Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Notepad Review: Rhodia dotPad

Sometime in spring last year, Rhodia introduced a new addition to their line of notepads, and they called it the dotPad. dotPads are "functional black stapled notepads with a dot grid." Yes, the dotPad has dots – not lines, just dots – tiny, subtle purple dots spaced 5mm apart. According to Rhodia, the dotPads are brilliant alternative to traditional lines and boxes found in other notepads, including some of Rhodia's own, and the dot grid is a favorite for graphic designers, architects, artists and everyone looking for a subtle grid.

When Exaclair VP for Marketing Karen Doherty sent me the J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink last November, she included a No. 19 Rhodia dotPad which I called Dottie.

The dotPad's ruling system is new to me. I have never tried paper with dot grid before as I always used lined/ruled paper. My Journal is ruled, the notebooks and notepads I've used in my ink reviews are either lined/ruled or squared. The reason why I've always avoided blank paper is that I find it uncomfortable to write on. Now with Dottie, I can write, do calligraphy, and even draw (and color!) without worrying about my handwriting going to wrong directions, or with lines getting in the way of my calligraphy and drawings.

dotPads, like other Rhodia pads, are staple-bound. But unlike its siblings, dotPads have black covers instead of the traditional Rhodia orange. The top of the inside cover is scored so that it will fold back easily towards the back cover, but what it reveals once folded is something so cool to me - the Rhodia logo. A thicker board is placed at the back of the pad, aside from its back cover, to provide it with stronger support.

Dottie has the same smooth, white, acid-free, ph-neutral 80gsm Clairefontaine paper that I have enjoyed using in my previous ink reviews. The pages are microperforated and very easy to tear off. Like many fountain pen users, I prefer using Rhodia pads and notebooks as they are very, very friendly to fountain pen use. It's the perfect paper to use in my ink reviews!

The photo below shows all of the J. Herbin inks I got in my ink stash right now. I used an Herbin glass dip pen to test all 14 inks on a page off my Dottie.

Below are more pen and ink tests on Dottie.

A selection of fountain pens and inks...

Some of my gel pens...

A pencil and a Sharpie.

Look! No bleed! Except for the ultra-fine Sharpie that bleeds on almost anything.


Below are some macro shots of different inks on the dotPad's paper. I realized that this is the perfect paper to test inks because most of the 'featherers' and 'bleeders' on my ink collection behaved beautifully on this paper.

Lovely Herbin inks! See how smooth Rouge Opera and Vert Pré are on the dotPad.

I'm happy to see the red undertones of Diamine Majestic Blue here because it does not always show - my guess is that the paper/pen/ink combination determines such.

Caran d'Ache is sooooo smooth.

And Noodlers too! I told you they all behaved well - no feathering, no bleeds! Yay!

The dotPad that Karen sent to me is the No. 19, measuring 8¼ × 12½. It is available in four sizes, though: 3 3/8" × 4¾", 6" × 8¼", 8¼" × 12½" and 16½" x 12 ½";  in a number of Rhodia and Exaclair retailers worldwide. Coming up in 2011: a dotted Webbie! Can't wait!

And now for a bit of experiment and fun. Here is a Stegosaurus I drew and colored on a page of my Dottie. I got it from About.com's cartooning for kids section for my niece. I just love the cute smile on this dino's face that I drew one myself. I used a Sharpie ultra-fine pen for dino's outline. Though I have not tried any of my inks for coloring, I used J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche for its body, Orange Indien for the first row of armor plates and tail spikes, and Terre de Feu for the remaining armor plates and its toe nails. I enjoyed coloring this cute dino so much! I felt like a kindergarten kid again!

Rhodia dotPads are available in different sizes to fit everyone's lifestyle. Use it for note-taking, writing lists, doing calligraphy, sketching, drawing, painting, and so on. The possibilities with these pads are endless!


  1. Very nice review. I love your ink tests, Wonderful! Can you tell me where I can find the full size pics of your ink testing on the dotpad? The pictures are not large enough for me to make out the inks.
    Thank you!

  2. Hi! The images can be viewed in larger sizes when you click on them. Thank you for your kind comment.

  3. Wonderful review!! I love your stegosaurus. Have fun with Dottie!!

  4. I second that it's a great review. The dotPads are my favorite pads now. I used to like grids best but the dot pad gives me the same structure with less "lineyness". Nice dinodoodle!!!

  5. Anonymous2:31 PM

    Great and wonderful review of the Rhodia dotpad and the ink tests. I really like the nice lines of the custom nib grinds on your Parker Jotter and Schneider Base Pens.

  6. Fantastic review! I love the pic of your ink tests, and I wish my handwriting was a nice as yours. Love the Steggy!

    I shall have to try and pick myself up a Dottie.

  7. Very nice review, and I love all your ink samples. Looks like the doodles in my Rhodias and Clairefontaines. They have the best paper - now I'll have to try these dotted ones. Too bad I don't have any stores near me that sell them, I'd have to order online I guess! Thanks for showing them!!

  8. Anonymous8:47 PM

    Have you tried the Diablo menthe with your LAMY safari?

    It seemed to get so watery when I did it!