A Blog About Stationery Blogs
The Best Pen and Stationery Blogs To Follow
If I could live solely in an analog world, I would. I think back to my childhood when there were no cellphones, no home computers, 8-track tape players (did I just age myself?) and record players, with the fondest of memories. One of my very favorite things to do back then was go to the dime store (now I have really aged myself,) with my Grandmother to buy a new notebook. I never wanted toys, just art supplies and stationery. I can remember buying pads of writing paper and stacking them in my room like precious first editions.
As I got older, I began to beg to go to the graphic art supply shop in our town. I just wanted to look at my then grail pen: The Rapidograph! Fast forward to now and though the world has changed, I haven’t all that much (aside from my grail pen being way more pocketbook draining). I am still giddy when I am on the hunt for the perfect pen, pencil, notebook or the accoutrements of writing. I am happiest when I am in a stationery or pen shop leisurely seeking out treasures. I am terrible about answering my phone, not much better at email or returning texts and my planner is still made out of paper and doesn’t beep at me when I’m late. I cling to what is tactile as I imagine many of you reading this do.
It will come as no surprise that I love meeting people with these same loves and habits, especially when the opportunity arises to meet face to face. I love knowing what they’ve found, what they like and dislike, so when Galen asked me to write a blog about stationery blogs, I was happy to explore a whole world of analog lovers writing about loving analog in the digital space.
As is always the case with these articles, there is a rather large world out there with many great bloggers, so while this list (in mostly alphabetical order), serves as a start, I may have missed your favorite. Please feel free to add them in the comments so that their sites might also be a part of this list.
Matthias Meckel has put together a beloved blog about pencils and other stationery. This is bits and bobs of amazing. I don’t know how else to say it. Since 2009 Meckel has been doing reviews, linking interesting articles, highlighting vintage items, odd office supplies, into a feed that is as varied as it is fascinating. I skipped through the archives happily and I suggest that you do the same. It’s a joy.
Mike Dudek’s blog offers really great close-ups, both in photographs and in words. His reviews are truly in-depth, nuts and bolts studies of paper, pencils and pens. He takes them apart and shows you through pictures and language exactly what to expect. If you’re lucky you can also take advantage of the culling of his personal collection through his sales page. And though he hasn’t made them in some time, I also remain hopeful that Mike will make and sell another batch of his beautifully made, wood desk caddies.
Carie Harling is my hero. She is a mom to seven boys. Seven. Boys. It’s no wonder that her blog is called Dispatches from the Frat House (at first I thought I had arrived at the wrong site!) Here you will find Carie’s planner focused reviews and videos (which are so much fun and so charming.) If you want book suggestions, those are here, too. Such a treat!
Comfortable Shoes Studio
Less Harper, who is studying to be a licensed art therapist, helms this blog where she muses (mostly,) about art and writing supplies. It’s a relaxed read that makes you feel like your friend is sharing what they care about with you. And if you need to know about Kombucha, Less shares that, too, both on this blog and her other site dedicated to fermentation.
Started in 2017 for beginners and veteran pen collectors and users both, Ed Jelley’s fountain pen, fountain pen ink and stationery reviews are easy reads and offer something for everyone. Quality photos and an easy index for reading previous reviews make this a good starting point for anyone in the hobby.
While not a traditional blog (if you head to this site, you will mainly find links leading you other platforms,) David Parker’s presence in the pen community seemed too important to ignore due to my own self-limiting formalities. If you click on the YouTube icon on his site, you will be invited into Figboot’s vast library of pen reviews that nearly four million viewers have watched over the past nine years. Thorough, engaging, and helpful when trying to make an informed decision about a purchase, here you will find reviews of all manner of pens in varying price ranges. While you watch and learn, make note to pay close attention to the Rubik’s cube on the table behind Figboot. It is often coordinated to the pen being reviewed and just one of the fun details of this highly respected reviewer’s videos.
Fountain Pen Love
Since 2017, professional photographer John Bosley, a 20-year fountain pen user and Esterbrook lover, has been writing his blog “dedicated to people who love using, collecting and learning about fountain pens”. He has even written a book about vintage inks, which I would love to get my hands on, especially knowing he is using vintage inks in his pens, still. Highlights of the site include a visual glossary for fountain pens, a great section on fountain pen basics and stellar photography (that he’s a pro totally shows).
