Bullet Journaling: Top 10 Fountain Pens and Ink!

Bullet Journaling Leuchtturm notebook with fountain pens

Hey there, friends! Madigan here, with Kara Benz, of Bohoberry.com. We were so excited to work together on a blog to bring you the top fountain pens and ink recommended for bullet journaling. If you aren’t familiar with this system of organization, you should watch Brian’s interview with Kara to get up to speed.

The Leuchtturm Notebook has many great qualities from the table of contents to the numbered pages, but it is not without fault. Depending on the nib size and ink choice, if you use fountain pens in your Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal, you may see ghosting or bleed through. Yikes!

To avoid that happening, Kara and I have put together 5 pens and 5 inks that will minimize these effects in your journal and help you make a beautiful and useful BuJo totally tailored to you. Kara is going to take on the pens, and I (Madigan) will take on the ink!

Pilot Metropolitan

Bullet Journaling Leuchtturm notebook with fountain pens

The Pilot Metropolitan was my very first fountain pen. At just around $15 a piece, I decided to pick up two of them — Fine and Medium — specifically, so that I could test to see the difference in my Bullet Journal. I was happy to find that both pens performed admirably in my Leuchtturm1917. While the Fine was better for every-day writing, the Medium nib quickly became my go-to for writing out headers. If I had to choose one over the other? It would have to be the Medium for its versatility.

Lamy Safari/Al-Star

Bullet Journaling Leuchtturm notebook with fountain pens

Another popular first pen choice is the Lamy Safari ($30) or Al-Star ($38). They are both essentially the same pen, with the Safari having a plastic body while the Al-Star is a more durable aluminum body. With only a $6-7 difference in price, I think it’s a no-brainer to go for the aluminum-bodied Al-Star. Then again, I bought my husband a Fine Al-Star (in Copper Orange) to go with his orange Leuchtturm1917 and it is simply a dream to write with. After finding myself stealing borrowing his Al-Star for my own purposes on the regular, I finally got one of my own in the gorgeous Graphite color.

TWSBI Diamond 580

Bullet Journaling Leuchtturm notebook with fountain pens

Coming in at $50, the TWSBI 580 was my first “next level” pen purchase. I desperately wanted a demonstrator pen so that I could see my beautiful inks sloshing around inside. I didn’t fully grasp how much I was going to fall in love with this pen until I held it in my hands. The TWSBI has quickly become my daily writer. I keep her filled with Noodler’s Black, and carry her with me wherever I go. The Extra Fine nib is smooth as butter, and the perfect line weight for daily writing in my Bullet Journal.

Karas Kustoms

Bullet Journaling Leuchtturm notebook with fountain pens

The moment I heard that Goulet would be carrying Karas Kustoms, I knew that I’d be bringing one home. I went with the Fountain K since I have tiny hands and was afraid that the “Ink” would be too large for me. After watching Brian’s video, I decided to go with the EF nib — knowing full well that the line weight would be similar to my Medium Pilot Metro. I keep my Fountain K inked up with Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku and use it mainly for headers in my Bullet Journal. The Fountain K comes in parts, meaning that you get to mix and match to create a truly custom pen. They range from $75 to $125 depending on your combination choices.

Pilot Vanishing Point

Bullet Journaling Leuchtturm notebook with fountain pens

The Pilot Vanishing Point is truly a Bullet Journal match made in heaven. Its retractable nib makes it a breeze to click open for use, not having to worry about unscrewing a cap. Not to mention how easy it is to just throw it in your bag when you are done. The VP comes in a wide variety of colors too… perfect for those of us who like a pretty AND functional writing instrument. It is available in a variety of nib sizes, but for a Leuchtturm1917, I recommend going with either a Fine or Extra Fine nib. Starting at $148, this is definitely an investment pen for some, but a great intro into the lovely world of gold nib fountain pens.

And now on to ink…

Noodler’s Black

Noodler's Black ink

Noodler’s Black is our best selling ink and there are a lot of reasons for that. First of all, it comes in at a very reasonable price ($12.50). It is water resistant and archival, and tends to resist feathering (even on cheap paper!). It’s a deep, rich black, with little to no shading. Paired with a fine or extra-fine nib, this ink is perfect for use in your bullet journal. You can get Noodler’s Black several sizes and prices: a 4.5oz bottle for $18, a 3oz bottle for $12.50, or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Diamine Ancient Copper

Diamine Ancient Copper Ink

This is a favorite ink in the fountain pen community and for good reason! It’s a gorgeous color, coppery and fun, and it is a fairly dry ink, making it great for bullet journaling. Word to the wise- this ink does require a bit more cleaning, so make sure to maintain a regular cleaning schedule if you decide that this is the ink for you. It is available at Gouletpens.com in a variety of sizes and prices: a 2ml ink sample is $1.25, a package of ink cartridges for $8.50, a 30ml plastic bottle for $7.50, or an 80ml glass bottle for $14.95.

Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku 

Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku

Pilot Iroshizuku is a brand beloved by fountain pen enthusiasts. It has great flow and comes in a variety of fun, vibrant colors. Ku-jaku means peacock in Japanese, and you can certainly see the color inspiration. If you are looking for a terrific turquoise to go with your Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Turquoise fountain pen and Leuchtturm1917 Emerald notebook. You can find Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku in a 50ml bottle for $28 or a 2ml ink sample for $2.50.

Rohrer and Klingner Solferino 

Rohrer&Klingner Solferino ink

This is one of my all time favorite magenta inks. It is bold, jumps off the page, and is just satisfying to write with. It also happens to be one of the drier inks in this color family, making it perfect for your Leuchtturm BuJo! If you are looking to make your lettering pop, give Solferino a try. Rohrer and Klingner Solferino is available at Gouletpens.com in a 50ml bottle for $11.95 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Noodler’s Lexington Grey

Noodler's Lexington Grey

Lexington Grey is a soft and soothing color, ideal for bullet journaling because of its archival qualities and, again, that nice dry factor. Grey ink is a good alternative to black if you want something a little less harsh on the eyes, but that will still stand out from the page and look professional. Lexington Grey comes in a 4.5oz bottle for $18, 3oz bottle to $12.50 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Bullet Journaling Boho Berry
You can write like Kara! Get the Kara Benz Package Set.

If you are just getting started in Bullet Journaling, we’ve put together two starter kits that combine a Leuchtturm1917 notebook with a Pilot Metropolitan of your choice and a package of cartridges. You’ll also get a surprise ink sample so you can experiment with filling your converter! You can get the Bullet Journal Starter Kit in Medium or the Bullet Journal Starter Kit in Large.

Bullet journaling Leuchtturm notebook with fountain pens
Bullet Journaling Starter Kit in Medium
Bullet journaling Leuchtturm notebook with fountain pens
Bullet Journaling Starter Kit in Large

For a full list of the products we covered in this blog, go to our Bullet Journaling Shopping Guide. If you’d like more information on Bullet Journaling, check out Kara’s website, or the creator of the bullet journal system Ryder Carroll, bulletjournal.com.

If you have any questions about your fountain pens, Leuchtturm1917 Notebook, or want some ink suggestions, let me know in the comments below!

What do you love about bullet journaling?

Write on,
Madigan & Kara

2017-10-11T02:17:06+00:00 March 11th, 2016|Shopping Guides|25 Comments
  • Sarah Stevens

    I love bullet journaling! What color ink is in the Purple Al-Star photo?

    • Hey Sarah! It’s Private Reserve Black Cherry, but it’s the old formula. Try Diamine Syrah if you are looking for an ink that color. 🙂

    • Vicki P

      I was wondering that too! Sarah, I have that pen and I pair it with J Herbin Larmes de Cassis in my Leuchtturm and Iove it! It’s similar to the photo pick but a touch more berry, not quite as dark. Had to share the love lol 🙂

      • Vicki P

        ugh autocorrect fail. *pic 😉

      • Sarah Stevens

        Thanks! I’ll have to try it out sometime. I seem to love the look of the darker colors…but when it comes to actually writing, I want bright and vibrant. I also have to get away from the urge to match pen to ink, otherwise I’m going to end up with pens in every color of the rainbow!

  • Tamara Wright

    Hi Madigan,

    First I want to thank you and Kara for posting these great suggestions! I’m actually waiting for my stuff to arrive from you as we speak! I chose the Leuchtturm1917 and since it came highly recommended by Kara I got a TWSBI Diamond 580al! I can’t wait to get started with my bullet journal and am literally checking my mail box every 30 minutes 🙂

    I just ordered one of my favorite Blues from you, do you see any issues with using Iroshizuku Kon Peki in my Leuchtturm1917?

    Thanks again for this Blog!

    • Hi Tamara! Kon-Peki is a beautiful ink. What a good choice! What size nib did you get on the TWSBI? That is going to be the biggest factor with the bleed through/ghosting factor.

      • Tamara Wright

        Thanks, I forgot to mention, It’s an extra fine nib.

