Notebook Addict of the Week: Mike

Mike wrote to say “Hey love your site. Was cleaning up my studio and found some of my old sketchbooks. Thought you might like the pics. Can see ’em better here:


Mike is definitely a sketching and sketchbook addict! I love the variety of styles and subject matter.

There are Moleskines, spiral bound, plain pages, gridded pages, colored pages, and lots of different drawing materials used. I loved the way all the images looked in the thumbnails.

Check out all the details in the larger images on Flickr. I wish we could see how tall that stack of sketchbooks is!

Thanks for sharing your addiction, and your artwork, Mike!





New Homes

… for me and my notebooks! I’ve been posting a little less frequently lately because I’ve been very busy preparing for a move to a new home. My notebooks, of course, are all coming with me, and I’ve been trying to organize them better in the process. For years, I’ve stored them all in shoeboxes, some of which were starting to break down a bit, so I decided to try using larger under-bed plastic boxes. Here’s one of them:

I also got a larger wheeled box for bigger sketchbooks. I’m not sure I’ll stick with this approach– for one thing, all these plastic boxes have angled sides, so they aren’t as efficient as I’d like for storing notebooks. A larger box like this also gets really heavy when it’s stuffed with notebooks! I am always saving shoeboxes so I may end up transferring some notebooks back into newer, sturdier ones, we’ll see… My old apartment had more closet shelves where I could store all my boxes of notebooks, but in my new space, I have to spread them around a bit more– some in a cabinet, some on a shelf, and some under the bed.

Where do you store your notebooks?

Sketchbooks from Paris Breakfasts

A delightful post about sketchbooks by Carol Gillott, featuring her own watercolor sketches, handmade sketchbooks, and some photos of sketchbooks done by famous artists. Below are Carol’s:

“Any artist worth their salt earns their bones filling a gazillion sketchbooks with doodles”
“I made these when I was in my bookbinding phase.”

Read more (and more great images) at paris breakfasts: My Sketchbooks.

Moleskine Monday: Paper Meets Digital

The latest news about Moleskine is all about their attempts to bridge the gap between old-fashioned paper notes and digital devices and storage.

What’s getting the most press is their new partnership with Evernote. They have made special notebooks containing paper with markings that are supposed to “ensure a clean image when digitally capturing your notebook.” Stickers that automatically tag the page to Evernote categories are also included. It’s sort of along the lines of the Livescribe journal, but you still have to take a photo of every page you want to upload to Evernote, as opposed to Livescribe’s method of connecting a pen to your computer to download what you’ve written.

For more details, read their announcement of the Evernote partnership.

Moleskine also announced a new version of their app for iOS, this time featuring a digital version of the “inner pocket,” where you can store image clippings.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Danni

This week’s addict is Danni, who goes by @KenouniRenashin on Twitter. She sent me a link to this fantastic post exploring her notebook collection:

So. Anyone who knows me will know that I adore stationery, specifically notebooks. I think I have, not including all the ones that I’ve filled up, about 90…

Photo Number: 1.
Number of Notebooks in Photo: 14 notebooks.
Comments: These are most / all of my Paperchase notebooks. As you might be able to tell, they’re all A5, except those three in the top right; they’re A6, except that owl one is slightly larger than A6 but not big enough to be A5. Yes, that one covered in pictures of Gerard Way is a Paperchase notebook. It’s one of their A5 10 Subject ones. I was attracted to the thickness of the thing. And then I covered it in pictures. I think I did a fairly good job – I think it looks good. That one with food all over it took me a couple of months to get; I saw it, couldn’t afford it at the time and by the time I had money, they’d run out. I had to keep checking back and it took me a month or so to get a hold of the thing. Finally, that one in the top left – the circuit board one? That’s currently being used; notebook number 20 in my notebook a month project.


There are 7 photos in total with comments about all the different notebooks– you can read more at Four Words Four Worlds.  Great collection! Thanks for sharing your addiction, Danni!

Radioactive Notebooks

Yikes, I didn’t know this:

[Marie Curie’s] laboratory and the artifacts found within, including her numerous research notebooks, are still so radioactive as to require special storage and protective equipment to handle.

via Which Scientist’s Notebooks Are Still Too Radioactive To Handle? – How-To Geek.

“In Praise of Notebooks”

We can all relate…

I popped into Paper Tiger. I had an excuse. An upcoming birthday requiring a card. But most of the time I was in there my eyes kept drifting off towards the notebooks.

