Notebook Addict of the Week: Someone on Twitter?!?!

The image below was submitted as an addict of the week candidate a while ago, and I’ve somehow lost track of who sent it! But it looks like a lovely collection.

My apologies for losing track of who this came from– if these are your notebooks, please let me know so I can give proper credit where it’s due! And thanks again for sharing your addiction!

Call for Entries: Moleskine Grand Central Terminal Sketchbook

Act fast, the deadline for this is approaching fast!

Grand Central Terminal, one of New York City’s most beloved monuments, will celebrate its centennial in 2013. A year-long series of events and projects — from art commissions and exhibitions to presentations and performances — is in the works.

The Architectural League, at the invitation of and in partnership with the New York Transit Museum, will help create a sketchbook to be published by Moleskine. This sketchbook will feature historic material from the Transit Museum’s archives, along with up to 20 drawings and sketches by contemporary architects and designers selected by a distinguished jury.

The League and the Transit Museum invite you to submit a sketch or drawing that captures and/or re-imagines Grand Central, representing or evoking what this iconic building means to you. Submissions will be reviewed by a jury of architects, representatives of the Architectural League and the New York Transit Museum, and representatives of the Grand Central Centennial Committee. Winning entrants will be awarded $250 for the use of their drawing.

The special edition Moleskine sketchbook, featuring the winning entries and historical material, will be on sale at the Transit Museum Stores and at other book and gift stores in November 2012.

Deadline: Submissions must be received at the offices of the Architectural League of New York no later than 12 noon on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

More details here: Urban Omnibus » Call for Entries: The Moleskine Grand Central Terminal Sketchbook.

Small Sketchbook Paintings

Beautiful little gems in a sketchbook, which could be a HandBook Artist Journal (not sure):

Lots more great images at Design You Trust and Illusion.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Arif

Arif wrote to me from Turkey, where he has amassed this collection of notebooks:


Quite a wide variety, and I love how beat up some of those spiral notebooks look!

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Arif!

How Did Your Notebook Collection Start?

A reader named Marjorie wrote to ask how my notebook collection started. It’s hard for me to remember exactly, because I’ve loved notebooks since before I can even remember!

My parents have said that when I was about 3, I was already folding pieces of paper in to little booklets to scribble on. A few years later, I was given one of those free calendar booklets that Hallmark stores or drugstores used to sometimes give away. I remember having a few of these– with at least one of them, I cut it down from a squarish shape into a more pleasing rectangle, so that would have been my first attempt at notebook alteration. These earliest notebooks I’ve just described are almost the only ones I don’t still have today.

By the time I was about 8, I started sometimes using my 25 cents a week allowance to buy a 3 x5″ spiral notebook. I think one of the first ones was the green memo book you can see in the center of the top row of notebooks in the header photo of this blog. My obsession with these caught the eye of my aunt, who started giving me the diaries she got for free each year as a member of the Harvard Coop– you can see 4 of them at top left in the header, but I have even more than that. These were the first notebooks I truly adored and I carried one with me everywhere. When it was obvious how much I loved the first one, my aunt dug around in her drawers to find older ones she’d never used and gave me those too. The way the notebooks were made changed slightly over the years, and I remember comparing them closely– whether the plastic cover was glued onto the pages, or whether they slid into a detachable cover, whether the texture of the cover was smooth or leather-like, etc. After those notebooks, I still bought lots of spiral notebooks and other styles, but I think they instilled a long-lasting affection for the “little black book” form that was later reawakened by Moleskines and other similar notebooks.

I never got rid of any of my early notebooks– I just started stashing them in my desk or in shoeboxes and the collection kept growing. Many were stored at my parents’ house when I left for college, and many more continued to accumulate. In 7th grade, I had a notebook I really liked that was lost or stolen, and I’ve never forgotten it, because I don’t think I’ve ever lost another one, and because I was never able to find a replacement just like it. So the collection I have now is truly a lifetime of notebooks.

How about you, readers? Tell us how your collection started!

Letterpress Notepads

Spotted these a while back at DesignSponge– there are so many great letterpress stationery items lately!


See more at letterpress notebook collection from paper lovely | DesignSponge.

Moleskine Monday: Blogging on Paper

I love this idea– writing and drawing a blog in a notebook and then scanning the pages into an online blog. I’ll have to try it sometime!



Takashi Betsui’s day job at an ad agency in Tokyo is decidedly digital, but his blogging life is much more analog than you’d expect. In fact, he handles all of his information with the same tools he has for years; moleskine notebooks and a collection of over two hundred different pens and pencils.

Typical online blogs do travel, food, culture, etc with a mix of words and images, but good images are really what makes a blog work. We’ve always run into that ourselves, as even a seemingly boring post can go crazy with the right picture. All of Takashi’s images on his blog Sync Ideas are drawn by him, as the site is really more a collection of scans from his notebooks.

