Beneath the rather banal cover of the Kokuyo Campus Report Pad A4 ($4.10), hides some pretty amazing paper. When I first peeled back the flimsy cover, I was greeted by the undersheet and went “Hmmm, is this what I ordered?” After flipping past that, I realized that the paper was actually blissfully blank and a very lightweight. It reminded be a little of the Tomoe River paper found in my Hobonichi Planner. Do I have you attention now?
The undersheet is conveniently printed on both sides. One side is just lined, the other side is marked with a grid.
The paper is lightweight enough that you can easily see the lines or grid undersheet through the paper. The undersheet is more heavyweight than the paper so it feel like it will be durable enough for use through a full pad of paper, even with the possibilities of ink transfer.
Undersheets are one of the reasons I love blank paper. If the paper light enough, or your undersheet is dark enough, you can quickly have lined or grid paper to work from but then not be distracted by the lines once you’ve written on the paper. If you’re sketching, you can skip the undersheet altogether and you have a clear, blank of expanse to inspire you. With blank paper, you get the best of all worlds.
Now, how well does the paper perform in writing tests? Excellently, that’s how. I put it through its paces with gel, rollerball, pencil and fountain pens and not one bled or smeared. I didn’t track dry times but even with my smeary, left-handedness, I didn’t have any smudges. The only pen that led through was a Sharpie marker but I tried it just to see if it would.
From the reverse of the paper, you can see that there is quite a bit of show-through because the paper is so lightweight but nothing leaked through except the Sharpie, which I expect on all paper but cardboard boxes. I like this paper so much, I considered putting it in the queue as a regular pen testing notebook so I thought I better compare it to the current reigning champ, the Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank.
The Rhodia pad paper is on the left, the Campus pad is on the right. As you can see, the Rhodia paper is considerably brighter white. The Campus pad is a soft white. Which, for my purposes, rules the Campus out for ink testing since I like to be able to clearly see the colors without any color pollution as a result of the paper.
From the reverse, its easy to see that the Rhodia is a thicker stock so there is little show-through. I added the Sharpie marker just to have something bleed through so my camera had something to focus on.
If cost is an issue and you are looking for a lay-flat writing pad with easy, tear-away sheets AND is fountain pen-friendly, the Campus Report Pad is a great option. Its considerably cheaper than a Rhodia No. 18 pad and very similar size. For US folks, the A4 size is about an inch taller and a quarter inch narrower than “letter-sized” paper so fitting the sheets into a 3-ring binder or standard file folders might not work as well as the Rhodia No. 18 which perforates down to a standard letter-sized sheet.