I have, I should say up front, a bit of a thing about notebooks. Lined, gridded, hardbacked, softcovered, any kind really. I’m drawn to them all. Paper Tiger is relatively safe for an addict like me. Most of its stock tends towards the quirky, or even fey. So I can keep my desire under control. As long as I stay away from the Moleskine stand.

What’s terrible is I am useless with notebooks. I fill them full of my crabby, ugly writing that often – always; who am I kidding? –descends into illegibility….

— Teddy Jamieson, Senior Features Writer at the Herald Scotland

Read more at In praise of – notebooks. | Herald Scotland.

Review & Giveaway: Palomino Blackwing Sketchbook

The nice folks at sent me the samples below. In 2010, they relaunched the popular Blackwing pencil, and in late 2011, they followed it up with a selection of notebooks paying homage to the pencil. I was excited to see that they partnered with the Turkish company behind the Fabio Ricci brand of notebooks to make these. (See here for a review of the notebooks I bought in Istanbul, including one by Fabio Ricci.)

The notebooks I received are from their Palomino Blackwing Artist Series and the Forest Choice series. Here, I’ll take a closer look at the Palomino Blackwing Artist sketchbook.

This is a 5 x 8 1/4″ sketchbook, same size as a large Moleskine. The outside cover has a smooth matte finish, with an illustration of a happy pencil by the artist MJ Bivouac. As is typical with most notebooks, there’s a removable paper band, an elastic closure, branding info on the lower back cover, and an inside pocket. Inside the front cover, there are lines for you to write your contact info and a date.

The sketchbook opens nice and flat despite a binding that seems a bit stiff at first. The pocket in the back is all paper, without any cloth reinforcement, so it might tear more easily than some.


The bright white paper inside has a somewhat hard, smooth feel. It works really nicely with fine point gel ink pens, no scratchiness at all. It’s also good with soft pencil. (I didn’t have a Blackwing pencil to test it with, unfortunately!) The only drawback I found was that a few inks almost seemed to bead up on the surface of the paper, and my brush pens went on with a greyish tone rather than a deep black. The paper performs really well on show-through and bleed-through.



Overall, I’d say this is a pretty solid sketchbook even if it’s not a game-changer in any way. At $19.95, these are a bit more expensive than a Moleskine, for slightly fewer pages (96, vs. the 104 in a Moleskine sketchbook) but I think many people will be willing to pay the extra dollar for something a bit different with this quality of paper.


You can learn more about Palomino’s other products here, and purchase these (and other) notebooks at And you can also take a shot at winning the beige and green Forest Choice notebook pictured above:

I’ll select a random winner from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “@pencilscom” and “@NotebookStories, and follow “@pencilscom” and “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page  and the page, and post something containing the words “Palomino Blackwing” on my wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Palomino Blackwing” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this blog.

The deadline for entry is Friday August 24 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.


Moleskine Monday: Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena on His Notebooks

Jean-Claude Ellena, a perfume maker, talks about how he uses a Moleskine notebook:

“My tools are test blotters, a pencil, a block of paper and, for a number of years now, a notebook. It was as I approached forty that I started making notes on accords, ideas for perfumes, writing down thoughts, copying out quotations, at first on loose sheets of paper that piled up until I arranged them alphabetically in files of various sizes. Then there was the Moleskine notebook. I like the size and shape of it because I can slip it into my pocket, like a wallet. I appreciate the elastic strap that keeps it closed, and means it can hold notes jotted quickly on to loose pages.”

Some of those notes will surely have made it into his book, The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur. (Available now in the UK, January 2013 in the US.)

Read more at AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You – Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena on the Moleskine Notebook | AnOther.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Ellie

This week’s addict came to me via Facebook with this photo and tale of her notebook addiction:

I am not kidding in the slightest when I say it broke my drawer.
I’m ashamed to say that most of them are empty or only have a page or two of writing (although there are a few where every page is completely covered with drawings). I’m the worst kind of addict in that I can’t bear to ruin my books by actually using them, and yet continue to add more and more to the collection…

Another fantastic, colorful collection! I love how the wire-o bound ones are carefully stacked with the rings on alternating sides. And Papelera Palermo of Buenos Aires is definitely on my need-to-visit list now! Thanks for sharing your addiction, Ellie!

You can see the original image in a larger size on Flickr.