Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work! Tour Notebook

Austin Kleon is at it again with a new book called Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered. And in the spirit of showing his work, he’s got some pictures of a notebook he kept during his book tour:

See more at Show Your Work! Tour Notebook.

Moleskine Monday: The New Yorker on Moleskine

The New Yorker has an article on their website about Moleskine’s history and new products: When Moleskine Went Digital. Much of it reads like it’s straight from a Moleskine press release, except for this key phrase towards the end: “Moleskine is very good at telling stories. The question is whether people are interested in hearing this new one.”

To accompany the article, they re-used some of these charming little notebook illustrations that I had spotted in the print magazine a few months ago:

Notebook Addict of the Week: June

This week’s addict is one of the kind readers who loves notebooks so much, she even enjoys sharing her extras and once sent me a couple of notebooks to review. She probably didn’t miss them, as she has 267 other notebooks waiting to be used… or at least that was how many she had back in February 2013 when she wrote this article on Slate: The Paper Chase: Confessions of a Stationery Addict. I thought I’d already made her an addict of the week but realized it was quite overdue!

The slideshow with the Slate article isn’t working right now, but I have some exclusive photos of June’s collection that are even better!

This is a pretty serious addiction:

photo 4

photo 3

June says:

“I keep my empty notebooks on these overcrowded shelves–most of them anyway–there are stacks all over the house, on other bookshelves, and in one of the Field Notes archival boxes that I felt like a sucker for buying but love anyway. I’ve had many of these books for years. They sit untouched and neglected, and then I suddenly feel compelled to use one. I love smooth Japanese and Korean paper, and while I’m unable to resist purchasing that kind of paper and attractive notebooks, the bulk of my writing is done in more commonplace composition books, cheap reporters notebooks, and of course pocket-sized books like Field Notes and Moleskine cahiers. I’ve made quite a few journals over the years (those are on still another shelf), but I can’t imagine ever using them.”

Thanks June, for sharing your addiction (and your notebooks)!

Iconic ‘Essay Book v. 2’

I love the look of these Korean notebooks– gorgeous colors and a cover design that looks kind of retro:



Available here: Iconic ‘Essay Book v. 2’ Notebook/Journal // Deep Blue | The Journal Shop.

Review and Giveaway: Notes and Dabbles

I was excited to discover this new brand, as I’m always looking for nice, basic notebooks with simple extra touches that differentiate them from the pack. I really liked the look of Notes & Dabbles’ cloth-covered notebooks as well as the leather-look hardcovers and softcovers, so I immediately wrote to the company to request samples. They very generously complied! Look at all the goodies:


My immediate favorites were the softcover notebooks. They are a really nice size that just fits nicely in the hand, and in the pocket. You can see below that they are noticeably smaller than a pocket hardcover Moleskine. Though all the notebooks I received are supposedly 90 x 140 mm, these softcovers are actually 87 x 137mm– I’m not complaining, though. The red and dark navy covers are pleasing shades, in a somewhat glossier cover material than other similar notebooks I’ve tried. The covers have an extra layer of reinforcement that stiffens them a bit and hopefully would prevent corners from curling with prolonged use. The brand is stamped on the back cover. Inside the front cover there are lines for contact info. Inside the back cover, there is an expanding pocket, with an extra little slot where you can tuck a business card. There is an elastic closure but no ribbon marker. The last few pages are perforated. The notebook opens nice and flat.


The paper is very similar to what you’ll find in a Moleskine– nice and smooth and a pleasure to write on with fine point gel ink pens. Unfortunately it is a bit worse than average in terms of show-through and bleed-through, and fountain pens seem to feather out a bit.


Given the somewhat too-light paper, this would not be something I’d want to use for heavy-duty journal writing or as a sketchbook, but it would be a great daily jotter to throw in a bag or jacket pocket. I really love the size and feel of this notebook, and couldn’t tear myself away from the sample as soon as I’d unpacked it!

