Tuesday Talk Back: Big, Little, or Somewhere in Between?


If you regularly use a bound notebook or journal, what size do you prefer, and why?

Shown above is a purple pocket sized (A6 3 ½ x 5 ½ ”) Rhodiarama Webbie, a large (A5 8 ¼” x 5 ½”) Landscape Webbie and an extra large (A4 8 1/4 x 11 3/4″) Quo Vadis Habana.

My go-to size for a long time has been A5. 5×8″ books allow for me, a decent amount of real estate to write as large as I like and/or to sketch without feeling cramped. I also think this size isn’t too large to stick into a purse or backpack. I find 3×5″ books a bit too small for my needs, – though I do like and have occasionally used the 4×6″ Habanas, which are even better for portability.

The 8×11″ Habana shown above? I’ve had it for quite a while but haven’t yet committed to a use for it. Fear of The Blank Page? Perhaps…

The Art of Journaling: Keith Haring


Keith Haring was an American artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s by expressing concepts of birth, death, sexuality, and war. Haring’s work was often heavily political and his imagery has become a widely recognized visual language of the 20th century.

The Keith Haring Foundation has scanned the artist’s journals from 1971 to 1989 with the intention of making them all available online. The journals feature writings, drawings and the occasional collaged element. Some of the journals had been previously seen in the Brooklyn Museum’s 2012 exhibition, Keith Haring: 1978-1982.

The foundation has created a tumblr account for the scans, which can be viewed here.

Keith Haring Journal

This journal entry from 1986  provides insight into Keith’s feelings about computers and technology:

“I was very interested in the tactile experience of drawing that is very different than drawing with a computer…This displacement of image and action [on the computer] creates a new problem to be solved by the “drawer”.

Keith-Haring-Journals1 The book Keith Haring Journals a brilliant account of Haring’s life and observations, told through the voice of the artist himself. You can also learn more about Keith from the “In His Own Words” section of The Keith Haring Foundation website




“Heart” Habana from the Quo Vadis Artist Series. 

  • 85g, ivory paper with satin smooth finish
  • 96 sheets
  • Elastic closure, black ribbon
  • Elegant round corners
  • Inner pocket for notes and cards
  • Available in large and pocket sizes (A5 and A6)


Dispatch from the NSS: Things to look forward to.

Rhodia white ice

There were several new products on display in the Exaclair booth at the National Stationery Show that I had the opportunity to drool over today, including the new “pictures can’t do them justice” Rhodia Ice. They look AMAZING in person. Continue Readering »

Retailer Spotlight – Anderson Pens

真紅のステージ カーテン STAGE CURTAIN VECTOR イラスト素材

This week on our Retailer Spotlight we have the lovely duo from Anderson Pens, Lisa and Brian Anderson! For our readers who do not know about Anderson Pens here’s a bit of background from their website and e-store www.andersonpens.net:

“Established in 2010, AndersonPens.net was developed to combine the efforts of Brian Anderson’s Esterbrook.net, and Lisa Anderson’s ProperPads to bring pens and paper together all in one place.”

They have become big enough to successfully open a brand new retail location in Appleton, WI which if you’re in the area you definitely need to check out! Continue Readering »

NEW 2014 Exaclair Catalog is available to view!

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 12.42.34 PM

You can now take a look at the NEW 2014 Exaclair catalog and see all of the goodies coming in the new year – like the large Rhodiarama Webbbies, Landscape Webbies, Mignon Refillable Leather Journals, new colors for the Habana, Graf-It dot pads…

Which products are you most excited about? (You must KNOW that I’m excited for the large purple Webbies!)

Your Input Needed: If We Made a Sketchbook…


We need your input! 

Exaclair, (The US distributors of Clairefontaine, Quo Vadis, Rhodia, etc.) is contemplating the creation of an American made sketchbook. A book that would lend itself more towards artistic creation than writing – though I’m certain such a book could be used for either form of expression. The book would contain paper from Clairefontaine’s Schut Mill(located in the Netherlands) and would be assembled at the Hamburg, NY plant where the Habana notebooks and other Quo Vadis products are currently being made. This sketchbook would be a bound book, (as opposed to a spiral) and we would love your input on how this book should be created.

(See how to submit your feedback at the end of this post.)


In the meantime, Karen sent me a batch of paper samples to test and I chose 4:

Schut sketchpad 90g/41lb (off white)
Schut sketchpad 125g/57lb (off white)
Schut sketchpad 180g/83lb (off white)
Schut Shets-en-tekenbloc 160g (white)


If I am going to work in a bound book, it’s got to lay flat. For me, there are no exceptions to that rule. I’d like the book to be about the same size as a  large Webbie – 5×8″ish with a firm cover so if I was working with the book propped on my knee, there would still be a good amount of support.

To me, the most important feature of the paper in any sketchbook Continue Readering »

Hidden Box Giveaway



We’re giving away a very unique item, a Rhodia poster to 3 lucky winners, if you can find the hidden box on Quovadisplanners.com! Follow the instructions once you have found the box and 3 people will be randomly selected to win the prize. Contest ends Wednesday 2/20 at midnight EST. Good luck!

