Notebook Addict of the Week: Paul J.

This week’s addict emailed me some photos of his notebook collection. Paul says

“I really enjoy your site.  I’ve attached some photos of my collection, and it’s obvious that I have a problem/obsession with notebooks.

I’ve kept a journal since 1992 during a trip to Europe with friends after college.  The obsession exploded from there.”

This is quite a large collection, and I love how it’s been sorted here into notebooks at various stages of use. I was wondering if all the “started” notebooks had been abandoned, or if they could also be considered “in progress.”
Blank/not started yet:

Notebooks in progress:

Paperback Notes blanks:


Completed notebooks:

Notebooks that have been started:

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Paul!

Lisa Congdon Notebooks for MoMA

Artist/illustrator Lisa Congdon has a new line of notebooks commissioned by MoMA, featuring her drawings of objects from their design collection:


See more at New Notebooks for MoMA! – Today is going to be awesome..

A Notebook is “A Junkyard of the Mind”

A great article by novelist Lawrence Norfolk:

“A writer’s notebook is a junkyard; a junkyard of the mind. In this repository of failed attempts, different inks speak of widely-spaced times and places, the diverse scrawls of varying levels of calligraphic awkwardness, lack of firm writing-surfaces, different modes of transportation. “

Here’s a photo of one of his own notebooks:


Read more at BBC News – Writers’ notebooks: ‘A junkyard of the mind’.

From Readers

Paul sent photos of this fascinating eBay find: a one-month diary from 1887. I’ve never seen this kind of promotional diary covering only one month!

paul jan 1887 notebook 1

paul jan 1887 notebook 2


Anastasija from Macedonia invites you to visit her Etsy shop called Eleusa, where she sells handmade journals and other items:

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Marush from Guatemala has a line of notebooks featuring Guatemalan textile designs. See her website or Facebook for more info.


Emma shares her Tumblr site called Snippets, where she posted images from her travel journal while living in Serbia:


And David shares this appearance of a notebook in an ad for We Heart It, an anti-bullying social networking site for teens:



Notebook Addict of the Week: Tatiyana

This week’s addict emailed me lots of great photos and thoughts about her notebook obsession. I very much identified with what she says about enjoying the act of writing itself sometimes regardless of what words are being written!

Tatiyana says:

“I have always enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. Back when I was in middle school I never really wrote about my feelings, but I would fill notebook upon notebooks of quotes that I found on the internet. Then when I got into high school I started writing more and more about personal things. Now and days I usually incorporate doodles and colored pens into my writings. Just a couple days ago I bought some scrapbooking materials to really make my journals pop.
I love my handwriting A LOT, but I enjoy the act of writing way more. It’s just something so therapeutic about it. A lot of times I have wayyyy too much on my mind to spill onto paper, or I don’t have hardly a thing to say .. so my personal writings are far in few. Even when I have nothing to say, I am still in the mood to write so I will write anything from song lyrics, to quotes, to passages from books, to the words or sounds I hear around me to the same word over and over. Something about writing just helps to clear my mind, and it doesn’t matter so much as to what I write, it’s just as long as I am writing it helps me to feel better.
I have always had this weird sort of obsession with school supplies, such as pens, paper and notebooks. Even when I was little I would beg my mom to buy me these things instead of toys. LOL.
The other day while I was at work I came across this website (because I was trying to google if I was the only person with this weird addiction), and to my surprise I was not! I thought I had a lot of notebooks until I saw these notebook addicts of the week. I really need to step it up, BIG TIME! lol.
and I never really knew anything about certain brands of notebooks until I saw this website, I usually just get my notebooks from regular stores such as walmart and target and I pick which one to buy based on the type of paper inside.
I have come to really hate spiral notebooks (despite the fact that the majority of my collection is compiled of spirals). I love college rule, will not write one word on a wide ruled piece of paper. And just recently I have been wanting more blank page notebooks. I just got my first one the other day.

