show-through on the backside of the page. This was something that I feel can’t be helped as the size of the notepad constrains how thick the paper can be, but by far, it turned out to be my first negative experience with Maruman paper.


One of the other things that I found out very quickly was the 3Feet reacts badly to sharper, thinner sizes of pen tips. The Uni Jetstream that I used for the paper test ended up scratching through and indenting nearly 4 sheets of paper, so I would recommend only using pens that have tip sizes of 0.5 and above. At those sizes, the paper will perform just fine.

The Maruman 3Feet is an adorable little notepad with a great feature that I hope more notepad makers will adopt. The paper is thin, yet surprisingly adept at handling larger nib sizes. The main drawbacks would be the limitations with sharp tipped gel pens and the show-through on the back of the paper. If these two things don’t bother you as much and you’re in the market for a pocket-sized notepad, give the Maruman 3Feet a try. For a mere $2.10, I feel it’s definitely worth the price.


J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche


I’ve had this ink for a long time and just got around to writing a review now. I saw that J. Herbin was selling tiny bottles of ink for very affordable prices and couldn’t resist getting some. When it comes to reviewing, one thing I have to worry about is the cost of the inks. I have to constantly decide whether a whole bottle of ink is worth it and if I’ll even be able to use all of it. I really like using the ink for at least a minimum of 2 weeks mainly for writing notes. With the amount of notes I write, an ink sample is not enough at all to experience and then review.  That’s mainly why the tiny bottles of J. Herbin were perfect to get a good amount of writing done and not break the bank.

That being said, it is a little inconvenient to fill up a pen with a bottle this tiny. The opening is barely enough for the Lamy 2000 and only smaller pens would be more easy to fill up. The TWSBI Eco was pretty easy to fill, but I’m predicting it won’t be as easy once the level of ink goes below a certain point. Then it will be an interesting experiment to find an efficient way to fill up my pens without creating a mess.


One thing that really appealed to me right off the bat was the vibrancy of the color. When filled up inside a demonstrator pen like the Eco, the ink looks much darker and its a surprise when the nib touches the paper and a bright blue is all you see. I used this ink in multiple pens from the TWSBI Vac Mini, Lamy 2000 and the Pilot Custom 823 and it was well-behaved in all of them, as I’ve come to expect from J. Herbin inks in general. The ink is decently lubricated and flowed well out of all the pens I tested it in. When writing with some different nibs, I noticed that there was good shading from an EF to M nib and while it may not be apparent from the photo, the sheen on the ink is slightly red in places where it pools. It might be my eyes playing tricks, but I also see hints of green too. It’s a pretty looking ink that any lover of light blue inks would like.


While Bleu Pervenche has all those great characteristics, it also has some drawbacks. The one I experienced the most frequently was feathering. This ink is very finicky on the type of paper you use it with and the only type that worked perfectly for me was Rhodia. Even the Maruman Mnemosyne notebooks which I absolutely love and are tanks when it comes to inks, showed signs of feathering when I wrote notes. This was most prevalent when I adjusted the amount of ink due to some skipping with the TWSBI. With that, the dry times I experienced were north of 15 seconds on Maruman paper, which became a huge hassle as I had to wait for the ink to dry before turning the page to continue taking notes. I had made the mistake of not waiting a couple of times in a rush and the back of the notebook got stained and the letters got obscured.


Overall, Bleu Pervenche is a very well-behaved light blue ink that has decent lubrication and great shading. It works really well with Rhodia paper, but if you don’t mind some feathering, most other notebook brands like Maruman and Kokuyo will work fine. Depending on the nib you use, your dry time may differ, but I would recommend for those using M nibs and above be aware of the slightly longer dry times and compensate for them accordingly. Other than that, I recommend picking up a small bottle of J. Herbin’s Bleu Pervenche to try out.

January Makeup and February Reviews

Hello Everybody,

I wanted to update you all on how things are going. The semester is going great so far. I have been busy with a lot of homework and long-term projects and I just could not find the time to write-up a review in January. Not to mention, there was nothing new for me to review. This was fixed in late January when I had ordered some supplies from JetPens due to running out after my first semester. It arrived early February, so I decided that I would make up the missing reviews for January around mid February.

Little did I know that once midterms neared, the amount of work I had to do would double, causing me to spend many hours in the library studying until 1 and 2 in the morning for several days straight. I had multiple exams this week and I made sure to study hard and do well on all of them. That being said, with such a strenuous studying schedule, I didn’t get to post the reviews last week like I wanted. Now that the mid semester crunch is over, I was able to sit down yesterday and properly put my thoughts together and write a couple of reviews. I’ll be releasing them shortly to make up for the month of January.

