Review of the Exacompta FAF Pad #Exacompta #zentangle #review

Exacompta Vintage FAF Pad (4.25 x 7.25)



What is the FAF pad?  It’s a desk notepad, with a retro look.  FAF stands for Fabrique en France.  In other words ‘Made in France’.  And so they are.  They’ve been made in Paris for over 50 years in the workshop of Gustave Eiffel (yes, of Eiffel Tower fame).  They’re fun, functional and unique.


No of Page: 200  

Paper Color: White  

Paper Weight: 60 GSM 


  • Small,  4W x 6 3/4H
  • Medium, 4 5/8W x 7 3/4H; 11,5 x 18,5 cm (shown here)
  • Large, 5 1/2W x 8 5/8H

Refillable & Microperforated



The FAF is a contradiction in terms.  You have solid, metal construction with a lightweight paper pad, making it heavy enough to double as a paper-weight, yet light enough that you could carry it to a meeting or class.  

The paper is held together with bolts and washers, and the back is a metal plate with non-slip pads.  The FAF won’t slide off your desk or get lost in the pile of papers.


The paper itself is very thin, but it won’t tear easily.  It will fold or crinkle easily.

 The microperf allows you to tear paper off smoothly, without difficulty, but is sturdy enough that you can hold the entire pad by the end of one sheet, and it will hold. (I even shook it vigorously!)



The bolts and washers are easily screwed and unscrewed, so changing out the pads will be no problem.



The paper:

Show-through: Not bad.  It is minimal for writing.  Even with heavy saturation, show-through of the ink isn’t bad unless the ink is ‘wet’ (meaning it’s has a watery or heavy flow)

Bleed -through: The Vert Empire ink used at top is very ‘wet’, almost like watercolor, and did spot at the back.  None of the other inks bled through at all.

Smearing: Drying time is slower, as are most fountain-pen friendly papers.  I deliberately ran a finger through the ink immediately after heavy saturation.  Again, the ‘wet’ Vert Empire was the worst.  The BIC pen barely smeared at all.

Feathering: None

Erasability: Using a clean pencil eraser, I was able to remove quite a bit of the graphite.  Erasability is about average.  No pilling or tearing but I had to hold the paper firmly to avoid crinkling.



The biggest issue with the paper will be smearing, and that is easily avoided with care or choice of pen.

I did a black and white drawing with the BIC pen, as I felt this would be the most common ‘artistic’ use of this paper.  I was able to get a wide range of values.


While there was some show-through, there was not one speck of ink that bled through.


For my color drawing test, I used J. Herbin fountain pen ink (including the very ‘wet’ Vert Empire) and thoroughly saturated the paper.  The colors came out bright and crisp.  There was no pilling or curling.  There was some dimpling, mostly based on the difference in ink saturation.




Surprisingly little show-through and bleed-through considering the heavy application of ink.  Most bleed-through occurred when I added a second layer of ink before the first layer dried.





The FAF notepad is an eye-turner that will fit in on almost any desktop or table.  While light enough to carry, the protruding bolts and easily crumpled paper keep it from being truly portable.  That may be the only flaw.  The well-made construction and fountain-pen friendly paper make this a unique, but truly functional piece that will improve any office or artist’s desk.

Other Reviews of the Exacompta FAF Pad

Pocket Blonde

Pencil Talk

I want to thank Exaclair for sending me the FAF pad for purposes of review.  I received no compensation other than the product, and all opnions expressed are my own.

Author: Life Imitates Doodles Art, Reviews & Tutorials

Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pens. I'm a self-taught artist who dances about with all sorts of artistic mediums. My main loves are Watercolor, Zentangle and Ballpoint pen. The subjects of my work are many and varied and change at whim. I'm a little bit crazy, but doesn't that come with being an artist? At my Life Imitates Doodles Blog, I post a list of resource links for Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways two times a week. I also write reviews, hold giveaways and share my art work.

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