This review is the second in a series where I will test the paper in some of the most popular notebooks today, including Moleskine, Ciak, Rhodia, Markings by C.R. Gibson and Cartesio. I am posting the reviews in no specific order. I intentionally omitted the Leuchtturm journals because they are planning on changing to “pen-proof” paper in their journals in August, 2009, and in all fairness, I want to review their newest products.
The pens I chose were based on what I had lying around my office, but my selections are similar to popular pens in the market today. I chose a fountain pen with a medium nib because it will lay down more ink and will be more likely to feather or bleed through the paper than a fine point nib.
Please note that you may get different results using your pens than I do with mine. A lot of variables can come into play here including pen type, ink type, pressure used, nib style and environmental conditions, etc. I will do my best to be specific when possible and to include all of the relevant details.
The pens I am testing are:
- Tombow Ultra Rollerball Pen, 0.5 mm point
- Sensa Ballpoint Pen
- Staedtler Triplus Fineliner
- Tombow Fountain Pen with Medium Nib
- Tombow Pixie Ballpoint Pen, 0.7 mm point
- Pilot Precise Grip Fine Point Marker
- Tombow Dual Brush Pen, Fine Point
- Marks A-Lot Dual Sharp Permanent Marker Fine Point (similar to Sharpie)
The Rhodia notebook had the smoothest paper when compared to the other notebooks in the test. It provided the least resistance to my pens and all of the writing samples look crisp and clear. The surface of the paper feels silky when you run your fingers across it and it was a pleasure to write on. The paper is the second thickest in the test, the thickest was from the Ciak Journal. The color is pale ivory and is nearly the same as all the other journals. There are 22 lines on each page and the last line on the right pages includes a small logo in the lower right corner.
I was quite pleased by how well the paper in the Rhodia Web Notebook performed. The words on the page appeared sharp and clear and there was no feathering that I could see. The depth of color was average compared to the rest, but there was till plenty of contrast for good readability. Because the paper is so smooth, the inks went down clean without drags, skips or picks and was a joy to write on.
There was an an interesting effect that occured on the Rhodia paper that did not occur on any of the other paper samples. The words and lines written with the fountain pen have more tonal variation. The color is darker at the end of a line where the pen is lifted from the page. I like this look and think it enhances the hand-written page, but it may not be for everyone.
Enlarged detail of the inks on the paper in the Rhodia Web notebook. The words appear sharp and clear, and the colors saturated. The fountain pen sample has quite a bit of tonal variation, which is an interesting effect. If you right click this image and select “view image” from the dropdown menu, you can see an enlarged view.
The Rhodia Web Notebook paper performed best of all of the samples I tested regarding showthrough or bleedthrough. The back side of the paper has almost no showthrough and no bleedthrough with exception of the Marks-A-Lot Permanent Marker which bled through every paper in this test. There is a small amount raised writing on the back side of the page on the Tombow Roll and Ballpoint Pens, Sensa Ballpoint pen and the Pilot Precise Grip. The fountain pen and marker samples did not have any raised areas.
The back side of the page has minimal showthrough. On all samples except the fountina pen and markers, you can feel a small amount of text raised on the reverse side. If you right click this image and select “view image” from the dropdown menu, you can see an enlarged view.
When using wet pens, such as the Tombow Roll Pen and the Tombow Fountain Pen, the inks dried slightly slower than expected. This can cause smearing if you are a lefty or if you are impatient. It shouldn’t be a problem if you are a righty as long as you don’t rush things.
- Clear, sharp text with no apparent feathering, even when using a fountain pen and markers
- Thick paper has very little showthrough and minimal bleedthrough
- Super, smooth paper accepts ink without skipping
- Pale ivory color is easy on the eyes
- Good for use with ballpoint pens, roll pens and fountain pens
- Heavier paper makes the notebook slightly thicker than the other samples tested
- Writing with heavy pressure will push through leaving raised areas on the back side
- The ink from wettest pens including fountain and roll pens dry slower than in other journals
- There is a logo in the lower right corner of each page
Overall, I think the paper in the Rhodia Web Notebook is the top performer of all of the notebooks I have tested so far in regards to pen and ink. The paper is incredibly smooth and is heavy enough to prevent most showthrough and bleedthrough. Thick paper does produce journal that is a little bit thicker than some of the others, but this won’t be a problem for most people. A large variety of pens will work well on the paper although this may vary somewhat depending on your pen and ink choices. If you use a wet fountain or roll pen, this journal may be the best choice for you if you want to avoid showthrough and bleedthrough.