I’m a fan of pocket notebooks. I’m not a super organized user of structured rules and systems, but I love the fact that wherever I go I always have a piece of scratch paper to take down a phone number or write a time and place that I have to be. Endless Works, makers of the Endless Recorder which I reviewed last month, have decided to enter the pocket notebook market with their new Endless Storyboard. The first edition of the Storyboard, called Moonshot, is already sold out as I sit down to write this review, but I’d still encourage you to take a look at my thoughts so that you’ll be ready when the second edition arrives on shelves.
The Storyboard notebooks come in a pack of two 3.5” x 5.9” books, each containing 64 thread-bound pages. They use a new 90 gsm “ink-loving“ paper that Endless Works has been collaborating on the development of, in a “natural colored” finish. There is a page up front to list your name, contact info, and dates in use, but otherwise the pages (at least for this Moonshot edition) all feature a dot grid layout. The covers of this edition feature images of the moon, with embossing to match the moon’s features.
I’ve seen criticism in the community that these covers are too close to the popular Field Notes Lunacy Edition from 2016. Personally, I actually think if anything it is more similar to the Field Notes Powers of Ten Edition, produced for the Field Museum in Chicago. Regardless, the image of a celestial body in front of a black backdrop is a fairly common one, and doesn’t belong to any one brand. Speaking of Field Notes comparisons, the Storyboard is a slightly larger notebook, being barely wider and about a millimeter thicker, and almost half-an-inch taller. They are still very much pocket sized.
But the real feature here is the paper. You can see how the natural color compares to the white paper of a Field Notes book in the image above. In the images below, I’m going to show you how this new paper performs. The first thing that I did after cracking the package open and snapping a few pictures was to grab every inked pen I could reach and give them a try. I was impressed by the shading performance, as well as the sheen. I noticed no feathering to speak of, and the paper felt good under my nib; a bit of feedback to feel where my nib is, bit not too much at all. On the other side of the page I did get some ghosting, especially with the larger nibs, but no bleed-through to the next sheet (the spot on the opposite page below appears to be an imperfection in the paper, not associated with any of the ink I used. I did not see any similar imperfections anywhere else in this book of the other one, for the record.) Drying time was not instantaneous, but it was still fast enough that I could watch it happen, for most inks.
I don’t use fountain pens exclusively, though, so I wanted to try some other writing implements. For pencil, the paper was a little smoother than I would prefer, but still better than Tomoe River paper which just always feels wrong to me with a pencil. Ballpoint and gel ink both felt fine, and not only did my Sharpie write okay on the paper, but similar to the broader nibs above, the page was able to contain the ink to ghosting only, with none bleeding through to the next sheet of paper.
Finally, I decided to just go ahead and throw a bunch of ink at the paper, to see what would happen. I put two or three drops of various inks at different spots around the below page, and left them to sit on my desk. It was taking forever to dry and my curiosity got the better of me, so after a while I lifted the page carefully to see if any bleed-through was occurring. When I did this, I managed to jostle two of the drops to join up together, and then to chart a path towards the sewn spine of the book, as you can see. I blotted up the excess ink carefully when it hit the spine, trying to make sure I wasn’t having an effect on the results of my experiment. When I finally turned the page, I found that of these inks (Bungubox Tears of a Clown, Back Pack Dublin Green, Robert Oster x Pen Addict Fire on Fire, Diamine Purple Rain, Monteverde Love Red, Monteverde Jade Noir, and Monteverde Mercury Noir), only the Tears of a Clown bled-through on to the following sheet. The rest of the inks were contained in the page, showing a bright circle of color on the other side, but nothing else.
Based on the performance above, I think Endless Works is right to call this paper “ink-loving”. In different lighting the above writing samples showed even more sheen, with the Purple Rain sample looking more gold than purple, despite being written with an EF nib. If you have been looking for a thicker paper that is fountain pen friendly, this is one worth checking out.
The sales model for this first edition of the Endless Storyboard was unique. Endless Works produced only 1,000 packs of the notebooks, and then made them available for free on the internet, with customers having to pay to cover shipping charges (roughly $9.50 from India to the US.) At this time of writing, those thousand packs have already sold through. Endless Works intends for their future editions to be offered through a more conventional retail model. So keep an eye on your favorite retailer who stocks Endless Works products (or ask your favorite retailer to reach out to Endless Works and start stocking them) if you are interested in picking up the next edition once it becomes available.
The Storyboard notebooks featured in this review were provided to me by Endless Works and shipped at their cost in exchange for an honest review.