Little Notebook

"No..." Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/70 sec, ISO3200
“No…” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going today?

So I’ve been using my Passport-size Traveler’s Notebook for almost a year now, and I still enjoy it, but I realize that it’s a little limiting. Basically, it’s great for taking notes, but it’s a bit small for sketching. I think it’s difficult because the pages don’t lie as flat as I’d like.

However, I don’t like big, thick sketchbooks either. My preferred size is A5, with spiral binding, and no more than a centimeter thick. The Muji notebooks I bought a few years ago are perfect. I use the dot-grid version for general note-taking both for personal stuff and for work stuff (I have one notebook for each). The paper is smooth and fountain pen ink looks great on it. It’s also nice for sketching!

I’m pretty excited because we’re going to the Muji store in NYC this summer so I can stock up!

I’ve been looking at that Roterfaden A5 notebook and it seems like a perfect solution, but I can’t justify spending that much money on it. I’m sure there’s a cheaper A5 alternative out there that I can use. I just need to do some research! In the meantime, I’ll use my Muji notebooks.


Today’s photo is a sketch I did in my Traveler’s Notebook. I just drew on an old page that I had written on before. Can you guess what those words mean?

To see all the sketches I’ve been working on, you can check out the Flickr album “My Sketching Journey”, or my Instagram account barron.sketches which I created just for posting sketches, watercolors, and stationery items.

I hope you had a great day!


Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter Organizer System @

This leather and felt “Bestseller” organizer by Roterfaden looks amazing. But wow, it’s pricey!

I’ll stick with my Travelers Notebook Passport for now.

Buying Ink

"Iroshizuku Chiku-rin and Ama-iro" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/80 sec, ISO3200
“Iroshizuku Chiku-rin and Ama-iro” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。Today’s photo is of my two Iroshizuku inks that I am using. The one on the left, Chiku-rin, just arrived today and I love using it! It’s a nice complement to my favorite ink, Ama-iro. As you can see, the Iroshizuku 50ml bottles are beautiful and so cool! They are quite pricey, however, at around $18-$28. If you don’t want to spend so much, you can find 15ml bottles, but those are about $10, so the 50ml is a better value. On the other hand, it will take a while to use up all that ink unless you write a lot or use larger-nib fountain pens.

When I first started getting into fountain pens and inks, a friend of mine told me about buying ink samples from Goulet Pen Company. It’s a smart way to try out a wide variety of inks for not a lot of money. This is how I decided that I really liked Ama-iro and Chiku-rin. Plus it’s fun to experiment with colors that you’d probably never buy otherwise.

Of course, if you have a lot of different kinds of ink, you might want to get a bunch of fountain pens! I’ve lately purchased a bunch of Jinhao pens on Ebay. I don’t know how these companies can make money because the pens only cost ~$1-$4 with free shipping. The quality of the Jinhaos I have received is pretty good (I think I’ve gotten lucky), but for that price, if I ever get a dud, then it won’t be the end of the world.

I’m really having fun with my fountain pens and notebooks. I highly recommend getting into it. And, if you live nearby, I’d love to swap inks sometime!



"Travel Books" Austin, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Travel Books” Austin, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I dropped off my son and his friend downtown (Austin) so they could post some concert photos. And of course I had to stop by my favorite book store, BookPeople! It’s my favorite place to buy greeting cards and I needed to stock up on a few. But before that, I checked out my favorite section, which is Travel Memoirs. I love traveling so looking at all the cool destinations gets me excited! Where to go next?

What I love about BookPeople is that as an independent book store, they have the freedom to make staff recommendations (which are awesome) and also create their own displays. For instance, this incredible display:

"Display" Austin, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Display” Austin, 2017

Love it!

And then I had to browse the notebook section. I almost bought a Rhodia notebook, but then found these really nice (and affordable) Japanese notebooks. The staff recommendation said they are perfect for fountain pens, so I picked up these two notebooks:

"Notebook Haul" Austin, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO1600
“Notebook Haul” Austin, 2017

The paper is nice and writing on the pages with a fountain pen is smooth and the ink looks great on it. I kind of regret starting my daily journal in the current notebook now… it’s too big! Will take me years to fill it up. I should use smaller notebooks so that I can try different ones. I guess I just need to bite the bullet and switch over, leaving all those pages in the old book blank. 😭 But life’s too short to worry about those things, right?

I hope you had a nice Sunday!