The cloth-covered notebooks have true 90 x 140mm sizing on the outside, though there is a bit of cover overhang so the book block within is about the same size as the softcover notebook. I love clothbound covers on notebooks like the HandBook Artist Journals, and wish they were used more. I also love colored page edges. The black covers with yellow and orange edges are a bit bright but fun. The grey is nice, but I’d prefer it with a different contrasting color than blue. My only disappointment with these was the construction– the spines are very loose, as if the cover was sized to have a thicker book block inside it. The extra material tends to bulge out unevenly and it just looks a bit sloppy. These also have the back pocket with the business card slot, and a nice bonus feature: two ribbon markers, in colors matching the rest of the notebook.


The pen-loop notebooks were my least favorite of the batch– for one, I personally never use pen loops and I generally don’t like the way they throw off the clean edges of a notebook. But it did seem like a clever concept to put the loop on the spine instead of the edge where the notebook opens– since it’s elastic, it sits pretty flat against the spine and is a lot less obtrusive when you’re not using it. The construction of this notebook is rather unusual (though not unique, as the Fabio Ricci “Goran” notebook seems to be almost identical). The hard leather-look front and back cover each end in a line of stitching near the spine, and the spine is made of cloth in a contrasting color, with the black elastic pen loop on top. I don’t love the white with blue or pink color combos, though there are more attractive black and grey versions also available.


All these notebooks are available in plain, lined and dotted page versions, and also in larger sizes. Notes and Dabbles doesn’t seem to have US distribution yet, but keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates about retail availability. And in the meantime, I’ve got lots of samples to share with some lucky readers!

I will send two notebooks each to 5 lucky winners from entries received in the following ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Notes & Dabbles” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories .

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Notes & Dabbles page, and post something containing the words “Notes & Dabbles” on the Notebook Stories wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Notes & Dabbles” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday May 2, 2014 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.

A 15th Century Sketchbook

Interesting– you don’t usually hear the term “sketchbook” applied to things this old. I think back then paper was a more valuable commodity and wasn’t used as much for practicing and doodling, as some of these pages seem to have been. Or else those rough pages just didn’t survive, and were perhaps erased and re-used. This manuscript, which belonged to a German monk named Stephan Schriber, is a mix of illuminated manuscript pages in progress and other pages that just seem to be notes and practice sketches.



See more at The Illuminated Sketchbook of Stephan Schriber (1494) | The Public Domain Review.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Edmo Cabral

This week’s addict was found on Flickr. The collection is impressive, and I love the way he’s taken the photograph! Asked by a commenter what he uses all the notebooks for, Edmo says “I just put notes in all of them.”

See original at 006/365 – I.

Papelaria Pastry Notebooks

Cute notebooks that look like pastries!

See more at The Terrier and Lobster: Papelaria Pastry Notebooks.

French Factory Worker’s Notebook

Isn’t this a lovely old notebook? Seems to be phone numbers and assorted jottings kept by a guard named Andre who worked at a now-defunct Renault factory, from what I was able to translate of the website where I found it.

“Prenez un bleu et suivez moi à travers le carnet de André. Lui était gardien, donc pas de problème pour rentrer. Ce petit carnet qui a du être dans la poche depuis le début de son poste ou au début pour retenir ce qui devrait être des numéros de téléphone pour joindre les quatre coins du Trapèze.”

carnet andré

Read more (in French) at A quelques pas de l’usine: valise_11.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Emmanuel

This week’s addict has a habit of filling Moleskine and Rhodia notebooks. Look at these nice stacks!

The Moleskine stack is pretty impressive given that he says he remembers first holding a Moleskine in his hands in January 2012. The Rhodias are from 2003-2006. Emmanuel says he wrote the first book in French about the “Quantified Self” philosophy, which involves keeping track of a lot of personal data– that’s what filled up all those Rhodias!

But I liked his thoughts below:

J’aime ce travail d’écriture, mi manuel mi intellectuel, quand la pensée se met peu à peu en formes, quand les idées s’inscrivent dans la matière par le contact physique entre la main, le stylo, le feuille… Et puis de temps en temps ça repose des écrans !

I translate it roughly as “I love the work of writing, half manual, half intellectual, when thought little by little takes form, when ideas are inscribed materially by the physical contact between the hand, the pen, the page… and then from time to time this rest from screens!”

Read more (in French) at Les tours de carnets, après Rhodia vint Moleskine.

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