Pen and Paper · The Friday Flex · Watercolor

‘The Friday Flex’ Issue #3: Watercolors and Cover Letters

‘The Friday Flex’ is a weekly newsletter consisting of stationery and lifestyle news pieces. It primarily focuses my personal experiences with pen and paper krafts.

Table of Contents

  1. Instagram Highlights
  2. Tomoe River Paper & Watercolors Experiment
  3. Coping with Cover Letters: Stationery Style

I. Instagram Highlights

Resilience. #tarquinswords #calligraphy #penmanship #noodlers #black #Speedball #oblique #crossfield

A post shared by Joanna Mei (@joannamei11) on

II. Tomoe River & Water Colors Experiment

My Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 008.jpg

If you still have not heard of Tomoe River paper, here is the TL;DR: Tomoe River is a lightweight, ink-friendly paper. My journal, the Seven Seas ‘Writer’ (SEE REVIEW HERE) is made of Tomoe River paper and I love it. This paper is well-known for being the best paper for fountain pens because not only is there no bleedthrough or feather,ing, it shows off the ink’s shading and sheening properties beautifully. The only downside is that there is considerable showthrough. Still, it is smooth without being too glassy and almost as thin as tracing paper. It is almost perfection itself.

One particular use for Tomoe River paper that I’ve seen around the web is watercoloring. I believe that most users of Tomoe River paper are Hobonichi Techo users. The Hobonichi is a Japanese page-per-day planner that is made with TR paper. In addition to being used as a planner, many use it for daily journaling, sketching, or even watercoloring. I now own two Tomoe River journals, the Seven Seas ‘Writer’ and ‘Crossfield,’ yet still had not racked up the courage to put watercolors on this paper. Until now.

Yes, I could have asked any one of the many Hobonichi users to explain to me how the Tomoe River paper survives watercolors and whether you can still write on the other side. However, I decided to just try it out. What’s the worse that could happen?

My Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 009
Front
My Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 012
Back

My Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 013

As you can see from the images, the Tomoe River holds up remarkably to watercolors and even when writing on the other side with a dip nib (after it dried), I stil didn’t experience any bleedthrough or feathering. Even showthrough was minimal because the watercolors were opaque enough.

My Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 010

To finish this mini-experiment, I tried writing on top of the watercolors (after it dried) and the results were still perfect. It seems like this paper’s ink-resistant properties remain even after getting wet. Simply remarkable.

The conclusion: if any of you out there are still afraid to try watercoloring on Tomoe River paper because you are worried about making the other side unusable, don’t be. Tomoe River paper is a beast (in the good way!).

III. Coping with Cover Letters – Stationery Style

My Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 001.jpg

If you ever applied for jobs in your life, most like you have encountered this daunting task called a cover letter. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones who is unphased. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I stress, I get emotional, and I question my life and everything I’ve ever done ever. So, how do I deal with this?

With my pens and papers, of course!

While I don’t exactly send handwritten cover letters (because I can’t imagine mailing a cover letter, let alone a handwritten one), there are many ways to take advantage of the therapeutic qualities of writing

  1. Handwriting cover letter drafts with ‘Pretend’ promptMy Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 002.jpg
    • Tools: Moleskine Volant + Pilot Rexgrip .5mm in Blue
    • There is a very helpful article in found on ‘The Muse‘ about using a Mind Trick to help you write cover letters. The idea is this: Pretend you already got this job and the employer already loves you and thinks you are qualified for this job. This letter doesn’t need to impress them because they’re already impressed. They just want to know why you applied for this position, what are your dreams and goals, and do you have any ideas on how to help them improve.
    • I like how this prompt makes cover letters feel more positive. I always fall back on this when I feel stuck. I admit, most times, I don’t use a lot of what I free-write. However, just thinking about why I want the job and why I think I am perfect for it gives me the confidence to actually prove it.
    • So, with my Moleskine Volant and my Pilot Rexgrip .5mm in tow, I powered through the prompt. Then, I wrote the cover letter using the draft and an old cover letter as a guide. Plus, I had the help of a good friend and my lovely older sister.
  2. Gratitude JournalMy Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 004.jpg
    • Tools: Studio Oh! Deconstructed Journal and Sheaffer’s Touchdown
    • I struggled through a lot of this cover letter writing process and when I was feeling most down, I cracked open my wellness journal and wrote about what I was thankful for. It really helped me keep my life in perspective and made the job junt feel less daunting.
  3. General JournalMy Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 003.jpg
    • Tools: Seven Seas ‘Writer’ and Sheaffer’s Touchdown
    • When you are feeling down, feel free to rant. I put down my deepest darkest fears, worries, and emotions into this notebook and after an emotional period (and some tears), I pulled through and felt so much lighter. When you write your feelings down, it is not that they suddenly disappear because you’re not locking them away and forgetting them. Instead you are acknowledging them and trying to understand them. Only by acknowledging and understand can you begin to let go.
  4. Art and Calligraphy NotebookMy Precious Krafts 2016-02-25 005
    • Tools: Seven Seas ‘Crossfield’ and Sakura Koi 24-Watercolor Set
    • Last but no least, art was an essential part of my destressing process. I cannot explain to you how holding a brush filled with water and painting watercolors with it makes you feel better, but it just does. It wasn’t even that I expressed all my sadness and frustration through this painting. I just wanted to use up the ink leftover in my fountain pens and test out this Tomoe River and watercolor thing, so I drew a pot with a flower plant that had a house facade on top. (Yes, I’m weird.) Yet, I felt so relaxed and even just looking at my weird house flower plant helped me focus on the task ahead

Hopefully, this was helpful for those of you who are on the job hunt and writing cover letters or are stressed out in general. Calligraphy, art, writing… these are wonderful things that are there to help you express yourself and make you happy. So, use them! Don’t let the stress take you down. Stay strong and keep fighting!

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