Paper is important to the lefty writing experience too! Some papers are super absorbent, some papers are laminated so that ink sits on top. Some papers show off ink properties very well while others don’t. I thought that I would start off this paper section of Left Hook Pens with Rhodia, one of my favorites.
Three years ago I was given a Rhodia goalbook to start bullet journaling with. Up until then, the nicest paper I had used was a fancy spiral-bound notebook from Target. The same day, I was also given a Platinum Preppy which was my first fountain pen. The pen I messed up right away because I misaligned the tines, but the notebook I would end up using over three calendar years.
Rhodia paper comes in a wide variety of colors, sizes, bindings and rulings. There are lined, dot grid, regular grid and blank. Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a few Rhodia notebooks:
In the A5 category I have a dot pad, a staple bound grid notebook, and two goalbooks. My old sapphire goalbook is pictured next to a brand new one. The sapphire has developed a sort of patina, and there is Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses soaked in on the right side of the cover. Underneath the dot pad there is a square spiral-bound reverse book with a dot grid. I plan on posting a separate review of this, as it’s especially lefty friendly. Underneath the reverse book there is a plaid grid notebook with numbered pages and a table of contents. The big purple A4 pad on the bottom is a lined Color pad. All Rhodia notebooks feature “brushed vellum paper” from Clairefontaine which is what makes them so smooth. The cream colored paper is 90gsm while the white is 80gsm. Despite a 10gsm difference, both paper grades handle most inks very well.
The above photos showcase the 90 gsm paper, front and back. If you take a look at the close-up sample at the very beginning of this post you will see that this cream colored paper shows off shading quite well.
Looking through my old goalbook, I noticed that black ink from a 0.25 mm Micron pen or a Le Pen will do this weird ghosting over time that I’ll try my best to explain. The ink has fully seeped into the paper, leaving a light blue halo around the writing and then severe ghosting on the other side of the page:
The above two photos are of the backs of separate pages in my goalbook where this ghosting has happened. I’m guessing that this is a combination of the acid free paper and the amount of black archival ink put on the page. This hasn’t happened with a blue Micron of the same line width, or black ink from a lesser line width Micron. I’m happy to report that fountain pen ink from a year ago looks the same as the day I used it!
The ghosting happened on the white paper as well using the same pen. So, if you’re interested in drawing or writing with waterproof/archival pens on this paper, I would recommend not using both sides of the page.
Here are some more writing samples made on 80 gsm grid paper. The performance is a about the same as with the cream colored paper, but ink colors may show up more accurately because there’s no distortion from the color of the paper.
On the back of the page, Emerald of Chivor bled through a little bit, as did TWSBI Emerald, but those inks were in wet writing pens. Super wet inks like Noodler’s Blue Nosed Bear will bleed through no matter what pen you use. The same is true for the slightly thicker cream paper.
I love Rhodia notebooks. The Clairfontaine paper is a good midpoint between Tomoe River and Leuchtturm on the absorbency scale. Rhodia also has the best smelling notebooks that I have ever smelled; there’s no chemical or plasticky scent on these pages. For lefties, this is a good everyday paper as I haven’t had smearing issues and dry time is decent.