With the month transitioning to March this week, I’ll be releasing the reviews for February come this Saturday, March 3. Thank you all for your patience and dedication. My schedule will go back to normal for a while and won’t be as difficult until finals week in May. I’ll make sure to keep you guys updated with the latest news.


Anchit, The Passionate Penman

A Year to Look Forward To

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know that at the beginning of every year since 2016, I go and review how well I kept my resolutions. This will be the third time I’m doing this review and I hope that there will be many more to come. So let’s start with our annual tradition of listing out the resolutions and reflecting on how well I did in regards to them.

Start becoming more active on social media

This one is something that I can honestly say I did much better in 2017 than in 2016. I have many more posts in 2017, no matter how mundane they were(usually about the horrible weather in Indiana). I actually chose Instagram as my go-to social media instead of Twitter because I very much prefer photography than to just right out words. Of course, all the statuses were posted to Twitter too, but I found that I got a higher level of engagement with my readers on Instagram than Twitter, so starting this year, I’m gonna take my Instagram game to the next level. Instead of taking photos on my phone, I’ll be importing pictures from my camera and showcasing some of the photographs I got over winter break as well as for reviews. Higher image quality, better composition and the like will be the goal here. Let’s see whether this year I can break through to 500 followers.

One review every two weeks without fail, no excuses

Now this is where I’m a little embarrassed to say that I absolutely wasn’t able to keep this. The hiatus I took in order to dedicate almost all my free time and effort into studying for my classes(which were especially intense last semester) didn’t allow me that much time to really use new stationary. I stuck to what I now find to be my go-to setup for absolutely any school related work. In fact, I refilled my Lamy 2K over 7 times with the same Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. It just works and I felt that it was unnecessary and risky to change inks in the middle without knowing how it would write. If you saw my last post, you know why there was such a huge gap in the reviews. This year, I hope to actually keep this resolution because despite me studying for another semester, I need to refine my time management skills, because I hope to continue this blog for a while and to do that, I’m going to have to develop the ability to schedule time to sit down and write reviews no matter what’s going on. I really love this blog and the experience of trying out new stationary. If you love something, you’ll find time for it and that’s exactly what I’m going to do this year.

Improve my photography which I feature in my reviews

This is a little subjective, but I definitely feel that I grew as a photographer when it came to the things I was trying out in regards to composition and color. I tried to actively deviate from the standard angles that I usually present with my reviews and go for something that presents a different perspective of any ordinary pen or ink. While I did have problems with lighting, I feel that overall, I did well in compensating against the limitations of my background. This year, I want to try to go for something completely different. I want to capture pictures of the pens I review out in the wild. Using the beautiful backdrops provided by nature, I want to mix up the background of my shots to allow the pens to show more of their beauty. In addition, this would also help with the lighting situation and it would allow me to go outside and exercise my photographic capabilities every one in a while.

Work on getting some kind of sponsorship

Another year and this resolution still manages to elude me. I really am struggling with this one because I’m just not sure how to go about accomplishing it. This year, I have made this one of my personal resolutions to accomplish, because as we all know, buying new pens can be very expensive. This is an expensive hobby and while I’m so happy that I’ve been able to review so many different stationary products from all kinds of brands, it is starting to really drain the wallet. So this year, I’m going to endeavor to make this one of my main resolutions alongside the post frequency. Hopefully, I can make this happen so I can keep bringing unique pens to review without making my wallet cry.

That’s all for the resolutions of the year. I aim make this one of the greatest years for the The Passionate Penman. Thank you for all your love and support, I wish you all a great year ahead and I hope to see you again next week for the upcoming review. Until next time. 🙂

Starting the New Year

Hello Everyone,

First off, I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. It’s been a while since I last updated and many things have happened. This post was initially slated for yesterday, but it took me a while to figure out how to not make it sound like a giant excuse. The hiatus that occurred from the end of July was something that I didn’t intend to happen, but it did anyway. The upcoming semester at the time was crucial for my academic career, so I decided to discard nearly every one of my hobbies including this blog, to try to perform well. I’m happy to report that I performed better than ever before and I broke through what I thought were my limits. In doing so, I have left you, my dear readers devoid of content and reviews and for that, I am truly apologetic. However, now that the previous semester is over, I can say with confidence that I will be able to go back to posting new reviews. I will be detailing the specifics in my next post which should drop the day after tomorrow. I want to thank each and every one of you for your patience and support. I started this blog as a hobby and never expected to get the kind of readership you all have given me. I am honored that there are people in the pen community who put stock into my reviews and enjoy my content. So I feel that the best way to start the new year would be to set expectations and stick to them no matter what. I can’t wait to start posting more content up and I hope we have a great year together.


