As an artist who creates art using materials sourced from both art shops and stationery shops – journals and art books are of great interest to me. Because, to fully embrace the fountain pen, journalling and art communities and come up with an art book/journal that fully satisfies handwriting, calligraphy, illustration, painting etc… now that is a tall order!
So, when Lawrence Savage of Exaclair invited me to test some of the recently launched Rhodia Touch art books, how could I refuse?
The first book I had a look at was the Rhodia Touch Simili Japon or Calligraphy Book. The A5 landscape book comes in a black hardbound format blind embossed with the Rhodia Touch logo on the cover. Inside are 64 pages of 250 gsm ivory paper stock. I used an automatic dip pen, blending Diamine Inkvent inks Winter Miracle and Gold Star. The surface is just so easy. When dry there is a great vibrancy of colour with full shimmers and sheens. I then used Troublemaker Petrichor both as a chromo background with an abstract type overlay and also as a water diluted ink alphabet with Schmincke copper dust added while drying. Another lovely result.
The second book I had a look at was the Rhodia Touch Bristol Book. This A5 landscape pocketbook comes in a black soft bound format blind embossed with the Rhodia Touch logo on the cover. Inside are 64 pages of 205 gsm white paper stock. First up I tried a chromo painting using Robert Oster Australian Opal Mauve. I then tried a calligraphic blend using Cult Pens Maureen and Robert. And lastly another chromo wash using Troublemaker Kelp Tea and a quick illustration using my own Twilight Black with Robert Oster Marrone Mustard. There are issues here, with ink bleed, paper ruckle, show through and bleed through. I don’t believe that this particular product can cope properly with fountain pen ink.
The third book I tried at was the Rhodia Touch Carbon Book. This A5 landscape book comes in a black hardbound format blind embossed with the Rhodia Touch logo on the cover. Inside are 112 pages of 120 gsm black paper stock. To be honest, I don’t think there’s much for fountain pen ink users here so I created an abstract alphabet using an automatic pen and water and then sprinkled Schmincke gold and copper dusts while wet. Whatever floats your boat!
The fourth book I had a look at was the Rhodia Touch Lavis Technique or Pen and Inkwash Book. This A4 portrait book comes in a black hardbound format blind embossed with the Rhodia Touch logo on the cover. Inside are 64 pages of 200 gsm white paper stock. I used an automatic dip pen, blending Diamine Inkvent Winter Miracle with water bleach and copper dust. The chromo art worked a treat using Robert Oster Australian Opal Mauve for the marine scene and Troublemaker Abalone for the beach scene. For the ornate letter ‘E’ I used bleach and ink on a chromo background of Robert Oster Graphite. I don’t know what this paper is, but its smooth and robust with no ink bleed, no bleed through, no show through and limited ruckle having been saturated. It’s a lovely surface to write on too – very smooth. This art book is in my opinion, the best art book I have come across to-date that fully supports my art. Well done Rhodia!
And lastly I tried out the Rhodia Touch 2 in 1 Sleeve Roll. This has an Italian leatherette finish with and embossed Rhodia touch logo. It’s water, ink and bleach proof! The tool pocket with protection flap includes a removable flat case (with velcros fasteners) which I haven’t come across before and is ideal for holding rubbers, scalpel blades, pencil sharpener and spare nibs. I love this and am already using it!
So there we are. Two great art books one of which is just superb! And a Sleeve Roll for the intrepid ink artist. Many thanks to Lawrence and to Rhodia. I enjoyed doing this!
AND HEY! If you’re interested to know more about how to use fountain pen inks in more creative ways – whether it’s simply to observe their chromatic behaviours, or, to recreate one of my swatch cards, or, to learn how to use them in watercolour painting, illustration and calligraphy, why not check out my online course ?