Olaf’s New Habana

Olaf Starorypinski has a studio down the hall from me at the Banana Factory. He’s an international photographer originally from London, England who also happens to be a huge fan of the fountain pen. In fact, Olaf gifted me a bottle of fountain pen ink when I first moved into my studio. Right now, Olaf’s favorite pen is a Pilot Custom 823, with a right handed 0.8mm cursive italic nib customized by Classic Fountain Pens. He uses Sailor’s purple “Jentle” ink, but as he claims that color is becoming very hard to find, he will be switching to J.Herbin or Diamine when his supply runs out. (Hmm… Poussiere de Lune maybe?)

Each time I’d see Olaf at the BF, I noticed him carrying a large journal by a manufacturer other than Exaclair. I asked him how the paper in that journal was holding up against his fountain pen ink and his response was that it could be better. He preferred to use a blank journal with off-white paper in an 8×11″ format and while I couldn’t offer him anything by Rhodia to try, I did get my hands on one of the new large Quo Vadis Habanas which he now *loves.*

Image by Olaf Starorypinski.

Image of Olaf with light graffiti artist Vicki SaSilva outside his Banana Factory studio at the recent opening of the 2012 InVision Photo Festival.

Moving Time


It has once again become time for me to move out of one journal and into another. I have been working in a blank Quo Vadis Habana since the beginning of the year and take note- this is highly unusual for me to have spent over 8 months in a single journal. Why so long? It most certainly isn’t for a lack of things to say. In fact, I probably have more stuff that needs to be purged from my brain than ever before. Crazy as it may seem, I think sometimes I become afraid to say what’s on my mind- like I’m playing a game of sorts. If I have a thought and write it down, it makes it more real –> then I have to give my focused attention to it –> which could lead to additional responsibilities OR having to give more attention to the painful bits. Historically, daily writing has proven to be an extremely significant factor (read inexpensive therapy) to my personal growth and overall well being and I would like to make a concentrated effort to write more, and write honestly- painful bits and all.

A Notebook for Everyone

Our UK friends at the Pens and Paper blog tested a number of notebook papers with four different fountain pens – each filled with a different ink. If you ever wanted to know how water based inks react on a certain paper, this is a great series of photos and commentary to help you choose the best product for your needs. The papers that were tested:

  1. Whitelines (grid);
  2. Rhodia Webnotebook (lined and dot grid);
  3. Quo Vadis Habana (lined);
  4. Monseiur (plain);
  5. Moleskine (lined);
  6. Leuchtturm 1917 (lined);
  7. Rhodia ePure (plain);
  8. Jottrr (lined/plain);
  9. Rhodia Exabook (lined);
  10. Clairefontaine (lined and Séyès ruled);
  11. Smythson Featherweight (lined); and,
  12. Archie Grand (plain).

Read the full post here.

Inspirational Habana

I save old magazines and now and again, I cut them apart. Pictures go in one box, words in another. Then one day I pull them out and start gluing them into one of my journals. What I end up with, is often more than I imagined possible. Beautiful, inspirational… Messages to help ground me when I’m feeling down.

This project was inspired by my friend Kim who teaches a Found Poetry workshop. You can see another piece I created here.

Quo Vadis Habana Journals

One of my favorite non-Rhodia products from Exaclair is the Quo Vadis Habana. They are a slightly different animal than Rhodia’s Webbie. First off, they have stiff, but not hard covers – take note that the cover on the small Habana is stiffer than on the large.

The paper in the Habanas is an 85g off-white versus Continue Readering »

Speaking of the Habana…

Yesterday I mentioned moving into a Quo Vadis Habana. Did you know that the new Habanas with 85g ivory paper are now available? I’m very much looking forward to trying one of these as I prefer ivory paper to white and I like the sizing of the small Habana for travel. If you missed the story on why the paper was changed, you can read about it here.

Wondering if this 85g paper will stand up to your favorite fountain pen and ink? According to Brian Goulet of Goulet Pens, it will indeed. Other than the color of the paper changing, the width of the ruling has been modified as well. Continue Readering »

Paper Rituals

Since 2005, (when I started journal writing on a regular basis) I seem to have developed certain rituals surrounding the start of a new book. The first pertains to the selection of the book itself.  I always have at least 2 or 3 options on hand so I have to decide… plain paper or lined, white or off white, size of the book, color of the cover, etc. I just went through this- having recently finished a large blank Webbie and contemplated a move into either another one of the same or one of the small Habanas with plain white paper. (no longer available as they now contain off-white paper) I opted for the Habana.

After choosing the book, sometimes I will hold off the actual “start” of the book for a few days if there is a significant date somewhere in the near future- like this past Webbie which I started on the 1st of this year. (Actually, it’s more common that I will pace the ending of the previous book to coincide with the start of the new.) If not, I just dive right in… but not before a bit of customization. Continue Readering »

Take 2: Attn all Bloggers looking to Review Exaclair Products – Please resubmit requests

01/19/13  Update- This offer is currently closed – please watch for future offers for bloggers to review our products. 

The 1st time I ran this post I didn’t fully realize the logistics of soliciting requests via the comment section. Results? Information compilation overload.  Because I know how much you would like to try our products and how much we’d love for you to review them, we are going to try this again with a few guidelines and a form for submitting requests.
Continue Readering »

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