        • Oh yeah! You should be absolutely fine. That is going to look gorgeous. What a great choice. 🙂

  • Briggsae

    I should be getting my Leuchtturm tomorrow from you guys to start my bullet journal. I got the Army green, so as to be more manly. I haven’t done this before, so we will see how it goes. I like the “getting things done” approach to task management, so I think it will work well and be more fun than my iphone app.

    • That’s great to hear! Be sure to let us know how you like the system and your new Leuchtturm 🙂

  • Rose Hoffa

    Ack! I hadn’t thought of laying the calendar out like that…I’d been doing it the vertical way and would never use it. I really like this way better… Thanks!

    • Glad we could help! They are so many great resources out there for bullet journaling. 🙂

  • Hi! I am new to fountain pens and bullet journaling. I have a Lamy Safari, a pilot metro, and I just ordered the TWSBI Eco. I believe they are all in a fine point nib. I would love to hear about more ink choices that would be great to use in my bujo. I love the colors listed above as well. Thank you for any help you can give me!

  • David Thompson

    This was so fun! Thanks for sharing!

    I’ve been using a Black&Red notebook for my BuJo for the last year. It was an experiment before I invest in something more substantial. I’m thinking about having a Fauxdori made in A5 (I think) size in which I can put several inserts, one for each component of the BuJo concept. There’s a lively FB group if you’re into that sort of thing.

    I have a TWSBI Mini in EF that I carry in my FN-size Fauxdori, loaded with Noodler’s Black. I also use that pen in my BuJo. It’s a great size, the Fauxdori fits into a cargo pocket, and I always have a pad and pen with me.

  • john ernst

    I’ve been using my Pilot Metropolitan (Fine Nib) with the pilot blue/black cartridges in the Leuchtturm 1917 A5 notebook. While I don’t experience any bleed through, it does seem to take an excessive time to dry. As a left-hander, it’s frustrating to have to cover my notes above with paper so I don’ smear the ink all over my hand. Is anyone else experiencing this? I’m sure there are other fast drying inks. I’ve tried Noodler’s 54th Mass, and it’s only marginally better.

  • bit101

    I took one look at the main image in this post, and was able to name every pen in the lineup. Feeling kind of proud of myself right now. 😛

  • Edna Furburger

    Can anyone identify the make/model of the rollerball (I believe) in this photo? https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0745/1299/t/7/assets/video-image-new.jpg?6967522426827431322

    • alicake

      I’m sorry I don’t know that pen, but I’d love to know what brand that notebook is!

  • grayeyedgirl

    I bought a Leuchtturm 1917 medium and I’m so so disapointed in the paper weight. I used fountain pens for just about everything. There’s bleed through. I thought the Leuchtturm wouldn’t have bleed through, which is why I bought that brand. I’m just really, really disappointed. I didn’t get a Moleskine because I knew there would be bleed through, I’ve used that brand before. But I’d seen Kara’s videos and her own Leuchtturm in which she commented about using her fountain pens; and Goulet’s own videos about which notebooks are best with fountain pens.

    Rhodia is definitely the best way to go. I had a Rhodia and I loved it. I switched to Leuchtturm because the colors are prettier. *eye roll* Now I wish I had just bought another Rhodia.

    • What size of nib and kind of ink are you using? I have been using Leuchtturms for 3 years for my bullet journaling and some very wet inks (or a larger nib) will sometimes show through the reverse of the page. You might try a drier ink or a combo of ink/pen that gives you a dryer line.

      • redd0377

        Newby fountain pen user here…is a medium nib (Lamy) too big a size to use with LT?

        • Lamy’s nibs run wet and thick. I have to use a Lamy EF to get a line I can stand (I write small and too thick a line and I can’t read my own writing 😉 ). A Pilot Metropolitan would be an inexpensive and easy way to try out another pen brand and nib size. Currently a Pilot Metro is $15 on Goulet Pens. Keep in mind that a Pilot M will be substantially thinner line than a Lamy M.

  • redd0377

    This is a great blog post, I truly enjoyed reading it. I just bought the new Lamy Al-Star Pacific (medium)…not too concerned with nib since from what I gather from one of Brian’s videos you can interchange the nibs on Lamy’s (hopefully I didn’t misunderstand that). Of course I was undecided on ink so I bought a sample package from Goulet pens that includes the Noddler’s Black and the Diamine Ancient Copper, among other inks. I also have a pilot metropolitan in fine. Looking forward to trying these in my Leuchtturm and seeing how they work out. Thanks for the great tips!

  • Michelle Young

    If one uses highlighters or Tombow brush markers, will the fountain pen inks mentioned above smear?