One of my favorite things about pen meetups and shows is seeing how everyone uses different notebooks. You’ll see pocket notebooks, big pads of paper, and all manner of places to write in between. It always leads to great discussion around how people use their different kinds of notebooks. So, I thought it might be fun to write out how I use all the different notebooks that I use in my day to day. I’ve already written about my Hobonichi and my journals, so this will be about some of the other notebooks that I use.

We’ll start with the chunkiest fellow in use: the ivory Hippo Noto in dot grid. What’s to say about this notebook? Hundreds of pages of 68gsm Tomoe River paper, all bound up in a nice leatherette cover with an enclosure band and everything, the Hippo is a big ol chunk of paper. I backed during the original Kickstarter, and I’m glad I did. It was a cool thing to get in on the ground floor of, and I was happy to support a great project.

But any way you slice it, 500 pages is a LOT of pages to work through, and that can be intimidating. When I first got the notebook, I had no idea what I was going to use it for. A nearly two year journal? Dot grid doesn’t suit me for longer form writing. A work notebook? I want something that I won’t feel bad about shredding later, and I would definitely feel bad about shredding an entire Hippo.

What I ended up with was my “play” notebook. All of these pages of heavier Tomoe River makes the Hippo a great candidate for big blobs of ink, messing around with water brushes, and testing pens and ink. When I go to a meetup, I pull my Hippo out immediately as a place to try other peoples’ pens and nibs. And lately, when I get new ink, I’ll pull out my blunted syringes and the bottle and see what sort of splatters I can make. And if a page from one of my daughter’s children’s books sticks out, sometimes I’ll go and play around with some water brushes and see if I can recreate some of the scenes. 68gsm Tomoe River actually holds up pretty well for that purpose.

So, over time, my Hippo is getting to be a neat collection of different nibs, inks, and crinkly paper, and I love it. I’m only about a fifth of the way through the notebook so far, but I’m in no rush to fill it. It’s just a place to play, and I can’t wait to make my next big ink splatter or currently inked page.

And hey, if you want to see this notebook in person, I’ll be at the Baltimore Pen Show next week! I can’t wait!