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Thread: Writing Surfaces

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    Default Writing Surfaces

    What wisdom do you have to share on writing surfaces, both the paper and what's underneath, that you've learned over the years?

    I have found that when writing in a notebook (I like midori A5), I sometimes get mushier writing (bleed, feather etc) on the left side. I think this is because the pages I have already written on do not lay as flat, due to the ink they have absorbed, and I can see that easily when looking at the pages with the book closed. So I've just recently started putting a small a5 size sheet of plastic underneath, to make it flatter, which I think may be helping.

    Another small piece of wisdom is to keep a sheet of paper the size of your notebook handy, which you can put under your hand to prevent oils from your hand getting onto the page. It also acts as blotting paper when you need to turn the page and don't want to wait so long for the ink to dry. I guess it sort of bookmarks the page as well.

    Another quirky fact I recently noticed is that my iroshizuku inks don't deplete as quickly as Noodler's Heart of Darkness. I really like Heart of Darkness, but maybe part of the reason it is so dark is that it pulls itself into the paper better, drawing more ink from the pen. Or perhaps it's just my imagination. Even with my posting nib, however, it really got used quicker than I'm used to. It could just be a side effect of the Chinese characters I'm writing recently, as short strokes tend to use more ink than cursive roman letters.

    I'm not sure how deep a topic like this goes, but please share any experiences you have with tangentially related topics, writing desks or what have you, what is your favourite place to write, your favourite paper, your least favourite place to write etc.

    I look forward to your replies.

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Writing Surfaces

    I use a hardcover spiralback A5 notebook and write wherever I happen to be. Sometimes I'm fortunate and there's a table to use but most of the time the notebook is on my knee. Of course my handwriting isn't the best in that situation but I manage to keep it legible, for me at least. That's how all my blog entries are drafted. I get through about five notebooks a year this way. Correspondence, of course, requires a little more care and is usually done at the dining room table.
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    Default Re: Writing Surfaces

    Thanks for bringing this up. Our writing experience discussions are too often limited to the 'big three'--paper, pen, and ink--but unless you are writing under many sheets of paper, the surface below really does matter (of course those sheets matter too as pointed out). I have always liked writing on a well-kept and smooth wood or linoleum desk: they balance precision and 'softness' perfectly. Glass, on the other hand, feels cold and harsh, and I always have this irrational feeling that I'm damaging the nib.
    Will
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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Writing Surfaces

    I write on one sheet of stationary at a time on top of a leather desk pad, rather than writing on layers of paper bound in a notepad.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Writing Surfaces

    I'm very similar to Fred. Any writing I do in a notebook or pad isn't for anyone elses eyes so I don't fuss with it. What I *DO* do - and here's a nod to International Left-Handers Day today - is put something underneath the left side of a notebook so it is raised as high as the right side... until you are more than 1/2 way through. It helps me having an even writing surface.

    As to actual correspondence, I use a clipboard with a couple sheets of paper affixed to it, and darker so I see the outline of my pages. This gives just a small bit of cushion but not too much. For being LH, I rotate the writing surface about 30 degrees or so to the right, but most importantly I have a pad that is about 1-2" high that I place under the top of the board, to put it on an angle. It seems like a big hassle but it's really nothing. Naturally, this is all when I write at home, anything out and about is catch as catch can.

    I actually have a shot of the writing setup:

    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Writing Surfaces

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    I'm very similar to Fred. Any writing I do in a notebook or pad isn't for anyone elses eyes so I don't fuss with it. What I *DO* do - and here's a nod to International Left-Handers Day today - is put something underneath the left side of a notebook so it is raised as high as the right side... until you are more than 1/2 way through. It helps me having an even writing surface.

    As to actual correspondence, I use a clipboard with a couple sheets of paper affixed to it, and darker so I see the outline of my pages. This gives just a small bit of cushion but not too much. For being LH, I rotate the writing surface about 30 degrees or so to the right, but most importantly I have a pad that is about 1-2" high that I place under the top of the board, to put it on an angle. It seems like a big hassle but it's really nothing. Naturally, this is all when I write at home, anything out and about is catch as catch can.

    I actually have a shot of the writing setup:

    I thought I was alone with the clipboard.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Writing Surfaces

    Mostly the surface is my remaining notebook pages and desk below that. I will put a notebook under the left side to raise and support when writing on the left side (or back of page if you prefer)

    Correspondence is on a Clairefontaine pad with guide lines page underneath the current page, also on my desk.

    I cannot write legibly on my lap or knee or ewally anything except a desk-like surface. I need all the help I can get to write neatly.

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    Default Re: Writing Surfaces

    I have a very slightly padded clipboard with a book-style cover. I do most of my writing on the sofa with that on my knees. I leave paper in its pad and just use the clipboard closed as a surface, or if it is a loose sheet then fold it open and use the clip but with a lot of other paper underneath.

    I definitely prefer having a good cushion of paper underneath, including on plastic or wooden desks.

    Oh, and the angle is very changeable - for an A4 pad I'll have the whole thing diagonally on my knees, while for smaller pads or notebooks I'll turn the clipboard 90 degrees to have a wider surface. I like A5.
    Last edited by Voiren; August 14th, 2019 at 01:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Writing Surfaces

    Most of my writing is in A5 sized journals or other smallish notebooks. I write the occasional letter on "letter sized" paper. For the surface itself, if I don't have enough sheets of paper underneath, I do have a couple of plastic mats that work pretty well, one firm, the other softer.

    Angle and height are crucial for me. I do best sitting at a table or desk in a chair that keeps me sitting up straight. My handwriting takes a dip if I have to write on my knees, even if I use a lap desk or clipboard. It really goes bad if I have to write standing up, as one might when filling out paperwork at a counter. That's one reason a "standing desk" has never appealed to me.
    "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."
    Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Writing Surfaces

    I generally write in A5 or A6 notebooks, so cushioning the nib is not an issue. An improvised writing slope (actually a ring binder laid sideways) makes for a more comfortable writing angle.

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