Davide Bonazzi’s Sketchbooks

Great drawings from Bologna-based illustrator Davide Bonazzi:

“I confess I’m not the kind of artist who absolutely needs a sketchbook when he travels. Mostly I just enjoy traveling light, keeping my eyes wide open and taking pics. I used to keep sketchbooks when I was a student, and later I enjoyed doing sketches on my iPad, but for some reason I didn’t become an addicted to sketching.

Recently my girlfriend, who’s an illustrator as well, encouraged me to keep a sketchbook. I forgot how exciting this was! I made many sketches during my recent trip to the US; you can see some of these below.

I just used Tombow watercolor markers and I rediscovered the pleasure of drawing on paper, simply using a strong black outline to represent the things I was seeing. No eraser or CTRL+Z to undo what you’ve drawn here! As an illustrator I mainly use digital tools, and my style consists of “flat,” colored shapes, so it’s been nice to do something very far from my usual way of working.”

Read more at: AI-AP | DART » Davide Bonazzi’s Sketchbooks

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Moleskine Monday: Two-Go Notebook

Moleskine has introduced a new product that will answer a frequent question I’ve gotten from readers: “Where can I get a notebook with plain pages on one side and lined on the other?”

The new “Two-Go” notebooks are an in-between size, 4.5 x 6.9″, with cloth covers, similar to the Voyageur. (Moleskine’s Pocket notebooks are 3.5 x 5.5″, and Large are 5 x 8.25″.)

I wondered about the paper holding up to both art and regular writing, but it has 144 pages of 100 GSM paper so show-through and bleed-through may not be as bad as with the regular classic notebooks, which are only 70 GSM. That said, it’s not up to the standard of the 120 GSM paper in the “sketch albums” or the 165 GSM paper in the hardcover sketchbooks.

Source: Two-Go Notebook – Moleskine ®

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Notebook Addict of the Week: Ella

This week’s addict comes from a family who must have a house full of notebooks! Ella was previously featured along with her sister when she was only 5 years old. Her dad Shane has also been featured as an addict. Ella has not outgrown her love of notebooks. Here is her colorful collection so far:

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“My name is Ella. I am 11 years old. I am in 6th grade right now. I like to write down important things or events in my journals. I get it from my dad. Also, I like to write down meaningful verses from the bible. I have been writing in journals for about 6-7 years. I have two favorite journals in this picture. My favorite one is the Wizard of Oz one, and the second favorite is the Wonder Woman journal. “

Ella, thank you so much for sharing your love of notebooks with us! I hope you continue to keep writing in your journals for many years to come!

New Republic Article on Notebooks and Bullet Journaling

“I have never had a healthy relationship with notebooks. I hoard them by the dozens, I spend hours filling them, I have them shipped across the Atlantic Ocean by the German company Fantasticpaper….

My real work—writing lectures or things I actually intend to publish—all happens on a computer, of course, but my whole life happens in notebooks. And strange to say, it turns out I’m not the only one.”

I’m sure that doesn’t sound strange at all to anyone reading this here! This article in the New Republic goes on to discuss the craze for bullet journaling, and how it has been spread by beautiful Instagram images of people’s journal pages, which can inspire but also intimidate.

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“[Bullet Journal creator Ryder] Caroll insists that bullet journals are not just for the artistically and aesthetically gifted. “A lot of people get very intimidated by the system when they see it on Instagram and Pinterest because we have these people who are incredibly gifted calligraphers putting together these pages and people think, ‘I can’t do that,’” he explained. “Just start with the basics and let it bloom from there. Is there a minimal and a lavish version of the bullet journal? Absolutely. And they’re both right.””

Read more at Why the Humble Notebook Is Flourishing in the iPhone Era.

Review: Papier Tigre Notebook

Papier Tigre is a super-cool French brand of office supplies, including recycled notebooks that I’d seen online but never encountered in person, so I was very excited when NoteMaker in Australia gave me the opportunity to review a free sample.

The notebook I received has a lovely composition book look to it, but with a twist. The spine is taped, but the cover has a large mottled color pattern, as if a traditional composition book had been magnified and colorized. The notebook is smaller and in slightly different proportions than a composition book, measuring 15x21cm.

