Archive for Give us Your Feedback

Proposed Paper Comparison Project

clairefontaine

Some during August-September I will be organizing a project to compare the different Clairefontaine, Rhodia, Quo Vadis and G. Lalo paper surfaces and how they interact with different writing instruments and inks.

We will collect the comments of as many people as possible on their experience with an individual product paper–how it feels to the touch, how their pen (pencil or other writing instrument) moves across the surface and interacts with it; basically–what is their experience, and what they like (or don’t like) about it.

The summary of the comments can be a good reference not only for people getting started with journals and notepads, but also for expert practitioners to exchange experiences with each other.

The products I am thinking of including for this comparison are:  classic Clairefontaine notebook paper; Clairefontaine Triomphe pads, R by Rhodia pads, classic Rhodia notepads, Rhodia Ice, Rhodia Webbies, Quo Vadis Habanas, G. Lalo Verge de France pads, and G. Lalo correspondence cards.

People can test each sheet with their favorite writing instruments (fountain pens, rollerballs, pencils, etc.)  and contribute feedback via an online form.  We will publish the results on both Quo Vadis Blog and Rhodia Drive  either in December 2014 or January 2015.

Each person would be limited to three or four different sheets per month (that I can send in a first class letter), but can sign up each month for other papers to sample and add their thoughts.

What do you think?  Are there specific questions we should ask?  Are there any other product papers you would like to try?  Your input at this stage is very much appreciated and welcome.  As always, thank you for your thoughtful suggestions, help and support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which do you prefer: Violet Blue or Grey Ruling? Please vote.

Rhodia Ruling

One thing I noticed instantly about the new Rhodia Ice Anniversary tablets is that the ruling isn’t violet blue. It’s gray.

Several years ago, Rhodia ruling was light violet blue. In an effort for the printing inks to become more environmentally friendly, the formulas were altered. These changes resulted in the ink becoming a slightly darker blue and we’ve heard from several of you that you don’t much care for the darker ink, specifically in our graph ruled products.

I started noticing the gray ink in the dotPads. The original black covered dotPads had violet dots & the later orange covered dotPads have gray dots. We are now seeing the gray ink again in the Ice products. Is this indicative of a permanent switch? We don’t yet know. The Exaclair folks are in communication with France about this and as soon as we know, you’ll know.

Something I noticed about the blue versus grey inks is that the paper with the blue ink takes on a pinkish hue (which makes the white seem whiter) while the paper with the gray ruling seems slightly less white.

DSC05450

In the meantime, we’d LOVE to know which you prefer so we can tell France about which our customers prefer. The newer (darker) blue? or gray?

Summertime Travel Necessities

Rhodia Pencils Case R Pad

For many, summer = travel. Trips to the beach, kids at summer camp, the cabin at the lake, camping in the mountains or perhaps a drive through the desert.

Regardless of where you are spending your time, I know that many of you would never leave home without first packing a few essential tools for the inevitable creative urges that free time can inspire. Will you share your favorites? Is it a notepad,  journal or sketchbook? A few favorite fountain pens or a handful of colored pencils? How about a travel sized watercolor paint box?

Scheduling: What works for you?

_monthly_planners_whiter-new_750

How do you keep track of your schedule? Do you use a paper product like one of our Quo Vadis planners, or do you prefer an app or software based calendar that can be synced across all of your electronic devices?

While I like being able to check my calendar through my smartphone, the reminders I set aren’t a strong enough visual cue to reenforce the things I need to accomplish. I’m thinking about copying my schedule to a large wall planner in my kitchen. Is redundancy something that works for you?

Have you ever tried black paper?

Clairefontaine black paper

We recently received an e-mail from a Rhodia fan requesting black paper with light grey dots. Is this something you would be interested in? I know I would. I’ve been using black paper for years… 

Once I fell in love with black paper (mostly for art making) I became obsessed with finding the most opaque media to use in combination with it. White gel pens are good, as are grease pencils, (aka China Markers) some colored pencils, gouache watercolor paint, acrylic paint, and one of my favorites, the highly pigmented Neocolor artist crayons by Caran D’Ache. 

