Roughly a year ago I started brainstorm ways to catalog my growing ink collection as an effort to keep track of which inks I have tried.  Unfortunately the old way faltered since very few ink was recorded into my catalog.  I took it as a sign that perhaps I should think of another way to document these ink, in addition to self-discipline.

While waiting for the arrival of Midori Traveler’s Notebook in passport size, I contemplated on the use of it.  The notebook measures 6″x 4″, smaller than most notebooks I use on a regular basis, and pigeonhole it would be a waste, since admiration from a distance can be done at a Kinokuniya Bookstore.  Then the mental light bulb came up.  The notebook is handy in size and I can easily keep it on my side to document any new ink that came across my way.

Midori Traveler’s Notebook in passport size.  This is a limited edition and collaboration with the “Star” Ferry Co. in Hong Kong.
Each ink occupies one page in the notebook.  Though Midori paper appears very similar to the Moleskine, the former is fountain pen friendly and can withstand some of the wettest pens and finicky ink I have.  As seen below, the criteria of an ink included on each page are the color, shading, feathering, flow, and water resistance.  A short observation or thought on the ink is recorded on the bottom, along with which pen is used when the log is written. 
A sample page of the ink journal.  Sorry for any typographical errors I made on these pages!

So far, this new method prevails over the old ones in several fronts:

  1. It is less restrictive:  My old way involves a binder or a large size notebook, which mean that I can only catalog ink while at home.  Due to the portability of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, I can literally documenting ink that are in my rotation, even when I am on the go.
  2. The printer paper I purchased for my previous cataloging effort has a glossy surface, thus the color of the ink might appear distorted/different than if it is on matte paper surface.  I definitely should not choose a paper that defeats the intended purpose!
  3. The new method involves less “tools”:  In my previous attempts, I included swatches of ink that I recorded.  Though they provide good reference points, cotton swabs are required at all time that means convenience of home is a prerequisite.  
Below shows a brief photographic comparison among my various ink journaling attempts:


In case my old methods pique interest and curiosity, you can read about it here and here.

Do you keep an ink journal?  If so, what is your approach?


6 thoughts on “Ink Journal

  1. I really liked it!

    I also have a plan of having cardstocks and business card holder but it is just to see the color and the name of the ink. It is not detailed as you do. I want just a quick reference.


  2. Shangching,

    I like it and I still need an excuse to break for a Midori. I like the free form style. You've seen mine and I like it but may try a little more details like you have.


  3. Yes, it takes a lot of resolve to get a Midori TN; in fact, the notebook has been on my radar since 2005, and I did not get one until recently. My method can easily be adapted for any small size notebook, like the Clairefontaine one you are using.

    If you are interested in Midori paper, Goulet does sell Midori notebooks, and they are on close out if I recall correctly.


  4. This is a very great plan! I currently use a small Clairefontaine notebook (it came with one of my InkDrop packages) but I'm not so thorough in my system, I just write down the ink and the pen used. I like the simplicity and effectiveness of your system 🙂


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