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The front cover has a box where you could write your name or the subject of the notebook. The back cover has a gold-stamped Papier Tigre logo.

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Inside, you get 3 signatures of paper, each in a different shade– light yellow lined pages, grey lined pages, and lighter grey plain pages. The cover and inside pages are made of 100% recycled paper, and you can see the colored fibers in the paper.

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The sewn signatures are glued into the spine so the notebook doesn’t quite open flat.

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The paper is pleasant to write on– not as smooth as some, but it has a nice softness to it. Based on the feel, I expected there to be a lot of bleed-through but there wasn’t– very slight bleed with a couple of pens, but the Super Sharpie bled much less than usual. Show-through was better than average. The paper reminded me of the Leonardo notebook I reviewed several years ago.

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The notebook I received is available at NoteMaker for a little over $15 USD. Other designs and sizes are also available.

If you are thinking you can’t afford the shipping to order from an Australia-based online retailer, think again: right now NoteMaker is offering Free shipping for International orders (delivery outside Australia) for any purchase over AUD$199. And if you think that sounds like a high minimum order, think again– it’s only about $150 USD at current exchange rates as of this writing, and they have so much drool-worthy merchandise– notebooks, pens, pencils, office accessories, bags– you will have a hard time spending any less!

What I Am Using Now

A commenter on a recent post asked what notebooks I was using for my business and personal notes. The notebook I was referring to in that post was a pocket-sized squared Moleskine, one of my hoard of old ones from before their quality declined so much. That is my daily catch-all notebook for journal entries, lists and assorted jottings. I don’t always put a lot of work-related notes there– usually just the kinds of long term, big picture things that are causing me enough anxiety that I am thinking about them outside the office!

For my day-to-day work notes, I keep a larger size notebook on my office desk. I write to-do items on the front of the page, and meeting notes on the back of the page, mostly. This has been a pretty good system in terms of being able to find notes by the date when I wrote them. I supplement my list-keeping with an app (on my phone and web-based on my desktop) called TickTick, where I store longer-term notes and to-do items. The work notebooks tend to last me a while so over the last couple of years, I have only gone through 3: a Doane Paper notebook, a Grandluxe A4 size Earth Care Note Folder, and currently, I am using the Appointed notebook I reviewed here.

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I always like to use something with a wire-o binding, so I can fold the cover to the back neatly. And it is ideally letter-sized, so I can tuck other papers into it. The Appointed one is a bit small for that, but I like the paper and am enjoying using it. The smaller grid pattern makes me tend to write very small, as I also did in the Doane Paper notebook. I love the way this ends up looking– the pages are densely covered with print and doodles, so there’s a lot of texture in a way that I find satisfying. The Grandluxe notebook was lined in a wider rule, so it didn’t encourage the same kind of density.

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My other frequently used notebooks right now are a Moleskine sketchbook (again an old Modo e Modo one) for daily drawings, a pocket-sized landscape format watercolor notebook from Pentalic for occasional painting, and a Field Notes for jotting down words and assignments in my French class. I also have a HandBook Journal in progress with occasional sketches but I haven’t been using it very often. Here’s a few random recent pages from my Moleskine sketchbook and squared notebooks:

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I am about to finish my squared Moleskine, so I have to think about what to use next– I have a few other options that I have in a pile as possible daily drivers. Many are softcover and I am not sure if they’ll hold up as well. I do still love my old Moleskines, but I try to force myself to rotate in other brands, if only to extend the lifespan of my stash!

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Franz Marc’s Sketchbook from the Battlefield

If there’s one thing I love more than a notebook, it’s a facsimile notebook! I have been building up a small collection of books that reproduce artists’ notebooks or sketchbooks and they are among my favorite art books to flip through for inspiration.

