This month marked the actual 2 year journalversary… two years that I’ve been journaling on a steady basis using art and words. I know it might not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it’s been a big deal. Not only has adding art to my journaling increased my creativity, lessened my anxiety and help manage my depression, but it’s also helped me with self-doubt and self-esteem.
I talk about much of this in this video about Fear, Self-Doubt, and Creativity:
Another thing I’ve realized is how far I’ve come with my art. By the way, I am not a professional artist. Nor am I professional writer (yet). But I am an artist. A writer. And I’ve learned that combining art and words in my journal, in my outlining for my novels (using Tarot is visual (artistic) and the Hero’s Journey is structure), has helped me figure out an outlining method that works for me.
When I first started adding more visual elements like drawings, watercolor, pictures, and more to my journal pages I figured out quickly that the paper in my journal made a difference. I joined the Fauxbonichi journal group after watching videos by MissVickyB and Anna Brimbles. They showed a journal called the Miquel Ruis. I got one. Loved the cute red journal and the smooth pages until I tried to watercolor on the paper. Before long, many in the group complained that once their journal was halfway finished the binding started breaking and the journal started falling apart. I know, from personal experience, that when you add elements like stickers, watercolor, die-cuts, real life ephemera or purchased ephemera the journal does become chunky quite quickly.
I prefer an A5 sized journal. The average size of an A5 is 8×5 inches. I didn’t use the Miquel Ruis for very long. I purchased an actual Hobonichi, and a Seven Seas Standard, both of which are made with 52 gsm Tomoe River paper. The Hobonichi has almost-white Tomoe River paper and a sort of pale gray grid, and the Seven Seas Standard has plain Tomoe River paper. I love Tomoe River paper. Absolutely love it. It crinkles slight, has the slight ripple to it, when you add watercolor. And the feel of the paper is delicious. I loved working with the paper from both journals, but soon I realized that because I write a lot, and my handwriting is rather large, that being limited to one page per day in the Hobonichi wasn’t good for me. I could use as many pages as I wanted for each day in the Seven Seas Standard, but I was limited with the Hobonichi.
I heard about the Seven Seas Crossfield, which is 480 pages of 52gsm Tomoe River paper with 5mm “dot” grid–the little dots aren’t dots they’re these really small little pale blue crosses that make up the “dot grid.” I loved it. Really loved it. I started using the Crossfield right around the same time I heard about the bullet journal. I started trying to add elements of the bullet journal to my “fauxbonichi” style journal. I was almost finished with my Crossfield when I looked on Nanamipaper’s website to order another and found that they weren’t available. All sold out. A month or so later a friend informed me that the Crossfield would be available in a few days, I ordered two. Many people who love the Seven Seas journals commented that when the journals become available they sell quickly–usually within 24 hours they’re sold again, especially the Crossfield. I was so glad I ordered two.
One book July was coming around and I was trying really hard to find my way in regard to my journal. I wanted a journal that could house bits of everything. Elements like planning, art, photos, everyday ephemera, facts, quotes, research, collections, and more. An Omni Journal. I used my Crossfield and loved it. I wanted a journal I could house in my Jonelifish A5 trifold with an insert or two behind it for other more specific things. I wanted to be able to chronicle anything and everything from watercolor, common place style journal pages, to-do lists, collections, photos, and diary style journaling instead of keeping things separate. I was still journaling “fauxbonichi style” but I also started adding in other things, thus the term Omni Journal.
Because I add so much to my Omni Journal they fill up quickly. I noticed the Crossfield, which has 480 pages, lasts me about 6 months. I briefly tried using a Bullet Journal separately from my Omni Journal. I tried doing that in the Leuchtturm 1917 and in the Crossfield, but keeping it separate didn’t work for me. I went to Nanamipaper to buy another Crossfield but they were sold out. So I went searching for A5 journals with Tomoe River paper and came across the Taroko Design shop and their Enigma and Mystique. At the time the Taroko shop was sold out of the Enigma, and without too much research, but based on a few reviews I read, I ordered the Mystique.
The Mystique is an A5 sewn binding made of 80gsm Taroko Orchid grid paper. It’s gorgeous, thick, and smooth but not glossy or slick. It takes fountain pen fabulously, and though there is some ghosting there is rarely bleed through. It’s absolutely wonderful paper, but I soon realized that the Mystique was not Tomoe River paper. I became concerned that I was messing up the journal by adding watercolor to it. So I stopped using it as my Omni Journal and got out the second Crossfield and started using at as my Omni Journal. Well…. My journal is almost full and it’s almost the end of the year so I went back to Nanamipaper to order a Crossfield and wouldn’t you know, not in stock. So I went back to the Taroko Design shop on Etsy to see if they had the Enigma in, which actually has 68gsm Tomoe River paper. Yep. In stock. So I ordered one. It came in 8-9 days, which is great considering it was being shipped from overseas to South Carolina, USA. It was packaged well, and I was in awe when I opened it. WOW! The paper in the Enigma is so freaking awesome. It’s thicker than the Tomoe River paper in the Hobonichi, the Crossfield, or the Standard. It’s not as thick as the Mystique, but the Mystique is 80gsm Orchid paper that’s to be expected. The Hobonichi, Crossfield, Standard, Enigma, and Mystique are all great for fountain pen use. And I’ve had no issues using watercolor with any of those, BUT the Tomoe River paper does take the watercolor better.
I’ve started setting up my Enigma for next year, as that’s the journal I’ll be using for my Omni Journal, and the Mystique that is only half used will become my Morning pages journal. I’m good with that, since there is no way I’ll let half of that wonderful 80gsm Orchid paper go to waste. 😀
If you’re interested, the Seven Seas journals can be found at http://nanamipaper.com, and the Taroko Design Shop can be found on Etsy–he also has a FB page, as well as a few listings of his items on Amazon. 😀
I’m going to insert the video I made showing the journals here at the end so you can see what the journals look like. Hope this review helps.