Posts Tagged 'Paper'

An Assorted (Yet Cohesive!) Paper Review

In this post, I outlined my initial impressions of four different Clairefontaine papers, which I received generously from Exaclair and bound into a short-term, multi-purpose book (what some people call a “journal”). I used this book during the last weeks of classes, as well as through the madness of Senior Week, and Graduation itself.

And it felt good (really good) to put this book aside after graduation– to start brand new, on a blank page. (What a handy metaphor, no?)

As it turns out, my blank page was on the other side of the country. But now I’m here in Colorado, and yes, I promised fuller reviews. So here we go.

Digital Color Printing Paper

Pentel Pocket Pen and ink on DCP Paper

First, to clarify: this paper isn’t meant for traditional writing and media. It’s for machines, and I’m sure it works superbly that way. But I’m not interested in machines (except, maybe, Leo Marx’s). I wanted to test a loose-leaf Clairefontaine paper– one that could be used for bookbinding!

This has perhaps been one of the few drawbacks to Clairefontaine products– they’re more like, well, office supplies than art supplies. So I really appreciate trying out some loose-leaf paper, which can be used as a raw material for a variety of art projects. The DCP paper is also available in a variety of weights (90 to 350 gsm), which allows for even more customization.

The short version: Use your fountain pens, markers, brush pens, and crayons on this paper; leave the paint and wet media alone. Water-soluble pencils/crayons/pastels have the potential to work well (perhaps if they’re more oil-based) but don’t overdo the water. Stephanie at Biffybeans did a review of this paper, and had similar findings.

Also, this is the time to experiment with bright colors. So channel your inner pop artist.

However, for whatever reason, I found that I did less art on this kind of paper. When I did draw, I used my Pentel Pocket Pen, which left beautiful, clean, high-contrast lines. Writing (in ink) on this paper was pleasurable, but the paper was too glossy to use a pencil, and the thinness also encouraged more minimalist approach.

Stamped! Notice the wet spot to the left; that's bleed-through from the drawing posted above

Continue reading ‘An Assorted (Yet Cohesive!) Paper Review’

Handmade Book with Clairefontaine Paper

In this post, I hinted at a new Book that I was binding using several different sample Clairefontaine papers: Graf It sketch padDCP Digital Color Printing Paper,Calligraphy Art Pad, and the Ingres Pastel Pad.

All the papers serve very different functions, so binding them into one journal is a way for me to provide a more extensive review of each type of paper. And, a way to keep me artistically on my toes! (Sure, we’ll go with that).

I used a simple long stitch and then glued the bound signatures into the cover. To make the cover, I used leftover mat board from an art project, and covered it in some blue ribbon.

(Making a new book without buying anything new = so rewarding.)

I’ve already been using this book throughout the exam season, so that’s why there are already some extra papers sticking out of it.

I think the order of use is: DCP copy paper, pastel paper, Graf It sketch paper, and then the calligraphy paper. I’ll try to post more extensive reviews as I finish each section. However, I have played around with all four papers already, so I can at least provide some preliminary thoughts…

  • So far, I’m loving the paper from the calligraphy pad– especially the off-white color, which I’m not used to seeing in Clairefontaine/Rhodia products. This paper is SO smooth, but less “slippery” than regular Clairefontaine paper. Plus, it’s a bit heavier which means it can handle wet media (sort of).
  • I was actually surprised how much I liked the Graf It sketchpad: it seems like a similar product to those “all-use” sketchbooks that you can buy at craft stores, with the rough-ish paper, but the quality of the Graf-it paper is a huge step up.
  • I love the DCP printing paper because it seems like basic Clairefontaine paper, but has the benefit of being available as loose sheets. I think when I bind small books for gifts in the future, I’ll use this paper instead of regular computer printer paper to fill them. Like the paper in Clairefontaine notebooks, though, it doesn’t offer the same versatility that the calligraphy paper and graf it paper do– it’s definitely more light weight, and not compatible with wet media. My guess is that it’s best used for writing and inking (and of course, printing. I’ll get to that in a later post)
  • The paper from the Ingres pastel pad seems really, really similar to the paper in the Exacompta sketchbook: it’s off-white, laid paper. And hey, I love the Exacompta sketchbook, so this just may be excellent paper. I found that it takes both wet and dry media equally well, and pastels are buttery smooth when used on this paper. This will be my first extended paper review, in the next few days.

Binding A New Journal, Courtesy of Exaclair

Exaclair Papers (except the blue)

This title is a bit misleading: I don’t really “journal,” in the traditional sense of the word. I use to write my thoughts, yes– but also for my creative writing and to write articles, and also as an art journal or sketchbook, and also for boring things like to-do lists and academic planning. Whew.

I always emphasize this to my friends ( it’s a BOOK, not a “DIARY”) who have this image of me sitting down, probably in Victorian clothing, to write, “Dear Diary, today I…”

So. I finished my Kunst & Papier Book with a really awkward amount of time left before graduation. I kept thinking, “Oh, of course this Book will last me until I graduate! and then I’ll make a lovely clean new one for my post-college life! Blank slates all around!”