I’ve already reviewed a few of them:

Lynda Barry’s Syllabus (buy here)

Diana Balmori Notebooks (buy here)

Brice Marden’s Notebooks (buy here)

Basquiat Notebooks (buy here)

My latest obsession is this gorgeous little volume, which I couldn’t resist buying when I came across it at the Rizzoli Bookstore in Manhattan:

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Franz Marc was a painter associated with the German Expressionist movement and the Blue Rider group. He fought on the Western Front in World War I, and made these drawings in a sketchbook during the year before he was killed. The drawings look like very fully worked-out studies for his paintings. A few of them have words or titles written in the margins, but they don’t feel sketchy or tentative at all– each one feels like a perfect little work unto itself, with nothing missing except the bright colors of Marc’s paintings. The book is beautifully produced– about 4.5 x 6.5″, fully cloth bound, with 36 drawings and a text at the back.  I love the way it captures the intimacy of a pocket sketchbook, and there is something very poignant about the idea of him having this sketchbook at hand and creating these beautiful works during horrific months at war.

I paid the cover price of $30 at Rizzoli, but as of this writing you can get it for more than half off at Amazon: Franz Marc Sketchbook from the Battlefield

Notebook Addict of the Week: Queen Katz

This week’s addict is another YouTuber called Queen Katz, this time with an all-Filofax collection: 18 of them!

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Watch the full thing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi8ewIG8mWo

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Japanese Stationery

If, like me, you are dying to go to Japan to explore its stationery stores, you will enjoy the vicarious journey provided by this article and its luscious photographs. Enjoy!

Source: Japan: Paradise for Stationery Lovers

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Review and Giveaway: Writersblok 2017 Planner

Writersblok is heading in some exciting new directions lately. I reviewed their most recent notebooks here. Now they’ve expanded the product line to include a planner for 2017. Let’s take a look!

From Kikkerland’s website:

“Keep all of your master plans safe and on schedule with this beautiful recycled leather Writersblok Planner. Back pages feature exclusive subway maps of New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, redesigned solely for Writersblok planner. Also includes gorgeous and useful reference sheets. Part of the proceeds from Writersblok goes to literacy programs such as 826NYC in New York City. 826NYC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.”

 

The exterior design is very similar to the notebooks– plain black cover, with an attractive removable wrapper with branding info.

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Inside, you get a nice assortment of planner layouts– annual, monthly and weekly, etc., so it should be adaptable to bullet journaling. The layouts are nice and clean, with attractive touches of color.

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In the back, you get some cool bonus material, including a nicely designed weights and measures conversion page.

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There are also a couple pages for key contacts– nowadays most of us keep contact info only in our phones. I’m guilty of that too but keep hearing horror stories of people who lose their phones and can’t remember any numbers when they are trying to meet up with someone, so writing these down is a good habit to get into.

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The transit maps are very cool, although the one for New York is overly optimistic about 2nd Avenue subway– only a small section of it is planned to open by the end of 2016 and the rest of the T line isn’t even funded. But it’s fun to fantasize about how great it will be someday! The other cities included are London, Tokyo, and Paris.

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There is also a world time zone map, but I spotted an error in its color coding– it seems like the key to the GMT offsets is off by an hour, at least based on the places whose timezones I am familiar with. NYC should be -5, not -4. London and the rest of England should be in the 0 zone, not the purple +1 zone. And France, Spain, Germany, etc should be +1. The lines and the numbers on the key are correct, it’s just the colors that are misleading, so the map is not unusable, just a bit misleading. (Kikkerland has said they’ll fix it in next year’s version.)

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A ribbon marker and back pocket complete the package. At 6×8.25″ to match the size of an iPad Mini, and with a lay-flat binding, this will work well both on the desktop or in your bag.

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You can buy the Writersblok planner at a 30% discount off of the regular $20.00 price with promo code NS16 via the ad link in the upper right corner of this site. Or you can try your luck in my giveaway for a free sample! I’ll select two winners from entries received in any of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Writersblok 2017 Planner @kikkerland @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @kikkerland

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Kikkerland page and post something containing the words “Writersblok 2017 Planner” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Kikkerland Writersblok 2017 Planner” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday August 26, 2015 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Note: Kikkerland provided me with these samples free of charge, and are an advertiser on this site, but all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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