Anchit, The Passionate Penman

Diamine Grape Review


Purple is not a typical ink color I use due to it being a little out there. However, after a rather amazing experience with Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, I started to see how I could use purple as more of a color for personal stuff. I like to keep a bullet journal going, so I first started to use this ink as a specific color for tracking my tasks for the day. That was almost 2 months ago and I’m still using it to this day. In fact, the 30 mL bottle I had is almost finished and I’m contemplating getting more. I don’t know whether I want to make this a permanent member of the rotation given that Diamine and other brands all have offerings in a similar shade. Personally, by not making something permanent, I can go and get a variety of inks that I’ll be able to review and I might find some other ink that becomes a new favorite. I’m honestly a little stuck regarding this.


However, you guys came here to learn about how this ink handles, so I’ll get back to the review. The ink is on the darker side of purple, which appeals to me a lot as I can see it being something that fits in with all the other inks I have. The shading is really nice but on the medium side due to how dark the ink already is. I found that you can’t see much difference between the second and third passes as it’s too dark to really tell. It can be exaggerated through the use of a folded pen, like I did in the first photo, but its limited. It’s pretty smooth flowing and the performance is up to Diamine standards, so it behaves well in every different pen I’ve tried it with.

One complaint I have with it is that it feels a little dry when in use. Don’t get me wrong, it flows smoothly, but the actual ink itself makes me feel more feedback when writing. I tried it out in the TWSBI ECO, Lamy 2000, Platinum Preppy and others, but the same feeling of dryness persisted. An example of an ink that doesn’t have this problem would be Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, it has a bit of a slick feeling to it, allowing a smoothed nib to glide across the page. With Grape, it lacks that same feeling, but at the price point that Diamine offers it at, it performs pretty well. If you’re looking for a dark purple with subtle shading at an affordable price, this is a great contender.


Diamine Red Dragon Review


A review that I personally have been delaying for a while now. The main reason is that I just hadn’t been able to get a good chance to use it. The way I review inks is by inking up a daily use pen like my Pilot VP or my Lamy 2000. I use these pens specifically because I know how well they perform with my favorite inks like Diamine Asa Blue, Iroshizuku Shin-Kai and Kon-Peki. I have a solid grasp of how well they perform and by inking one of them up I can get the best grasp on how a particular ink performs. I use them for a week and a half minimum before I’m comfortable enough to voice my opinion on them. The biggest issue I had with this ink is the problem of incorporating it into my daily use.


As anyone could probably tell by now, I love blue inks and all the shades they come in. One could even say I’m partial to the color blue. I’m not into red inks for the most part as I find no use for them when taking notes for my classes. My notes are done in different notebooks all with different shades of blue. The only other color I have used other than blue is black for the occasional diagram or note of importance. As one could imagine, suddenly transitioning from blue to red would be a little difficult. However, I chose to do so for my marketing class that I took for 6 weeks over summer. I started using Red Dragon halfway through the course and made sure to finish it by the time I was coming back home.

I can say with confidence that I am definitely happy with the experience. The ink shows consistent performance that one can expect out of a Diamine ink, but also be in such a tasteful color. The biggest gripe I have about colorful inks is that they always feel a bit too garish for my taste, I prefer subdued and subtle colors and that’s exactly what Red Dragon is. The shading is nice and visible at the points the nib is lifted off the paper. Its nice and smooth coming out of the nib, much like my favorite Asa Blue and to top it off, its available at the affordable prices that Diamine sets for their inks. I’m probably going to find some way to use this in my daily note taking for the upcoming Fall semester. If you’re looking for a very nice, subdued red ink that performs well, I cannot recommend Red Dragon enough. After I use up this 30mL bottle, I’m gonna go for the bigger 80mL, becuase that’s just how good this ink is.

Masgrimes Leather Calligraphy Writing Pad

Now this was a review that I initially didn’t anticipate doing. While I did initially start this blog off as only a stationary review blog and nothing else, I have since started to review my oblique pens and other calligraphy tools.


I bought this pad as a step up from my normal style of using newspaper to help cultivate a lighter touch. The problem with newspaper was it was really hard to maintain a constant thickness due to all sorts of different reasons. Sometimes, the ones I picked up didn’t suit me and the bright colors on the page distracted me during my drills. I decided that this would be a good investment and boy was I right about that.


David had a limited amount of this particular Italian patterned writing pads available and I was able to jump in and snag one before they went out of stock. I was still in my dorm when the package arrived and it was absolutely beautiful to look at in person. The pad was rolled into a cylinder and a little piece of the leather was used to tie it down, allowing it to keep its shape.


