Recently Karen, from Exaclair, sent me a Rhodia Unlimited Pocket size Notebook. I received the ruled version with an Orange cover.
Thank you, Karen!
· Verso soft touch cover-comes in either orange or black/
With the orange covers, the inside cover is black.
With the black covers, the inside cover is orange.
· 80g smooth white paper
· 60 sheets Lined
· Elastic closure band w/racing stripe & grommets
· Elegant round corners
· 3 ½ x 5 ½ (9x14 cm)
· Glued Binding
· Perforated pages
· Lined with blank margins
Look and Feel:
The notebook is elegant—the ‘soft touch’ covers provide a unique tactile sense, while the the covers—orange on the outside, black on the inside--offer visual appeal. A racing stripe of orange on the black elastic band adds a little extra flair.
I like the layout. It makes me want to write in this notebook. Subjective, I know, but usually I want to draw in my notebooks, whether they have lines, squares or not. It is rare that I pick up a notebook and just want to write in it.
The gray/brown lines are dark enough to guide the eye without competing with your writing.
The notebook is sturdy—glue, perf and elastic band are all done to high standards.
And the paper. The paper is the usual excellent Rhodia stock, which is a joy to write or draw in.
The elastic band is held down by grommets, and isn’t likely to tear loose. However, the grommets might catch on tight pockets, especially because it is thicker than most notebooks this size. It doesn’t take much in some cases.
The covers are more flexible than they might seem. I punished mine, folding the notebooks almost in half. The edges were close to touching before I got a wrinkle. Smudges do show on the orange ‘soft touch’ cover, so the black might be a better choice if you really carry your notebooks around with pens or other art supplies.
Fountain Pen: Rhodia paper and fountain pens are made for each other; the ink neither feathering nor bleeding through in most cases. The ink did show through on the back, but was so light , I couldn’t capture samples with my scanner.
Most fountain pen inks take longer to dry on this paper (which is the tradeoff for no feathering or bleed-through), and I found I did get some ink transfer and smudging. I believe it is because of the binding. The pages do not lie flat, and want to close up as soon as you let go. Normally, I’d let a book sit open for a few minutes, but you have to either hold this notebook open or prop it open with weight.
Colors are brilliant on this paper. Alcohol markers, such as Copics or Sharpies almost glow. There is bleed-through, of course, about 75% of the color—and you know what I say about that: Got Lemons, make lemonade. Got Marker bleed-thru, make bleedthrumanade. I used Copics to make mine.
I tried out an advertisement pen that I picked up from the Doctor’s office, and a Pentel Energel to test with because I knew that the first tended to skip a lot, and the second smears very easily.
The cheap doctor’s pen wrote beautifully without my having to ‘warm it up’ and I didn’t get any skipping, smearing or ink transfer.
The Energel smeared when I deliberately ran a finger across it as soon as I wrote. Forty-five seconds later I couldn’t get it to smear at all. Closing the book immediately after I wrote something caused a few dots of ink transfer to the page beside it.
As with the fountain pens, the Energel looks beautiful if you take the time to make sure the ink dries.
Micron Pigma, Sharpie Fineline, Copic Multiliner, etc.:
I used all of the above named in drawing this tangle pattern, Twining and the Zentangle®-inspired art. What can I say? I love drawing on Rhodia paper with these pens. The lines are crisp and I can get dark, bold lines or light wispy ones as I choose. I had no trouble with smearing or ink transfer using these three pens.
I don’t care for perforations, though I know some people love them. I like to keep my journals as intact as possible, warts and all. With most of the Rhodia notebooks there is a microperf, easily ignored and unlikely to rip unless you mean to tear the page loose.
Combined with this particular glued binding though, I really don’t like these perfed pages. They aren’t a micro-perf but they are sturdy. I held the notebook by the corner of one page and shook vigorously. No tearing. When I pulled the paper close to the perf, it tore away easily.
But, the pages have been glued along the sides as well as along the spine. Good for the binding, but it means a ‘stub’ is left when you tear out a page. Visually, I think that’s ugly (subjective, again, but it’s a peeve of mine) and I find it annoying once several pages are pulled out and that thick stub of pages has built up.
|The white strip is the 'stub' left behind when a page has been pulled out|
The glued binding gets in the way if you fold the notebook pages back, as you might when holding the book and writing without a surface to lay it on. You can adjust the wedge created by the glue so that you get the whole page to write on, either front or back. If you were taking notes where speed mattered, it might slow you down. I also suspect (and can only suspect without actually tearing out lots of pages) that once you have torn out several pages, between the wedge and the stubs, it gets more difficult to fold the notebook and write on the back of a page.
This isn’t a notebook I’d use for note-taking in during a lecture, and I’d choose my pen ahead of time. I don’t care for those perfed stubs, but…I’ve already filled up half the pages.
The Rhodia Unlimited has been perfect for keeping by my table and taking notes as I test other notebooks, journals and sketchbooks for upcoming reviews, and work up tutorials for my Design Teams. I just like the feel and look of it. It makes me want to write in it.
Sometimes, it isn’t the details that count, but whether or not the notebook inspires you.