Gary Varner and Ink and Core
Gary Varner’s personal blog and stationery related blog, Ink & Core, may have the singular distinction on this list of having been written for a year from the comforts of a Winnebago Travato Camper, while he travelled most of the US. Read his writings and musings on his namesake site and then proceed to Ink & Core to hear this former Communications Specialist Manager, wax poetic on pens and the like.
Since 2010 Azizah Asgarali has been “exploring delectable pens and associated addictions”. This light-hearted, fair and fun blog has over 2,000 posts dedicated to the pros and cons of a multitude of pens and fantastically charming videos to accompany them, not to mention, a whole page dedicated to Azizah’s staff of cats. Always a welcome addition to any pen show roster for her vast knowledge, there is a reason that Gourmet Pens comes up on any must-read blog list.
Mike Matteson has been at the helm of his blog since 2008. A philosophy teacher by day, Mike found himself constantly taking notes and writing lectures and became addicted to trying inks in the process. His handwritten reviews are thorough, with great close-ups and a variety of tests on different papers. Additionally, his affable personality comes through in his writing making this blog a really enjoyable read. It’s like hanging out with your best friend who has A LOT to say about ink.
This site is written by Connie from Jetpens.com, so it is no surprise that her blog has uber detailed and excellent ink posts. Writing at least once a week about fountain pens, ink, paper and whatever strikes her fancy since 2017, this is a perfect site to seek out when you want the benefit of having the information come from someone who has made the hobby into a profession or vice-versa.
Twelve years into the venture of inkophile, Margana’s site is an ink lover or explorer’s dream site. With over 180 bottles of her own ink, she uses the blog as a “running record of successes and disappointments in searching for quality, balanced with style and functionality in pens and all things related, especially ink.” A huge list of links to all things pen and ink related also make this an exceptional resource.
Notes in a Book
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, since 2012 this blog has done the most clever exercise I found in all of my research: the A to Z challenge. Every April they choose a notebook and stationery theme and blog about it, one letter at a time. Topics have included Around the World, Specific Purposes Notebooks and Japanese Stationery. If you love notebooks, buying them and using them, you will adore this site. The blog also has a great comparison of Stationery Subscription boxes that I think readers will find quite helpful.
Pencil Revolution has been recording the pencil revolution since 2005. That is fifteen years of pencil talk. And talk about pencils, he does! As one of the hosts of the celebrated Erasable podcast, Johnny Gamber came to the airwaves via this site which discusses “pencil philosophy: wooden wisdom, product reviews and ephemera, etc." It is also the site where I was introduced to another must-have, a MOST beautiful cherry wood pencil case. I hope this nugget gives you enough inspiration to go digging around this insightful site to find it.
Pastor and Pen
Okay, I know that it is generally not advisable to talk about politics and religion with an audience you don’t know, but I’m doing it anyway because Pastor Kevin Larson is too cool to leave off this list. I’ll leave it to you if you want to read the parts of his site that relate to theology, ministry and his sermons (which I did and really enjoyed,) and highly suggest that you click on “reviews” and read his take on pens, ink and notebooks. In a writing heavy occupation like his, he has lots to say and he says it well.
Pencil Case Blog
Belgian based Dries started his blog in 2013, distinguishing himself from his “Bic-chewing friends”. A photography hobbyist, as well, this site has gorgeous photos (some of the best out there,) and in-depth reviews that are witty and funny, to boot.
Since 2007 Brad Dowdy has been flexing his pen addicted muscle on his blog. Co-founder of cult favorite Nock Co., co-host of the Pen Addict podcast with Myke Hurley, and a partner in pen and pencil brand Spoke Design, Brad is a fan favorite on the pen show circuit and his blog is universally appreciated for his mix of seriousness and fun, and the range and depth he displays when reviewing everything from a Bic Cristal (oh, how I love thee, Bic Cristal,) to a limited edition Aurora (I love thee just as much.) This is a blog for all those suffering from pen addiction or anyone who is on their way.
Jestine, a product manager and UX designer started her site to “talk about how we use analog tools in the digital age”. For those with a love for and an interest in deep dives into the bullet journal, Rediscover Analog is for you. As someone who is always trying to improve their system for notes, to-do lists, etc. I found a lot of tips and tricks here. Jestine rounds out the site with reviews and lots of new product introductions.
