Over the last 6 years writing for Rhodia Drive, I’ve had the opportunity to try a great many products from across all of the Exaclair lines: Rhodia, Clairfontaine, Quo Vadis, Exacompta, J. Herbin, Brause, etc. Sometimes I had even had the opportunity to sample products from France which were never distributed in the US.
Before I give back the keys to the Rhodia car at the end of this month, I wanted to take the time to share with you some of the products I’ve enjoyed the most. Please take note that these are in no specific order and that some of these items may no longer be available.
With one exception, I have always preferred the 80g white/90g ivory Rhodia paper over the 90g white Clairefontaine. This is the Clairefontaine Basics 6×8″ “Wirebound with Pockets”. 60 sheets, 3 pockets. I don’t even like ruled paper but I’ve gone through several of these books. Love the beefy brass spiral and the pockets. The plain covers are sweet. Would love this even more if it was filled with blank 80g Rhodia paper. (Side spiral please!!!)
Pockets to hold ephemera or what have you.
Of all the Rhodia ruling, it’s blank paper for me please. Dots are #2. All-time favorite size is the No. 16, 6×8″. Love them. I also use the 8×11″ No. 18’s which I often turn sideways to use. Regular 80g white is fine, 90g Premium R is even better.
And then there’s this guy. It’s the 80th Anniversary kit. No. 16 with 90g ivory paper and grey graph ruling. Note: Graph is my least favorite ruling because I tend to write big and that’s just too many lines to cross. But the grey graph on ivory? It’s something special… I swear. Magical even. Just try it.
These were a pair of Clairefontaine sketchbooks that I got to play with. I can’t offhand remember if they were distributed in the US. If they were, they are long since gone. The book in the front deserves a special mention because the paper was 90g off-white with a medium tooth and I loved it. All the other Clairefontaine sketch/drawing paper I’ve seen since have always been the white 90g- like in the Graf it pads.
The Graf it pads are pretty sweet on their own. I prefer them blank over Dot.
The same 90g blank white Clairefontaine sketch paper shows up again in the Crok Books, which happen to be a big favorite of mine (esp. the 6×8″) because with 24 sheets they are the perfect size to use as project books. The 90g white Clairefontaine sketch paper is also currently available in the Trophee Sketchpads.
The Webbie. Large, blank, fountain pen friendly, opens/lays flat. What more could you want? (Did you know that I gave the Webnotebook its nickname?)
Another favorite is the small Quo Vadis Habana. 4×6″ is a great size for travel. Blank please. 85g ivory works well for me.
Oh….. these cards… I think I have them in every size. They are so old school, I just love them.
This was the Exacompta Sketch book. Was because they are no more. Used to be called “Livres d’Or” Basics.
This journal included 100g off-white blank laid paper. Me, I’m a big fan of laid paper – especially for art making because of the added texture. The lines are formed during the paper making process. (The lines are always slightly less prominent on one side of the paper than the other.) The G Lalo Verge de France papers are laid.
NOTE: The lined version of this journal still exists – it’s now called the Exacompta Cloth Bound Journal
These little Pocket pads are new and adorable. I like the idea of keeping them in a purse or backpack as opposed to a regular tablet.
The Landscape Webbies offer a lot of real-estate for note-taking or sketching. I have not used this book yet, though I am eager to.
The Exacompta Faf Pad? Totally awesome retro old-school yes please. The paper is a ridiculously thin 60g mostly fountain pen friendly paper that you’ve got to try to believe. Put this on the night stand next to your rotary phone.
Leather pencil case? Real Leather? Oh yes. Deceptively slim, it holds a lot more than you’d think.
The Rhodia Meeting Book! The original 80g 6×8″ is a must-have. I’ve used one for planning Rhodia Drive blog posts for the entire time I’ve been here.
Of the J. Herbin Jewel inks, I’ve tried them all. My No. 1 is the Perle Noir. It also happens to be my all-time favorite black ink. I also like the Orange Indien.
These are Clairefontaine Carnet de Voyage Travel albums (no longer imported to the US) which are filled with 180g “Drawing” paper. I put drawing in quotes because this paper has held up quite well to light washes of watercolor paint with minimal buckling. 30 sheets in each pad made them perfect for travel. Loved the added touch of the elastic band.
If you want something a little heavier and specifically made for wet media, check out the Clairefontaine 200g and 300g Aquarelbloc products.
So that about wraps up all of my favorite Exaclair things. Which are yours?