Bullet Journal Comparison : Pen & Paint Test

Hello everyone!

Today we are going to do a comparaison test between these 3 notebooks to see which one will handle the pens and paints the best.

Archer and Olive, Rêverie Journal, Leuchtturm 1917

I selected these notebooks for 3 main reasons :

  1. Because there are at least two brands that you know: Archer and Olive and Leuchtturm.
  2. To test different types of paper: we have 80 gsm on the Leuchtturm, 160 gsm for the Archer and Olive and 180 gsm for our Rêverie Journal.
  3. The last reason is simply to present to you our Rêverie Journal.

Pen and Paint Test

I'll be testing the pages with different types of pens, and ink.
The goal is to see if it’ll bleed through, or if the paper will reveal any ghosting.

Pens used:

  • The Faber Castell Artist Pitt, brush pen with Pigmented India ink
  • A Kaweco fountain pen (Model Classic Sport) with the Ruby Red ink from the same brand
  • A Sharpie marker, so it’s alcohol based
  • A red Artline Drawing System, which is a fineliner with water based ink
  • Another fineliner, the well known Pigma Micron
  • Paper Mate InkJoy gel pen 
  • A permanent marker from Artline 
  • The Stabilo Point 88 fineliner
  • And finally, the Tombow Dual Brush Pen

Pens for Bullet Journal

 The Paint :

  • Gouache from Arteza
  • Water soluble pastels from Caran d’Ache (the Neocolor 2)
  • And the Colirocolor watercolors

(These are all listed in the exact same order in which I tested them in the notebooks.)

Watercolor on Bujo


Paper Color

Archer & Olive : the paper is very white, slightly off white which I like because it looks more natural to my eyes.

Rêverie Journal : the pages appear slightly colder, almost crisp white with a hint of blue.

Leuchtturm : uses ivory, yellow paper, which may be a good thing if you don't like white paper.


Paper Thickness 

As I mentioned before, each have different paper thicknesses, but also different paper textures. Both are important if you want to avoid ghosting, bleedthrough, and feathering.

*But please note that none of these notebooks have watercolor paper, and so they shouldn't be soaked in water*

These are all things to consider before purchasing your notebook.

Size and Number of Pages

For the size, I am using all A5 notebooks. And, if you’re curious about the number of pages, the Leuchtturm has 249 pages, the other two have 160 pages. It’s less, but keep in mind that the paper is much thicker here. 

I imagine you’d have a very thick and heavy notebook if it had 250 pages of ultra thick paper. But you can find a good compromise with some of the Archer and Olive notebooks, which have 192 pages, not bad!

Archer and Olive, Reverie Journal, and Leuchtturm thickness


Time for the Test Results :

Feathering on paper


Archer and Olive

Has thick 160gsm paper. It has a slightly rough touch, so I guess the paper isn’t coated, but it did have good results. Only the markers (Sharpie and Artline Supreme) bleed through a bit and there is no visible ghosting. As for the Kaweco fountain pen, I didn’t detect strong feathering.

The paper absorbs the water pretty quickly, which means you’ll have to be careful when using watercolor because the paper will start to rub off if you use too much water.

Pen Test on Journals


Rêverie Journal

The paper we chose is slightly thicker at 180gsm and coated to reinforce the water resistance. The result of this is that it may take a little longer for your ink to dry but it also prevents feathering if you use fountain pens, and a too fast absorption of water if you use watercolor. But alcohol based pens still manage to bleed through a tiny bit. 

As Cynthia likes to draw and paint a lot in her journal, we wanted to make sure our Rêverie Journal was good enough for other journaling artists, and so we wanted to improve the quality of the paper.

Paint on Bujo

Leuchtturm 1917

If you plan to draw and paint in your journal, I wouldn’t recommend using the Leuchtturm 1917. Ghosting is almost always present and the paper is too thin to resist a lot of water, it will wrinkle and you won’t enjoy painting on it. This journal isn’t made for artists but for taking notes and it does a great job for that. In my opinion you wouldn’t use a Leuchtturm for important artistic purposes if you care about your drawings. 

Paint Close Up

And the Winner for NO Ghosting is...


Paper after using water


Ghosting on bullet journal

Final Notes...

To conclude, it’s obvious to me that the Leuchtturm can’t compete against the two other notebooks. Simply because it’s not meant to be a journal for heavy drawing. If you use many mediums in your journal I would recommend looking for a notebook with thicker paper.

Best Bullet Journals

Of course you know how hard it’d be for me to say something bad about our Reverie Journal, but I really think it’s a great journal at a very competitive price (16€ only at the moment). 

Rêverie Journal

If you are looking for more choices, Archer and Olive notebooks are also very good too, and we provide a selection of them in our shop. We are based in France so if you live in Europe it might be better for you to come through our shop to avoid custom fees.

That’s all for today, 
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful!


- Simon

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