What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Journal

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today (and everyday) is a good day to be grateful.

What are you grateful for?

Retro Exacompta FAF Pad: You know you want one…

FAF Pad Exacompta

The FAF pad is a practical and highly functional desk pad with a unique vintage look. The perfect fit for your desk, home office and all of your writing needs. Makes a great gift.

• Elegant black box with clear top
• Sturdy metal construction with non-slip backing
• Bright white 60 g paper
• Comes with 200 microperforated pages for easy removal
• Refillable with 200 blank pages

The FAF (Fabriqué en France) pad is made in Paris in a workshop built by Gustave Eiffel (of eponymous Tower fame)

Exacompta Bloc Faf Retro Office Excellence at Pencil Talk

Review of the Exacompta FAF Pad at Life Imitates Doodles

Exacompta FAF Desk Pad Review at The Unroyal Warrant

Exacompta FAF Pad Retro Desk Pad at OfficeSupplyGeek

Review: FAF Un Bloc Pad at Pocket Blonde

Doodle Power!

marianmachismo

My ferocious appetite for doodling kicked in about ten years ago when I worked in a cube. (Technically more of a triangle…) Doodling while sitting in on seemingly endless conference calls, my focus and recall was always better than if I sat there and just “paid attention.”  My belief is that the benefits of doodling are similar to any other focused meditative practice; calming both to the mind and spirit.

Image courtesy of marianmachismo on Instagram.

The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory

Doodling in a meeting? Maybe you’re just drawing inspiration

Why Doodling May Help Improve Your Memory

Doodling Increases Focus and Recall

Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention

Rhodia Product Spotlight: Classic Staplebound Notebooks

Black Rhodia Side Staple

These slim, side stapled notebooks are available in three sizes with either black or orange covers.

The 3″ x 4 3⁄4″ contains 24 sheets of graph Rhodia paper (Perfect size for a pocket!)
The 6″ x 8 1⁄4″ contains 48 sheets of lined Rhodia paper
The 8 1⁄4″ x 11″ contains 48 sheets of lined Rhodia paper

The card covers are coated and waterproof, the paper  80 g extra white.  (Acid-free,  pH neutral & fountain pen friendly)

Have you tried these? Do you use them for a specific purple?

Sandra Strait reviews the Clairefontaine Calligraphy pad

The Secret Life of Seeds & Spores

“I can’t wait to try out a glass dip pen on it.  I know the results will be beautiful, but I also anticipate a satisfaction in matching a beautiful paper to a beautiful pen, and capturing a sense of writing in a way as people have written for centuries.  That creates a connection for me.  Even though I’m a computer-fiend, I was a pen-and-paper fiend first, and the computer will never recreate that sense of connection.  Or the feeling that not only am I creating a beautiful thing, but that the act of creating it is beautiful in itself.  The action of making marks, moving pen across the page–these are artful things.”

Life Imitates Doodles blogger and artist Sandra Strait is a favorite of ours for reviewing our products because of her willingness to be so very thorough. As an artist myself, I know how common it can be in the moment to want to use a variety of mixed mediums on a surface that isn’t always intended to accept it. When anyone takes the time to test a wide variety of wet and dry mediums on an individual product, I find it incredibly helpful. In this review, Sandra tests this paper using pen and ink, fountain pen, rollerball, collage with glue and gel medium, acrylic paint, colored pencil, photo transfer, and finally, watercolor paint. You can read her full review which included loads of pictures, here. 

Doodle Pads: What is your surface preference?

Photo: Kaweco Pencil, Rhodia R Pad and Clairefontaine Graf-It Pad

I am the type of person who will literally doodle on anything and everything because mark making is a necessary part of my human existence. When offered a preference, I’ll take a paper with a slight tooth like the Clairefontaine Graf-It tablet shown above because I find it pleasant to use with just about any type of writing or drawing implement.

Do you have a preference for the paper you like to doodle on?

 

A Brief History of Writing Implements

Writing Implements

  • 4000 BC: Clay tablets are etched with metal or bone tools
  • 3000 BC: Egyptians use reed pens on papyrus
  • 1300 BC: In Rome metal styluses are used to write on thin sheets of wax
  • 600-1800 AD: Europeans use quill pens
  • 1790: Pencils are invented in both Australia and France
  • 1800-1850: Dip pen nibs are made of steel and tipped with Iridium, Rhodium and Osmium
  • 1884: Waterman invents the fountain pen
  • 1888-1916: Ball point pens are invented
  • 1940: Ball points become popular with the British military during WWII.
  • 1945: Ball point pens are introduced to the US market
  • 1960s: Felt tip pens invented
  • 1980s-90s: Roller ball pens invented
  • 2000s: Fountain pen revival! 

Art is a Learned Skill (Really!)

nan_chanapa

I’ve met a lot of adults who seem to believe that because they weren’t born with a pencil or paintbrush in their hand that they have no business making art. To this I say, Hogwash!

