Notebook Addict of the Week: Tina

This week’s addict is a blogger and urban sketcher who also hand-binds her own notebooks. Here’s some of her hand-bound books:

She’s also used a Rhodiarama notebook as a travel journal:

And I love this shot of her travel sketching kit!

You can read more on her blog about the handbound sketchbooks and how she used the Rhodia journal, and much more! Lots of great drawings and reviews of materials.

Thank you for sharing your addiction, Tina!

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil

I came across this book recently and fell in love with it for so many reasons. For one, the title is just brilliant. The art is brilliant. And then a few pages in, a bonus! The main character does a lot of drawings in notebooks. What’s not to love!?!

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The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil

Review: Pen & Ink Squared Notebook

I’ve reviewed and mentioned the Pen & Ink brand sketchbooks several times on this site (see here, here, here, and here.) They are the closest substitute for a Moleskine sketchbook with the heavy-weight card stock paper, and they’re affordable and well-made. But I’ve never reviewed their other notebooks with standard weight paper. Squared notebooks are my other favorite go-to for everyday use, so how does the Pen & Ink squared version hold up? Let’s take a look.


The exterior is what you’d expect– same cover that feels slightly thicker and almost padded. Not too much cover overhang. You get the standard back pocket and a ribbon marker. Pretty much the same size as a pocket Moleskine, but a little chunkier, and as with the sketchbook, it feels well-made and solid and just nice.


But when I opened the notebook for the first time and saw the pages, I was very disappointed. I think I physically recoiled at those glaringly dark lines! The paper itself is a bit brighter white than the creamy Moleskine paper, and the graph lines are very thick, so it is a really distracting combination. I like to use fine point pens and I’m not sure I could get used to the lines on the paper competing so much with my small handwriting in thin ink lines. Other than that, show-through and bleed-through are about average, and fountain pens work pretty well. I bought a second notebook like this some months later in hopes that I might have gotten one from a bad batch, but the dark lines were the same, so I guess it is deliberate and unlikely to change unless someone at Art Alternatives gets enough complaints! Rather than use this as an everyday notebook for lists and things, I may end up using it for collages or drawing and painting with bolder, opaque colors that can stand up to the dark lines.


Pen & Ink notebooks are available on Amazon, Blick, or at JetPens.

Rosa Bonheur Sketchbook

I love the random things I sometimes find from online archives, usually via Google alerts. This one is from the Getty Research Institute: Rosa Bonheur Sketchbook, 1847

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Read more about the artist: Rosa Bonheur Wikipedia entry

Jodi’s Finished Sketchbook

A tantalizing glimpse of a finished sketchbook:

“Just finished a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. Woo hoo! Nothing beats the feeling of the last mark of your pen on the final page. I know not long ago I said I’d finished another sketchbook but it’s not like I just whipped through a new one. I had actually been keeping two concurrently – a ‘good’ one and an ‘everyday’ one. The one just finished is the ‘good’ one.”
The “everyday” vs. “good” sketchbook idea is one I’ve been debating myself– for a while, I had one where I let myself play and doodle, and one where I only allowed myself to draw things I was actually looking at and trying to capture accurately. Now I’m back to one sketchbook that is a combination of both.

See more at Jodi’s blog: Jodi Wiley Sketchblog: Another sketchbook down.

Notebook Addict of the Week (Again): Shane

This week we have another repeat addict. Shane’s collection has grown since he was an addict of the week in February 2011. Here’s an update on his collection:

Found these Peanuts journals over time online. They were originally put out in the late 90’s when I purchased the Charlie Brown edition. These are so hard to find and the next journal I start will be the Pigpen (my favorite out of all of them) and I will plow through all of them in a row, even Peppermint Patty since the seller accidentally sent me that one and I had no idea they even put one out for her.

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I love me a superhero journal with a retro theme. Constantly searching for them.

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A few more Super-journals.

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Some Disney themed journals/notebooks. The Disney Store does an excellent job of putting out several journals throughout the year and they quickly go on clearance making room for new batches, and then I make my move!
The Charlie Brown shirt design is a favorite, simple and to the point. I have yet to experience writing in a Moleskine, but my Star Wars themed notebook is waiting its turn, and I wanted a plain red journal and Picadilly provided one at a great price at Barnes and Noble.

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I love that he collects so many journals within particular themes– that takes true dedication! Thanks for sharing your addiction again, Shane!

Grids and Guides Notebook

I stumbled across this in a bookshop and just loved it! Wish they would make a pocket sized version too!
Grids and Guides: A Notebook for Visual Thinkers


“Map out graphs, schematics, sketches, and dreams with this sleek and durable workbook. Inspired by vintage laboratory notebooks, Grids & Guides features 144 pages of graph paper (eight designs repeating throughout) interspersed with a multitude of scientific charts, tables, and infographics featuring everything from the periodic table to alternative alphabets to Newton’s Laws of Motion. This journal is the perfect tool for right-brainers and left-brainers alike.”

Review: Soundless Soliloquy Notebook


I bought this notebook from Soundless Solilquy’s shop on Etsy over a year ago. It just looked like a nice simple notebook with some attractive colors available, so I decided to give one a try. It’s a very cute and handy size that manages to be very pocketable, more substantial than a Moleskine Cahier or Field Notes, yet slimmer than a softcover Moleskine or most of the other pocket notebooks out there. Shown below with a hardcover pocket Moleskine for size comparison:


I picked a 3.5 x 5.5″ pocket notebook with a gray faux leather cover. It’s very understated and plain– no branding on the outside, and even inside, the logo is in a sort of textured clear gel (I’m sure there’s a name for this, but I don’t know what to call it!) so you might miss it if you’re not paying attention.


The corners are neatly rounded, and there is a black ribbon marker. The sewn binding opens nice and flat.


Inside, the paper is a cool bright white. It feels fine to write on, but show-through and bleed-through were a bit worse than average. The paper didn’t feel particularly special– it could have been regular office printer paper. If you’re used to Moleskine paper, Leuchtturm paper, Clairefontaine/Rhodia paper, or anything else a bit more upscale, you might find this paper a little underwhelming.


What I do love about this notebook is the size and feel of it, and that it seems very carefully made. I seem to remember paying $20 for it, but the price on Etsy now is $25– either way, it’s high for what it is, especially since the cover isn’t real leather. I do believe in paying a bit more to support small scale craftspeople, but in this case, I think something more like $12-15 might be reasonable. I don’t think I’ll buy another one, but I like this one enough that it will be in my “to be used someday” pile. It’s also worth mentioning that Soundless Soliloquy offers to work with you to make a customized perfect journal– if you could specify upgraded materials with this level of skilled and careful binding, that would be worth paying some extra money for!

Field Notes Unexposed… Exposed

The latest Field Notes limited edition was rather intriguing– an all-black sleeve hiding a surprise inside, of 3 randomly selected notebooks from among 6 designs.


If you want a spoiler that reveals what’s inside, you can find out here, or on various other blogs that have been letting the cat out of the bag. I had the same initial guess that they would somehow involve light-sensitive paper covers, which would have been cool… oh well!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Heath

This week’s addict is the blogger at Pen Paper Ink Letter.

Heath is another addict who uses many notebooks at once: 7 of them! Heath says “I get that seven notebooks sounds like a lot but each has its own purpose. I have flirted with moving to a few more but keep coming back to this strategy.” Note that he didn’t say he’d ever considered using a few less! Read the original post for descriptions of his strategy for using notebooks for different purposes.


Read more at Notebook Strategies | Pen Paper Ink LetterPen Paper Ink Letter.

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