Monday, March 23, 2015

DIY Rhodia Sketchbooklet

My DIY sketchbooklet, this time filled with Rhodia paper.
As I was running out of my stock of DIY sketchbooklets, I started grumbling anew about why even one of the plethora of manufacturers making small, thin pocket-sized notebooks doesn’t offer one that contains blank, fountain pen-friendly paper that could be used for casual sketching as well as writing. A couple of months ago I renewed my search for such a notebook and ended up trying Baron Fig’s Apprentice. The paper is not ideal, but at least it’s blank, and I still have hope that the company’s attitude about responding to customers’ needs might eventually result in a notebook with better paper.

This week my whining ran out of steam, and I needed a daily-carry sketchbooklet, so I had to resort to my previous solution: DIY. This time, instead of filling it with 100-pound watercolor paper, I used Rhodia paper, which is thin enough that I can bind it into a notebook with 48 pages. (Although 100-pound watercolor paper is much better for sketching, I can bind only about 20 pages into a sketchbooklet because of its thickness.)

3/21/15 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Rhodia paper
Rhodia paper, which I first experienced last summer in my travel journal/sketchbook, is a joy to write and sketch on with a fountain pen. It even holds up to a very light waterbrush wash. The see-through problem, common to all the notebook papers I’ve tried, is still there, as would be expected for 21.3-pound, “high-grade vellum” paper. More notable, though, is that I saw no bleed-through at all, even on spots where I had washed the ink on the other side (see below). And I’m pleased about the number of pages I can bind into a small, thin notebook, giving me more bang for the handbinding buck.

An 80-sheet pad of No. 18 (8 ¼ by 11 ¾ inches) Rhodia paper costs about $10 - $12 on Amazon (a little less at the University Bookstore where I bought mine), so that means my notebook cost about 80 cents, including the 100-pound cover and waxed linen binding thread. It took about 20 minutes to make (not counting carving the gingko leaf block, which I made a while back).
Back side of Rhodia paper showing ghosting
but not bleed-through of washed fountain
pen ink.

If I could buy it, I would. But to get what I want, DIY seems to be my destiny.

Updated 9/5/15: The closest I have come to finding an ideal store-bought, daily-carry sketchbooklet is the Field Notes Workshop Companion edition. It's a limited edition, so if you want them, buy them before they disappear!

1 comment:

  1. This looks great for ink sketches. The watercolor paper does make the sketchbooks so thick. I know I go through them really quickly no matter how many pages they have. I guess you will have to continue to make your own if you want something that meets your criteria...until the manufacturers listen.


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