I’ve tried a lot of different kinds of black paper and most of what I’ve used would fall under the category of art papers. (Colored papers are a particular favorite for pastel artists.)  Most common are construction type papers which are thin, tear easily and not always fade resistant, smooth card stock type papers, and the laid (textured) papers typically used with pastel.

If you can’t find a black papered notebook or one that you like, you can make your own book using loose sheets of your favorite black art paper. Another option would be to apply black gesso (an acrylic based paint primer) to your favorite white papered sketchbooks – a time consuming, expensive & messy process that creates a pretty amazing surface to work on.

The Ultimate Dinner Party: Who would you invite?

my_name_pesca

If you could have dinner with any five LIVING famous people, who would you invite? Would you want to laugh? Hear about travels from around the world? Talk about food? Music? Politics? My list would include Anthony Bourdain, Stephen King, Augusten Burroughs, Byron Metcalf and Tony Robbins.

The best part of this game is Googling everyone else’s answers. List your responses in the comment box below -

Image courtesy of my_name_pesca on Instagram

Your Rhodia Images: Instagram and Etcetera.

yogalarva 1

Your Rhodia images are a big part of this blog and for the last year or so, I’ve found many amazing photos of our products through Instagram. We only ever use them after receiving your permission to do so and lately, I’ve been experiencing a glitch which has resulted in many of my comments being deleted. It is possible that Instagram sees my comments as “spammy” since I am including the http://rhodiadrive.com address when requesting use of the images.

Until I can get that issue straightened out, please feel free to send any images that you’d like me to consider for use to stephanie at rhodiadrive dot com. Please note in the subject line whether or not you prefer your submission to be used specifically on one of our Fan Photo Pages, or if we can use it on the blog and/or our Rhodia Drive Facebook page. Please also include your name so we can properly attribute the image to you.

Today’s images courtesy of yogalarva on Instagram.

yogalarva

How do you test a pencil?

Rhodia Paper Pencil Test

I prefer hexagon shaped pencils sans eraser. I like the wood to sharpen cleanly and a lead that is slow to blunt for writing, I want the lead to erase cleanly with minimal effort. 

For writing, I like an HB, B or 2B depending on the make of the pencil. Light sketching? 2H. I’m happy with a 2B for drawing & doodling. If I want dark, soft & smudgy, I use something in the range of 6B-9B. Overall, I prefer a certain amount of smooth regardless of the grade.

I think that the best way for me to test a pencil isn’t a side by side chart like the one above but to actually spend time writing and drawing with a variety of pencils on a variety of papers. (any old excuse to keep buying more art/writing supplies) The ones that don’t make the cut are banished to a coffee can in my studio for other people to use.

What particular features are important to you when selecting a wooden pencil for writing, drawing or doodling? What is your preferred method to compare one brand against another?

(#2 pencils are typically graded HB.) 

Clairefontaine dot? Quo Vadis dot?

Clairefontaine grafit dot

Other than the up and coming Clairefontaine dotGrid Graf-It pads, dot ruling is exclusive to Rhodia.

If you prefer Clairefontaine, Quo Vadis or Exacompta papers, would you like them even more if they were available with dot ruling? If yes, please tell us which specific product- including anything in the Rhodia line that isn’t yet available in the dot format.

What books are currently on your night stand?

nightstand books

I usually have at least three or four books going at a time.

The books currently on my night table include:  American Vampire, a graphic novel by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Stephen King; The Kingdom in paperback by Clive Cussler; The Ptolemies by Duncan Sprott and Eastern Europe! by Tomek Jankowski.

Whatever book or combination I am reading includes a bit of history, archaeology, and some mystery–supernatural or otherwise.

