Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Feedback on Rhodia/Clairefontaine Graph Paper Products



Back in Week 1 of The Paper Project, we offered samples from three different Exaclair graph ruled products:

Rhodia Ice: 80g white paper with grey inked graph ruling (Ice pads are available in 5 sizes, graph or line ruled.)
Rhodia 80th Anniversary: 90g ivory paper with grey inked graph ruling (Currently only available in the Anniversary Gift Set, one size, No. 16)
Clairefontaine Classic  90g white paper with blue inked graph ruling (Classic pads are available in a variety of size and ruling options.)

Feedback from our Week 1 Paper Project samplers included the following:

Suzy said: I used every media at my disposal on each of the papers, to include pencil, marker, various drawing pens, fountain pens from extra fine to vintage flex, and even a light ink wash. I’ve only ever used the Clairefontaine Classic before, and although it’s great paper, I was very impressed with the Rhodia 80th and Ice!

All three papers have a lovely, smooth finish. The Clairefontaine Classic felt smoothest to the touch, so I expected it to perform the best. However, it’s more absorbent than the other papers, so I had significant feathering and bleedthrough with most inks and wasn’t able to achieve the superfine hairlines with a pointed dip pen that I got with the Ice and 80th papers.

I’m actually very impressed with the Rhodia 80th! I like the grey lines, and although I prefer a lighter ivory paper, warm-toned inks look great on this one! The Ice also performed well, with minimal feathering, even with my wettest flex nib.

All the papers worked beautifully with pencil, gel pen, Pitt pens, and even light ink washes. Although Copic markers bled through all the papers, they blended nicely.

snowflakeschance said: I attempted to use my most difficult writing instruments on these samples of paper, but the only thing I got to show through the other side is my Sharpie UltraFine in Slate Grey. See images here. I tried to be as varied as I can with my writing instruments because I also enjoy drawing… although being a chemist I sometimes think if they opened up my head they would find two left brains…

Will F. From Nerd Uprising blogged about his experience and said: So this is good paper.

I chose to use a Palamino Blackwing to review the first product, the Clairefontaine Classic paper. This paper is a bright white with a blue graph that’s a bit on the small side for me. The ink is also a little too prominent, almost to the point of distraction. That being said, it’s a lush, velvety weight that picks up the graphite well.

My 2nd sample is the Rhodia Ice, and I love this paper. I changed pencils to my current favorite, the Musgrave Test Scoring 100. This paper is a lighter weight than the Clairefontaine Classic. It holds the graphite really well and is a pleasure to write on. I love that the grey graph is dark enough to guide my lines but not so pronounced as to distract from the words themselves. The 1st sample looks and feels like a great choice for fountain pen users, but I’m really digging the slight tooth of this Ice for pencils!

This 3rd sample — the Rhodia 80th Anniversary — is the best of the bunch for me. It’s silky smooth, even with this harder-than-the-Blackwing graphite. The weight of it (90g) gives it the feel of premium paper (which is fitting). There’s next-to-no smearing of the graphite, and the ivory/grey combination of colors helps the pencils to really stand out.

Shelly B said: On all papers, I used pencil, brush pens, graphic pens and fountain pens. I usually choose white paper for designs and lettering so I tried the Rhodia Ice first. I used pencil, which worked great, then I inked a few drawings with Zig Pigma Micron pens. The paper performed beautifully with no feathering or bleed through. Next, I used a few colors from my Stabilo point 88 set to draw and ink a monogram with vine. This is one of the best uses for grid paper in my opinion, and the result was very nice. The ink laid down smoothly with no feathering, but there was a little bleed through and shadowing on the back. That’s not a problem for me because I like to use only one side for designs like this.

I moved onto the Rhodia No. 80 and right away noticed that it felt much smoother than the Ice. I used the same tools but also added both the Zig Pigma Brush Pen and the Kuretake Sumi Brush Pen for more lettering. I experienced a little bleed through with heavy lettering using the graphic pens and my Pilot Varsity fountain pen, but absolutely no feathering. My favorite use for this paper was drawing and lettering with pencil, but writing with both medium and fine nib Lamy fountain pens was a joy too. I really love this paper and will buy this in the future.

Lastly, I used the Clairefontaine Classic with a variety of liner pens, brush pens and fountain pens. I really like the weight and smoothness of this paper and it held up well to the Zig Cocoiro Letter pen, Kuretake Sumi brush pen, Staedtler Liner pen, and Lamy Safari and Al Star fountain pens. There was some bleed through with the Noodlers Ahab Flex Nib fountain pen and more with the Pilot Varsity fountain pen. The Varsity also feathered on this paper too. This is beautiful paper for letter design and practice but I probably would not use it with pens that have heavier ink flow.

After using all three papers, which I greatly enjoyed, I have to say that I liked using the Rhodia 80 the best.

Raffaello Palandri said: I received my samples and I tested them all with 4 different pens and inks and with pencils. The paper of all three samples performed very well. I really love Ivory paper, my absolute favourite in the lot. It enhances fountain pen ink colors. I noticed no bleed with the different inks and pens.

I like the smooth sensation this paper gives under the nib of fountain pens and the fine nibs of technical pens. Also, Rhodia thin lines are wonderful if you use pencils, as they are not confusing with what you write/draw. Summing up, three great performers, but my vote is for the ivory paper!

gmbriggs said: Like some of the others, I was surprised that I liked the ivory as much as I did. The color added some warmth. That said, I still prefer classic out of the bunch. The Ice was a distant third.

Amy Burton said: These samples have been my first experience with Rhodia papers. I now understand why it gets rave reviews. My favorite of the three would have to be the 80th Ivory/Grey graph. The paper I have been buying is an off-white, but I love the appearance of the ink on the ivory paper. My second favorite would have to be the Rhodia Ice, it edges out the Clairefontaine Classic only because of the prominent grid lines on the Clairefontaine. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of graph paper for general writing, but either of the Rhodia sheets tested would be workable.

And lastly, a special note from Stephanie, your Rhodia Drive Blogger:  As I’ve had the good fortune to try just about every different variety of Rhodia/Clairefontaine paper over the years, I’ve become pretty particular about I choose to use on a day-to-day basis.

It’s almost always Rhodia white 80g blank or dot – and never ever graph. Until Karen sent me one of the 80th Anniversary tablets. I just *love* this ivory paper with the pale grey graph. I’ve extensively used this paper for brain storming, note taking, and also for creating truth tables for validity in propositional logic in the Coursera class I’ve been taking. Pencils only for me, in anything from a 2H to a 2B. Unsure if it smudges, because I honestly don’t pay attention to such things. It’s about the smoothness of the graphite across the paper and how quickly I can get the ideas out of my head.

3 thoughts on “Feedback on Rhodia/Clairefontaine Graph Paper Products

  1. Hello,
    I am in the USA and am looking for your Wirebound A4 Dot Pads in Orange.
    I can not find any US dealer with them in stock.
    The item number is 18503C, as listed on page 39 in your 2015 catalog on
    But they are not listed as an option on

    Are they still available in the USA, and if so, where ?
    If they are not available in the USA, can you provide an international dealer that stocks them and will ship to the USA?

    Thanks for your help !!

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