Most young children are able to be creative without self-judgment. It’s easy for them to make art because it’s playful and fun. Things start to get a little tricky around the ages of 11-12 because this is when children desire to realistically reproduce what they see, and may become extremely frustrated when they cannot. Learning to draw realism typically requires additional instruction and a lot of practice which is why a lot of kids give up art in favor of other activities. This is why you, as an adult, may think that you have no talent for art because you draw like a child. In reality, all you need (regardless of age) is additional instruction. (and patience) 

Having said all that, you really don’t require any skills at all to express yourself through art. if you want to paint, buy paint and have at it because it’s fun! In my experience, the most difficult part of making art is learning being okay with the results.

The Five Basic Skills of Drawing are good to know.

Image courtesy of nan_chanapa on Instagram

Friday Link Share: July Edition!

Rhodia LeCarre

Notebooks Explained at JetPens Blog

The Oxford Comma Controversy at Writer’s Relief

Brilliant Summer Inks And Watercolors at Inkophile

The Tiniest Fountain Pen at The Well-Appointed Desk

J. Herbin Bouton D’or Ink Review at Write to Me Often

Review: Rhodia Ice No. 16 A5 at Gourmet Pens

Episode 10 of Erasable: “The Graphites of Wrath” at Woodclinched

Hey Mr. Postman! at Rad and Hungry

Rhodiarama Notebook Review at Office Supply Geek

Bic Brite Liner Grip Highlighter at A Penchant for Paper

Guilt-Free Creative Work at Daisy Yellow Blog

Art Journal Every Day: Sketching at the Beach at Balzer Designs

How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Unblock the “Spiritual Electricity” of Creative Flow at Brain Pickings

Journaling Exercise: What Are You Putting Off? at Kaizen Journaling

Razor Sharp

Razor pencil

My artist friend Angie Snyder-Lande uses a razor to sharpen her pencils and for some reason this always amazes me. A razor seems like a good idea, even though the potential exists to hack a pencil to bits until one learns the right amount of pressure to apply to each cut. I’m guessing that once you get the hang of it, a lot less of the pencil would be wasted to sharpening. (Where to dispose of the shavings… maybe a small Altoids tin?)

Do you prefer to sharpen with a knife or razor? Please share your process.

I own at least a dozen pencil sharpeners but can never find one when I need one. I’m wondering if a small pocketknife might be easier to keep track of.

Razor pencil

Let’s Talk Flat: NEW Landscape Webbie

Landscape Webbie

The new landscape Webbie notebook both opens flat to the page and lies flat when you are leaning on it to write. To me, that’s a pretty big deal because I don’t like losing precious real estate in the fold.

How important it it to you that your notebook lie flat? Can you give specific examples of when it might be particularly necessary for the book to lie flat?

Landscape Webbie

Opens flat: The paper needs no hand pressure for the pages to reveal a flat writing surface.

Landscape Webbie

If you lean on the book as you write, the spine folds neatly upon itself.

Tracing Paper

Tracing Paper

Tracing paper is a product that hadn’t been on my radar until I needed to purchase some for a workshop I attended last fall. It’s purpose is simple yet multifaceted. It can be used to “test” potential changes to a drawing without altering the original. It can be used to isolate individual elements from a series of sketches and also allow you to play around with composition. With a little effort, tracing paper can also be used to transfer a drawing onto another surface. Watch the video below to see how this is done:

Rhodia Cover Doodles: What does yours look like?

cover doodle

Rhodia fan Chris sent us this cover doodle with the suggestion that our logo should look like this. What do you think? I like it! Now I’m just trying to figure out what mountain this might be…

Mont_Blanc

Perhaps Mont Blanc in the French Alps?

I’ll be adding Chris’s image to our Cover Doodle Fan Photo page. Have an image you’d like to share with us? Send it to me: Stephanie at RhodiaDrive dot com.

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.

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In Your Bag

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Rhodia Customization Module

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Grab Your Camera and Show us Where You Buy Your Rhodia!

Target? Dick Blick? Borders? Art Brown? We want you to show us where you buy your Rhodia... The next time you are out and about,  snap us a picture of where you buy your Rhodia products so we can assemble an online gallery of local retailers. To... Read on »

Favorite Pens

Will you show us yours? Send us a photo of your favorite pen: stephanie@rhodiadrive.com so I can add it to the page. ... Read on »

David Allen of GTD on Rhodia

David Allen is a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the time management method known as “Getting Things Done”. David comments on the Rhodia Meeting Book: “I love this Rhodia pad. First, the paper stands... Read on »

Chef Hosea Rosenberg on Rhodia

Season 5 (Bravo Network) Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, originally from Taos, New Mexico, was always good at math. After graduating 3rd in his class at Taos High School, he moved to Boulder, CO to study at the University of Colorado. His dream... Read on »

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Would you like to be a guest blogger on Rhodia Drive?

If so, contact me via e-mail at stephanie at rhodiadrive dot com with your proposed subject matter. We are looking for posts ranging in length from 100-500 words. Photos to accompany the article are a welcome bonus. If you have been reading... Read on »

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Testing a vintage Mabie Swan fountain pen with a lot of flex - on a Rhodia Pad

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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.