Dr. Stephen B.R.E. Brown has a PhD in psychology and if there were such a thing, he’d have one in pens, too. His pens, paper, ink, and gear reviews are watched by his more than 50K subscribers and his blog continues the conversation through basic information, size comparisons to other writing instruments, and close-up photography. An index of his reviews in alphabetical order found on the site makes navigating the sizeable amount of content manageable. Just for giggles, and we all could use a little bit of levity in 2020, make sure to tune in to Dr. Brown’s YouTube, pick a pen review of your choice and hope that pen has an outer box. The box tossing in his videos makes me laugh every time and then he gets down to the serious business of pens.
Stockholm based Michael Waitinger has been writing about pens, notetaking and writing on his blog since 2015. Scrively is universally well-regarded and finds itself on everyone’s blog list. My guess is that this is due to a format that offers a whole host of reviews with quick facts, a photo gallery and a video to accompany many of them. No matter your time constraints to spend reading or watching or your level of experience, this site is super useful for all sorts of information in several formats. It also introduced me to mind-papers, now on my must-try list.
Those With Words
Originally started in 2015 to express Chelsea Park’s creativity through short stories, Those with Words has pivoted to this Californian’s adventures with stationery. This is a beautiful study of the EDC, peppered with store tours and tips and tricks for taking your stationery toolbox on the road. This is a quiet site with a strong point of view. Don’t miss Chelsea’s IG account which is a visual feast.
The Gentleman Stationer
Another blog found on everyone’s blogrolls and lists is the Gentleman Stationer. You know that anyone who refers to themselves as a stationery “junkie” is serious about the hobby. At least Joe, the gentleman behind the blog is being more honest with himself that the rest of us. His site reads like an aldaily.com for stationery (if you don’t read aldaily.com you might like it, and trust that was a compliment,) with links to deals, new products, articles, etc. His best of lists are super helpful and his curated section and gently used sections are great places to purchase some of what Joe is into and he’s into great stuff.
Started in 2014, this blog co-written by Patrick Rhone, Harry Marks and Shawn Mihalok, is dedicated to the pleasures of writing with analog tools. With less focus on “stuff” and more focus on the actual use of that stuff, this blog is filled to the brim with links, quotes, studies, insightful reviews and opinions.
The Serial Doodler
Since 2014 Philippines based Pao has been sharing book reviews, ink swabs with beautiful drawings and incredible journal art. If you appreciate seeing how ink can be used to write and make art, this will serve as a wonderful source of inspiration.
For the past eighteen months, Unsharpen has been providing straightforward, informational, reviews and data about pens and pencils. If you have questions you were afraid to ask, such as what the different letter/number combinations mean with regards to notebook sizes, what an architect nib is, or how to splatter ink for a sheen/shade test, this is the place. I hope this is just the beginning for this site; sometimes getting back to basics is just what is needed.
UK Fountain Pens
Anthony Newman has been writing his blog since 2017 as part of a New Year’s resolution to give something back to the hobby. With titles like “My desk is not nice enough to do justice to the Galen Desk Pad” and “10 pen experiences to try before you die” it’s easy to see why this is a beloved blog. With pen reviews that have been mindfully indexed and an excellent buyer’s guide, here’s hoping that Newman is true to his word, “having more pens and ink that he’ll need in a lifetime,” so that he keeps posting about them.
Well Appointed Desk
Celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, Ana Reinert’s Well-Appointed Desk is a compendium of all things pen, stationery and desk accessories. The content is written by Reinert and a powerful quartet of women (Jesi Coles, Jaclyn Myers, Tina Koyama and Laura Cameron,) whose different voices and areas of analog expertise make for an escape from the drudge of your desk to the joy of theirs. Reinert is also, with her husband, the creator of the beloved Col-o-ring and Col-o-desk, both necessities for any well-appointed desk.
Write To Me Often
www.banasikcayaz.com (write to me often)
This is Write to me Often, penned by Zeynep Kalemsever. Based in Turkey, Zeynep’s blog shares her love of new and vintage pens, inks, accessories and books. I suggest that if you don’t speak Turkish, that you still go to the Turkish version of her site and use the translator tool. There is a lot of content that you will miss on the English version and trust me, you don’t want to. Also, Zeynep has gorgeous handwriting, so make sure to seek it out on her site.
Written by Justin, a Canadian, Write Experience is a great resource for those in the upper north of North America to access information to Canadian made or affordably imported pens, inks, notebooks and more, without compromising quality. The site reviews everything from Amazon Basics No. 2 pencils to a rare Montblanc, so this is A to Z at its best.
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