But oh, no. I finished my Book with four weeks till graduation. So, what, should I start a new one that begins four weeks before a major life transition? That seemed really unbalanced and strange, so I decided against it. Instead I’m going to make a short little Book that I can use for the next month.

And how perfect! I received a lovely assortment of papers from Exaclair to review. Along with a Rhodia dotpad and some stationary, I received a Graf It sketch padDCP Digital Color Printing Paper, a Calligraphy Art Pad, and the Ingres Pastel Pad. So, I decided the best way to test them all would be to bind them into one multimedia writing-art-planner Book.

Clairefontaine Generosity

I’ll update when the book is bound!

Review: Quo Vadis Planner – Equology Basic

Planner review The past few years I’ve been reusing old notebooks as DIY planners– which was great, actually, because I could determine the format and size  (and color scheme) of everything. But now that I’ve used those up, I’ve been in need of a more slender academic planner.

A fellow pen&paper blogger offered up a version of the Quo Vadis Equology planner for me to use, but she had reviewed the version with the 60lb paper, which tends not to stand up to fountain pens. I ordered the same thing with 90lb paper, in the “Scholar” format. I prefer the streamlined look of the “Visual” layout, but for some strange reason Visual doesn’t include Saturday and Sunday. Lame.

It’s a slim little book, inconspicuous but not boring. I would prefer a cover without the mottled texture, but that’s just personal preference. I believe it’s also available for purchase with special covers.

Recycled paper

So, the selling point for the Equology is that it’s made from recycled paper– but interestingly, the note inside the cover says “recyclable” –as in, can be recycled. Pretty much any paper can be recycled, so I’m not sure that “able to be recycled” is a real selling point…

First page text

These are the specs. I may not have mentioned this before, but I have a thing for fonts and typefaces. And basically, I’m a big fan of the typeface in the Equology planners.

Full page detail

Here’s the full page. There’s a good amount of space for each day, a small corner for highlights and notes. Again, the arrangement of titles and typefaces is really appealing.

Day closeup

A closeup of one day.

Text on page detail 2

Ah, my favorite part. The paper takes fountain pens beautifully! It’s not glossy, like Rhodia or Clairefontaine, but I wouldn’t want that anyways because then it would take too long to dry. With this paper I can use my fountain pens even for quick notes, then just close it up and stuff it in my bag. There’s no bleed-through, even with wet writers.

Side Corner View Tabs

Another handy quality is the tear-off corner tabs, to be able to flip easily to my current week. I think the ribbon-bookmark method would get annoying in such a utilitarian notebook, so this is a really effective method.

The Roundup: Rhodia Drive Raffle Prize

StackOh boy. Through farmwork and thesis work, re-carpeting my parents’ home and moving myself into a new temporary home, I haven’t gotten a chance to sit down and upload some photos of my Rhodia raffle prize.

These were graciously sent by Karen Doherty of Exaclair, and I want to note how impressed I was at the way the raffle was handled. Not only did the Rhodia Drive blog feature my blog when announcing the first winner, but I received an email from Karen congratulating me and asking my “favorite colors” –which was confusing at first, until she explained that she was just hoping to tailor the notebooks to my liking, for ink colors and cover colors.

Well, gosh.

I really like the opportunities for personal connection that the world of blogging allows. Although it’s part of my firm belief to never confuse the digital world for face-to-face interactions, I must admit that there is a certain social etiquette in the blogging world (much more professional than the “dear-diary” of livejournal land) which opens up a door for cool opportunities– like this one!

So, a box arrived at my door a few days later, containing:

Basically, that’s a lot. I did the math, and the total retail value would be $174.25. I think knowing that makes me appreciate it even more, because it means that I won’t have to spend money on school supplies this year. Little blessings are especially nice when they come with pretty inks :)

I’m not going to do full reviews of anything right now, especially because I included the new inks in my recent ink comparison and because  so many of the notebooks are near-duplicates (all the Rhodia blocs, for example). But I will include a few initial thoughts, mainly–

What the heck am I supposed to do with this teeny tiny notebook?!

IMG_0051

I’m not sure this picture does this notebook justice in showing its size (I have small hands). Its about twice the size of a matchbook, 2″ x 3″. I also have English-major Carpal Tunnel syndrome, so writing in a cramped size is not an option. My male friends with larger hands just sort of laughed when they tried to hold it. Any suggestions?

My other initial reaction was: UH. Ironically, I received the exact same Exacompta sketchbook that I’m using as my personal journal right now.

IMG_0056

I’m nearing the end of my journal, and now I’m wondering whether to use this new one as a replacement or move to another notebook. It’s such a beautiful book, but I’ve always been the type to try new formats when I start a new journal. A gift, perhaps?


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