Read more at Moleskine Blogger Puts Analog Posts Online.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Ana

This week’s addict emailed me from the Philippines to share her notebook addiction:


i have a few collection and only 5 of this are currently in use… i am mostly using my notebooks as scrapbook/travel journal or art/junk journal of anything that i want to keep…

attached is a photo of my notebooks, (i have moleskines, schutzen, handmade leather journals, regular steno notebooks, some that looks like moleskine volant and other notebooks i got as gifts)… also attached is a photo of a page i did in my leather journal…

Thanks for sharing your art and your notebook collection, Ana!

The Discovery of Streptomycin Recorded in Lab Notebooks

The notebook below helped solve a decades-old scientific mystery: who deserved credit for discovering the antibiotic streptomycin?

For as long as archivists at Rutgers University could remember, a small cardboard box marked with the letter W in black ink had sat unopened in a dusty corner of the special collections of the Alexander Library. Next to it were 60 sturdy archive boxes of papers, a legacy of the university’s most famous scientist: Selman A. Waksman, who won a Nobel Prize in 1952 for the discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic to cure tuberculosis.

The 60 boxes contained details of how streptomycin was found — and also of the murky story behind it, a vicious legal battle between Dr. Waksman and his graduate student Albert Schatz over who deserved credit.

Dr. Waksman died in 1973; after Dr. Schatz’s death in 2005, the papers were much in demand by researchers trying to piece together what really happened between the professor and his student. But nobody looked in the small cardboard box…

To make a long story short, back in the 1940’s, Dr. Schatz had isolated the antibiotic. Dr. Waksman arranged for further testing that showed it to be effective. The discovery was big news, and Dr. Waksman started taking all the credit for it. He also started reaping the financial benefits, so Dr. Schatz sued for his share. When the lawsuit went to court, Waksman accused Schatz of tampering with his lab notebooks, which later went missing:

But Dr. Waksman’s damaging allegation was now on the record. When the professor’s papers were transferred to the archives, his own sand-colored, clothbound 5-by-8-inch notebooks, which covered the period of the streptomycin discovery, were included in the 60 boxes. But Dr. Schatz’s notebooks were not there….

In 2010, the author Peter Pringle was working with archivists at Rutgers while researching his book Experiment Eleven: Dark Secrets Behind the Discovery of a Wonder Drug, and they finally found the missing notebooks:

When she pulled down the box and carefully opened it, however, there, loosely piled inside, were five clothbound notebooks — just like Dr. Waksman’s, but marked “Albert Schatz.”

In the notebook for 1943, on Page 32, Dr. Schatz had started Experiment 11. In meticulous cursive, he had written the date, Aug. 23, and the title, “Exp. 11 Antagonistic Actinomycetes,” a reference to the strange threadlike microbes found in the soil that produce antibiotics. Underneath the title he recorded where he had found the microbes in “leaf compost, straw compost and stable manure” on the Rutgers College farm, outside his laboratory.

The following pages detailed his experiments and his discovery of two strains of a gray-green actinomycete named Streptomyces griseus, Latin for gray. Each strain produced an antibiotic that destroyed germs of E. coli in a petri dish — and, he was to find out later, also destroyed the TB germ. The notebook shows that the moment of discovery belongs to Dr. Schatz.

Yet another example of the value of keeping careful notes! Read more at Notebooks Shed Light on Antibiotic’s Contested Discovery –

Review: Rebel Arts Notebook

Here’s a neat little notebook that I picked up at the DIA Beacon shop, which was an interesting place to look for notebooks, as some of them seemed to be shelved in amongst all the art books, according to whatever artist made them.

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In this case, the artist is Shepard Fairey, who is best known for his iconic Barack Obama poster. Oddly enough, Fairey’s name appears nowhere on the notebook– if I hadn’t seen it described on other museum store websites when I did a search for more info, I would never have know he designed the cover image.

The notebook has a small, pleasingly chunky shape to it. It’s a tiny bit shorter than a pocket size Moleskine, but quite a bit thicker. Unfortunately, there is more cover overhang, so the pages inside are smaller. The corners of the notebook are quite sharp and square, not rounded off at all. The binding doesn’t allow the notebook to lie totally flat.

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I love the clothbound cover and the image on the front, which seems to be printed into the cloth itself rather than glued or stamped on. The endpapers are also very cool. There is no other branding on the notebook. It’s also quite stripped down in terms of not having a ribbon marker, elastic closure, or back pocket.
The paper inside is a bit rougher than most, with almost a lined texture to it. I thought it might feel a bit scratchy with some of my fine point pens, but it didn’t– all my pens wrote nicely on the paper, though there was some feathering and bleed-through with a few, and I would say show-through was worse than average.

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The $12.95 retail price seems right in line with other notebooks of this quality, though some people might think it should include the usual ribbon, elastic, and pocket. Black and green versions are also available. I’ve seen them for sale at McNally Jackson bookstore in NYC, and various museum stores also seem to carry them.