An Epica Review

Three Epica journals

I have just finished writing a brief thank you for one of the nicest books I have ever handled. Just before Easter a card arrived from the post office; a package had arrived, could I collect it? Being Easter and not realising its significance I left it languishing at the sorting office until Tuesday. When I arrived, the parcel, carefully wrapped in brown paper, was placed on the counter while I showed my identification. Looking at it lying there I realised it was too small for paperwork and the wrong shape for an Easter egg. So what could it possibly be? I carefully slid the blade of my Swiss army knife down the tape and removed the paper. Inside there was a cardboard box, not unlike the type seen in the old tobacconists. The name EPICA was printed in sepia and underneath "World Class Italian Leather & Paper Products"....

When I first saw the journal I thought it was black. However once removed from the pink tissue I could see it is actually a rich tobacco brown wax leather, which to my mind affords a 'classical' look once placed on the bookshelf. The spine is rounded and has four 'ribs' reinforcing the cover boards. On the front, pick out in black is an intaglio fleur-de-lis. The whole effect is very tastefully done. My one disappointment is my journal has the slight smell of 'new shoes' rather than old books. However, a couple of months on my bookshelves should remedy the problem.

Picking up the journal I noticed the size - 7.5" x 5.5" (190 mm x 140 mm). The same as my Filofax Personal which supposedly is the ideal size for one's hand. Without the rings however the pages are wider - 4.75" (120 mm). Opening the book the first thing I noticed were the dark green end papers (with matching book ribbon) and a crest with the Latin word "signum" standing in relief. The joke was apparent, someone knew me well.

The paper is rather unusual. A beautifully rich cream with deckled edges and a slight tooth. It reminds me of watercolour 'Not'. (Cold press if you are reading in American) and I believe it is hand-made in Amalfi Italy. I tried the pages with a fine nibbed Pelikan and it takes fountain pen beautifully. The tooth forcing one to take his or her time. It also likes pencil. Although my drawing skills are sadly lacking, I would imagine someone more talented will be able to capture a full range of shades with this paper. If I were a younger man I would use it as a travel journal, soaking up all those things one experiences on first meeting a new culture. However that time has long passed so I will use it for my 'twilight diary' recording the thoughts and images in the time between sleep and wakefulness. Add the strange little incidents I record through out the day in my Filofax and practice my handwriting. Skills which note taking and the keyboard have so cruelly robbed me of.

Finally there is a grey, brushed cotton, drawstring bag, again with the crest in sepia and Signum pick out in gold. Underneath, printed in sepia is "Finest Italian Quality". This puzzles me. Why would anyone want to keep such a fine work of craftsmanship in a drawstring bag? Of course the question on everyone else's lips is will I buy a replacement when mine is full? Even though it lacks the plastic discs and wipe clean covers of a Rollabind, the silky smooth paper of Clairefontaine and the dubious heritage of Moleskine. Yes, I have looked at many journals and this book is definitely worth the price. I can always use the bag for toiletries I suppose....

Where to find Epica:

Eastgate, a D*I*Y Planner community sponsor, stocks Epica journals in addition to Moleskine and other interesting goodies.

Epica's website

Syndicate content

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Go for one of the BIG ones...


And these look like they are worth every penny. The drawstring bag strikes me as one more mark of class. They could have used another layer of tissue or bubble-wrap, but that does not have the same impact.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


Duc Ly
Yep I would have to agree whole heartedly as I'm the proud owner of an Epica as well. :)


Sard has a secret admirer with exquisite taste.

Beautiful books... someday I'll have to get one. Until then... I'll just drool :D

my artwork | my blog

That's what the drawstring bag is for ...

...Drool Protection !! :)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

great post sard! :)

great post sard! :)

so, i was reading my RSS feeds today and came across THIS gem of an entry.

Not sure if it's an Epica, but it appears that Neil Gaiman is writing his current book in something similar. This tickles me to no end! I love Neil Gaiman.

I have plans for my Epica. Just haven't started on it yet. :)

A Conversation With Neil Gaiman...

Thank you inno.
I was intrigued by your comments and did some a little digging, this is what I found:

Neil Gaiman in interview with Lucy Snyder

if you're writing with a fountain pen, you actually have to think about what you're doing. It's a different kind of process. Part of writing Stardust for me was wanting to write the kind of book they wrote in the 20s, before there was a fantasy genre. I didn't want it to be a genre novel. I wanted it to be a fairy tale for adults. So I liked the idea of the pen as opposed to the computer from that perspective. But also, I liked the fact that you write differently. You don't put down your blob of clay and then work it into shape; what you do is you think about it, and then you put it down. And also, of course, you end up with a very real discontinuity between your first and second drafts. I wanted that; I very much knew that with Stardust I wanted a first draft and a second draft as opposed to a rolling and improving first draft.