1. Rhodia Webnotebook (orange cover, unlined, A5 size)
This notebook became my main journal in the last part of the year and will likely continue as my journal throughout 2012. The off-white pages are made of very smooth paper that works great with most pens, while the fact that they are unlined encourages me to doodle and draw as well as write. I also appreciate the cheerful orange cover and endpapers.
2. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens (black ink)
These have become my pens of choice for sketching and drawing mandalas. The ink is waterproof, which makes them ideal for use with watercolours. I bought the set of four nib sizes: brush, medium, fine, and super-fine. I don't particularly care for the brush pen, but the others are great for creating lines of varying widths in my mandalas. The super-fine is still not quite fine enough for me, so I'm also eager to try out the extra-super-fine version.
3. Pentel EnerGel 0.5mm (needle-point)
The Pentel EnerGel remains my favourite basic pen. It's one of the smoothest-writing pens out there, the ink colours are vivid, and it's long-lasting. The 0.7mm is great as well, but the 0.5mm needle-point is my favourite. It's the ideal nib size for my small handwriting, and I always love needle-point tips on pens.
4. My homemade pencil/pen cases
I'm still using the pen cases that my mom made for me back in 2010, and they're the best pen cases I've ever owned. Sure, you could probably buy a fancier pen case, but making your own (or getting someone to make one for you!) is the simplest way to ensure that you have a unique case that is customized to be exactly how you want it.
5. Heinz Jordan Permanent Sketch Book (A5 size)
I'm not sure of the availability of these sketchbooks outside of Canada, but I see them everywhere in art supply stores around here. This is a great inexpensive, basic sketchbook, with white pages and a plain black cover. It is also quite thick, so it lasts a long time, and the pages lie very flat, which is ideal for drawing.
6. Pentel Slicci 0.3mm
After the EnerGel, the Slicci is probably my favourite pen for writing. The small, colourful pens write very smoothly and are surprisingly comfortable to use for their size. At 0.3mm, these are a bit fine for general use, but they are great for writing in my journal, editing, or jotting notes in the margin.
7. Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38mm (green black)
This pen is similar to the Slicci, but it has a grip and comes in a few different colours. Green black is definitely not a typical colour, but it has become one of my favourites. Dark with a hint of sophisticated colour, it definitely stands out from the standard blacks and blues.
8. Rhodia Pad No. 11
This paper pad can be easily slipped into a pocket or bag, and features Rhodia's smooth 80g paper that is a dream to write on with nearly all pens. The pages can be torn off cleanly along the perforations or left intact. It is also excellent for writing short pen reviews!
9. Quo Vadis Habana Notebook (black cover, unlined, pocket size)
I recently retired my beloved Habana, which was my previous daily journal. I loved its small size and smooth ivory pages. My larger Rhodia Webbie has since taken over as my main journal, but I still have a lined, red-covered Habana for miscellaneous notes and pen tests.
10. Moleskine Volant Notebook
This one is a bit of a surprise. Although it initially lost out to the Rhodia Classic Staplebound notebook in their epic battle, the Moleskine Volant has since redeemed itself. Say what you will about the paper quality, what this notebook has going for it is the ability to close completely flat once opened, which for a soft-covered notebook of this size is quite a feat. I also appreciate its matte black cover. The ruling on the pages is too wide for me, and I don't like that the pages can be removed (which just feels wrong in a bound notebook), but otherwise this makes a great pocket notebook.
So, what were your favourite products in 2011?