As Amanda has rightly pointed out, Calepino make workmanlike notebooks for getting the job done, not for artsy mucking about. There's definitely a place for that. The catch is that the paper may not play so nicely with fountain pens, but it turns out that Calepino are aware of this - so much so that they get their own pencils made in France too.
Now, we may as well cut to the chase here. The affordable, quotidian, Calepino No.2 is not a refined, super-smooth drawing implement. This thing is intended to work; use it, abuse it and write as hard and fast as you like. Cal is tough, and Cal can take it.
Having said that, while it might not be aimed at artists it does behave well enough once you get used to the granular feel of the lead, and it produced a few desultory squiggles for me, at least.
This is also entirely in keeping with French pencil history, after all. As related in the special pencil edition of 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy, when access to smooth Cumbrian graphite was cut off by the small matter of a war, a mix of local (somewhat rougher) graphite and clay had to be invented to keep Napoleonic administrators scribbling, and the habit stuck. Amazingly this slice of writing heritage can be yours for a mere £1.50. Formidable!
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