I started with Eastern Europe! when some DNA tests from Family Tree DNA indicated I have a substantial amount of Eastern European and Baltic ancestry.  I’m acquainting myself with the region before I make a trip there someday.

Graphic novels are usually done by wonderful storytellers–both writers and artists.  IMHO, they are under appreciated both as good writing and as an art form.

The Ptolemies are a great soap opera of a dynasty, with plenty of interesting characters and weird twists and turns. Following them is like feeling your way against a dark temple wall.

Clive Cussler also tells a good story.  I like Dirk Pitt, but Sam and Remi Fargo are my favorites. They are adventurer-archaeologists–something I wish I could be.

What books are you reading?

Inky Fingers

ragemore
What fountain pen user hasn’t at one time or another experienced inky fingers? For me, it’s every time I refill a pen. It happens either by accidentally touching the rim of the bottle or when using a paper towel to wipe the nib section clean.

Other ways I’ve gotten inky? If a pen is running a little dry, I will sometimes twist the convertor to push more ink into the feed; if it’s a bit too much, spillage may occur. Dip pens/nibs come with their own type of inky hazards simply from having to repeatedly dip the nib into an ink bottle.

Under what circumstances have you experienced the inky finger syndrome? Anyone ever experience ink problems on an airplane?

Image courtesy of Ragemore on Instagram

 

Waiting to get your paws on a landscape Webbie?

hotdogsandwiches

The landscape version of our beloved Webbie (Webnotebook) will soon be available in the US and we are hoping that you are as excited about it as we are. Will you share with us how this format may work more efficiently for your needs?

• Size A5: 5 1⁄2” x 8 1⁄4”
• 90 g ivory paper, acid-free, pH neutral, 96 sheets
• Embossed Rhodia logo
• Elastic closure matching color cover (orange and black)
• Round corners
• Individually shrink-wrapped
• Lined or blank
• Inner pocket in back cover

Image courtesy of hotdogsandwiches on Instagram

 

Rhodia Ice

rhodia ice 2

Rhodia has designed two new notepads for its 80th anniversary year (1934-2014): a white cover with silver logo pad, and a special 80th anniversary pad, with an interesting orange gold grid pattern on the cover.

We are calling the new “Bloc White” – Rhodia Ice.

Both pads will be featured at the National Stationery Show in New York May 18-21. 2014.  They will arrive from France within the next two weeks.

Rhodia Ice will be available in six sizes:  No. 11, No. 12, No. 13, No. 16, No. 18 and No. 19. The paper is 80g with muted silver grid or lines.

It is the most striking pad I have ever seen, with an elusive beauty and character. It is quite different from anything else–just like Rhodia.

rhodia ice

A Change in Handwriting?

image

Has anyone else noticed any changes to their handwriting over the years? Has it become neater, messier, or perhaps more stylized? I know that I began to use a combination of printed/cursive letters sometime when I was an early teenager. Since that time, I believe that my writing has become somewhat more stylized and I am now able to write straight across the page when using blank paper. My signature on the other hand, has disintegrated into only a few recognizable letter forms. 

(This is one of those times when my notes about a post actually becomes the post.)

 

J. Herbin scented fountain pen inks: Your Thoughts?

Herbin Scented Ink

Did you know that J. Herbin offers several different scented fountain pen inks? Whether or not you’ve ever tried a scented ink, we’d love to hear your thoughts about them.

J. Herbin scented inks are made from floral water (hydrosols) of rose, orange, lavender, apple and violets. The hydrosols used by J. Herbin come from Grasse, France, a Provencal town long associated with the perfume industry, and famous for its floral scents.

Fashioned with great care, scented inks are inspired by a tradition that began in Italy in the 19th century. J. Herbin and other manufacturers used to collect different scents from the perfume industry and add them to their inks.

Known as “Les Subtiles” (The Subtle), each ink matches fragrance and color: bleu/parfum lavande; vert/parfum pomme; amber/parfum orange; rouge/parfum rose; and violet/parfum violette.

 

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About

Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.