Since it arrived back in February, I’ve been using it all the time. Whenever I sat down to practice, I would always have it ready. It has been a wonderful addition to my burgeoning collection of calligraphy related tools. It has allowed me to cultivate an almost feather-like touch and inhibits the smooth, gliding sensation of my nib every time it touches the paper. If I had one complaint, it would be that I’m not allowed an iron in my dorm to be able to straighten this pad out after traveling with it. Otherwise, it’s an absolutely amazing and affordable tool that will benefit anyone from a calligraphy noob like me to an amazing calligrapher like David.

Hiatus is Over

Hello Everyone,

A lot of things happened since April that made it more and more difficult for me to post. Chiefly, I developed a problem with my laptop that put it out of commission until I could get it fixed once I got home. Immediately after getting home, my family went on a road trip for 8 days and we’ve finally come back and settled down. I would like to apologize as I couldn’t upload anything new having left most of my stationary at home. Now that I’m back, I can start getting back to reviews again. I’ve left it off for longer than I’m comfortable with and can’t wait to get back to posting some new content. The posts I need to make up for are one from April, two from May, two from June and two for July. Seven reviews in total. Starting tomorrow, I will be posting one review per day until I make up for all the ones I’ve missed so far, so look forward to it. It’s great to be back! 🙂


Anchit, The Passionate Penman

Kyokuto Guildford Notebook


Whenever I find myself in need of notebooks, it’s usually mainly for note-taking and assignments. I found my best notebook ages ago when I first got a 5 pack of Maruman Mnemosyne B5 notebooks from JetPens. Writing with those notebooks was a cathartic experience and no other notebook has ever given me the same feeling whenever I write. To me, the Maruman Mnemosyne line has become the bar I set whenever I write paper reviews. With that in mind, I felt that the blog was really lacking some paper reviews and decided that I needed to try out some new products. So as I was shopping for my spring quarter in early 2016, I stumbled upon the Kyokuto Guildford on JetPens. HAving never heard of this notebook before, I was curious and decided to do some research on it. As it turns out, there weren’t too many reviews from the mainstream stationary blogs I follow, so I decided to get it and put out a review myself.


The notebook has a very simple design, yet within that simplicity is the sophistication as seen through the ornately embellished patterns that decorate the index page. The color scheme of the notebook is tasteful and bright.


In regards to the paper, I have to say for such thin paper, I wasn’t expecting it to be so resilient against some pretty wet inks. I used many different inks in this notebook before I wrote this review and the paper withstood all of them, all while providing a smooth writing experience. This particular review was written with a Lamy 2000 M nib inked with Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. The paper simply soaks it up, resulting in quick dry times. This holds true for even inks with longer dry times like Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black. With all the inks, I also noticed that none of them feathered regardless of the nib size of the pen. All of these make the Guildford a solid choice for someone who requires a decent notebook for simple note taking and the like. However, there were some drawbacks that came with these positive aspects. Due to being thin, the paper has a tendency to be affected by the indentations on the opposite side. Ever since picking up pointed pen calligraphy, my writing pressure has gone down significantly, yet it still cause indents on this paper. Along with the indents, come the ghosting and with some inks like J. Herbin emerald of Chivor, it really posed a problem. One reason I simply could not use the Guildford for school more often was the lack of pages and perforation. I usually end up writing about 4-6 pages of notes every day I’m in class. I take a lot of technical courses that require notes to be numerous and comprehensive for future studying. With only 38 sheets, the Guildford would not be able to accommodate the amount of notes I take. Even when I use front and back, with 32 lines of 6mm per page, the notebook would still last less than a month of classes. Also, the lack of perforation means I can never do assignments on this paper and turn it in, as it would both look like and leave a mess.


The binding is sturdy and does a great job of securing the pages within the notebook. This would be the one thing that I would admit that the Mnemosyne line can improve on. When turned all the way, the cover of the Mnemosyne tends to come loose of the binding and it’s a bit of a pain to realign it again every time. This binding has never failed me even once and is very resistant to bending, unlike the plastic ones present on the Mnemosyne notebooks.

With a tasteful color scheme and classy motifs, the Kyokuto Guildford is a functional and stylish notebook that can take on just about anything you throw at it. The thin paper saves on space and allows the notebook to have a compact form, while the durable covers protect them from wear and tear. The binding is strong and resistant to bending ensuring that you notebook will keep its shape and the pages inside will be protected. While it might not be ideal for doing assignments in with its lack of perforation, it still holds its own against other notebooks out there. I recommend everyone give this notebook a try.