Pens with My Traveler’s Notebook

"Kakuno and Traveler's Notebook" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“Kakuno and Traveler’s Notebook” Cedar Park, 2017

Hi all! Here’s a quick post about how I carry my two preferred pens on my passport-size Traveler’s Notebook. There are actually loop attachments for sale to which you can attach a pen, but I read that most of those mark up the cover of the notebook, so I decided to see if there was another option. Plus I’m cheap and didn’t want to spend money! 😅

"Kakuno and Clips" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/50 sec, ISO3200
“Kakuno and Clips” Cedar Park, 2017

I already had a bunch of these cool little binder clips on my notebook, and I positioned them so that the handles form little guides for the pen. This combined with the elastic band keep the Pilot Kakuno snug and secure. I also positioned a third clip (the pink one) so that the pen cap rests on it, and it centers the pen so that the top or bottom don’t stick out.

"Notebook and Pens" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Notebook and Pens” Cedar Park, 2017

I think the Pilot Kakuno is a good choice to use with the passport-sized Traveler’s Notebook because it has a cap (no accidental pushes on a push-button pen) and it’s just a couple millimeters shorter than the notebook. The perfect size!

"Pens and Traveler's Notebook" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/75 sec, ISO3200
“Pens and Traveler’s Notebook” Cedar Park, 2017

If I want to, there’s also room to put my other favorite pen, the LAMY Safari, right on the front. It’s a pretty simple system, but I like it, and it’s free!

I really like this set-up and think I’ll be using it for a long, long time. 😌

Some New Pens – LAMY Safari and Uni-Ball AIR

"Lamy Safari" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/55 sec, ISO3200
“Lamy Safari” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

At long last, I have a fountain pen that I love! It’s the LAMY Safari, with a broad nib. First of all, the broad nib is wonderful and suits my writing style. I mentioned in a previous post that I used to have a pen with a broad nib and that I wanted to find something similar. The LAMY fits the bill perfectly. And the design of the grip, which has two flat facets, is so comfortable to me and positions the nib at the perfect angle. Plus, I love the bright yellow color. It’s really a great pen.

I bought a converter with it so that I could fill it with my Sailor Souten ink, and it looks really nice. The ink’s color really shows with the broad line. However, I want to eventually get a brighter turquoise/aqua ink, which is the color I used to have with my calligraphy pen back in high school. But that can wait. I’ll enjoy the Souten for a while. 😀

The second pen that I newly bought is the Uni-Ball AIR. It’s also fantastic. It too has a very broad line, so of course, I think it is great (my other favorite pen is a 1 mm Zebra Sarasa). I am using the AIR for sketching and it works well for that. It glides over the paper nicely, probably the smoothest pen I own… the design is so sleek and it just gently comes to a point, and since the tip is black like the body, it looks really sharp. I did a sketch tonight using the AIR, and I think the pen worked nicely. The sketch itself is not so great, but I had fun drawing. I’ll probably draw the same scene again (from a reference photo) and try to improve it. By the way, I read that the AIR’s ink is waterproof, so it is good for putting watercolor over it. That’s the primary reason I bought the AIR, actually!

"Sketch" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“Sketch” Cedar Park, 2017

So, back to the Lamy Safari. It’s very different from my Pilot Metropolitan, and I can now form a better opinion about the Metro. I think it’s competent pen, and writes well, but to me, it lacks personality and charm. Simply put, it’s boring. I don’t really have a desire to pick it up. I guess my taste in pens is for something more fun, quirky, and eye-catching. Which is why…

I ordered another “fun” pen: the Pilot Kakuno. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be similar in writing quality as the Metropolitan (although with an even finer nib) but it just looks so fun. The nib even has a winky smiley face on it! How cool is that? I just want to pick it up and write with it.

You know, with cameras, they say the make and model doesn’t make a huge difference in picture quality. But if you find a camera attractive, you’ll want to pick it up and use it more. And if it can get you out shooting more, that’s a good thing! I guess it is the same things with pens. The Metropolitan doesn’t inspire me to take the cap off and write/sketch, but the LAMY does, and I am pretty sure the Kakuno will as well.

Ok, enough pen talk! I’ll let you go. As always, thanks for reading!


Notebook? Sketchbook?

"Traveler's Notebook" Cedar Park 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/100 sec, ISO3200
“Traveler’s Notebook” Cedar Park 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

So, I’ve been getting into the sketchbook/pen scene lately as you may have noticed, and while I love all the “stuff”, I was worried about actually using the items. For instance, now I have a nice notebook and fountain pen, but how will I use them? I mean, I like to use the computer to blog, so using the notebook to journal is redundant.

But then I thought I should just start just putting pen to paper and see what happens. Similar to the spirit of the video in the previous post, I decided not to worry too much about the quality of the content or even the subject matter, and just use the ink.

I’m still early in the notebook “journey”, but I like how it’s going. Basically, the ink has been used to sketch people, eyes, practice hiragana, and take a few notes. Sounds simple and maybe not very productive, but it’s fun and improves my well-being. So it’s worth it!

I hope you had a great day!