In the picture you can see that I just bought an organizer for my writing habits. The top drawer is filled with pens and markers. The second drawer filled with supplies such as different types of papers, magazines, scissors, washi tape, glue and other creative things. the third drawer has my two REAL journals. The pink one I have had since my freshman year of college (18 years old) [I am now 21]. In the pink one I write my most personal feelings and memories. The black I just bought a few days ago , the blank paged one .. I plan to use this as a more creative journal. I won’t restrict myself as to what goes into this one (I think that’s why most of my books are unfinished because I made such strict standards for them). The black one will be filled with anything I feel like writing. If I can’t think of anything, I will use a list of journal prompts that I have. I am going to try to write something everyday, even if it’s not a lot. In the pictures I share my first 3 pages that I have created thus far in my black book. The last drawer contains all of my other notebooks that I do not use quite as often. A few are completely filled, a few are only halfway filled and some are completely empty. And in my backpack that I take to work there are 4 more notebooks. (the small pink spiral .. my planner ; the blue and gray clipboard notepad .. for work notes ; the wreck this journal .. for when I feel creative at work ; and the slim patterned one .. my “lists notebook”. In my purse is the tiny tiny purple sparkle spiral for things such as grocery lists, or things not to forget.”

Here’s all the photos. Click through to Flickr to see bigger versions.

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Thanks for sharing your addiction, Tatiyana!

Doctor Who Journals

If you love Doctor Who, these will be right up your alley! My favorite is the one with the blue Tardis door on the cover.


Buy at ThinkGeek :: Doctor Who Mini Journal Set (SDCC Exclusive).

Review and Giveaway: Leuchtturm Notebooks… and Sketchbook!

I’ve reviewed and mentioned Leuchtturm notebooks many times– over the last few years, they’ve been popping up in more and more stores and are probably Moleskine‘s closest competitor. I’m sure that is in part due to marketing efforts on the part of their distributor, Kikkerland, who were kind enough to send me the samples you’ll see below!


Their success is also attributable to their offering a product with some key distinctions from Moleskine– numbered pages, index pages at the beginning, and a reputation for fountain-pen-friendliness. But there was one area where Moleskine always had them beat: the sketchbook. Moleskine’s heavyweight card-stock sketchbook paper has become a favorite of many artists for good reason– though the texture and color of the paper aren’t for everyone, there is almost no alternative on the market if you want a small pocket sketchbook with smooth, heavyweight paper. There are other brands that have a similar form factor, but with lighter paper, or rougher paper. There are tons of sketchbooks for artists that offer a wide variety of sketch papers in bulkier, larger formats, or with a spiral binding. But if you wanted a hardcover, heavyweight paper, elastic-closure sketchbook that was truly pocketable, there weren’t too many options. But now there is an exciting new one!


Leuchtturm has introduced a sketchbook with 180 gsm paper. It has the standard format with a black hardcover, elastic closure, ribbon marker and back pocket, but inside you get this lovely, thick, bright white sketch paper. It is not as smooth as Moleskine’s sketchbook paper, but it still feels good with fine rollerball pens– not scratchy or rough. All other pens work well on it too, as well as pencils, and even watercolor. Though Leuchtturm doesn’t make any claims about wet media, I found that it held up to watercolor, without much buckling or deterioration of the paper. There is almost NO show-through or bleed-through, except from the Super Sharpie, and the Accu-Liner when it was held in one spot for 5 seconds. One interesting pen test result was that the white Uniball gel ink, which is often almost invisible, stood out and looked yellowish on this cool white paper. And certain pens that can sometimes look a bit greyish looked dark black on this paper. It opens nice and flat if you want to work across a double page spread.


This is probably the best sketchbook paper I’ve tried outside of Stillman & Birn’s product line. In fact, when I reviewed their sketchbooks, I wrote about wishing that they had a size smaller than 4×6″, to match all my other pocket notebooks from Moleskine, Piccadilly and similar brands. This Leuchtturm sketchbook comes sooooo close– but it is 9 x 15 cm, rather than the 9 x 14 cm size I prefer. (Shown below with a pocket Moleskine sketchbook for comparison.) Other than that, I think it’s a fantastic sketchbook that really fills a hole in the market. They also offer it in Orange, Taupe, and white, and in their Master and Large sizes.



I also took a look at the orange graph paper notebook they sent me. When Leuchtturm first came on the scene, they always seemed to have better quality control than Moleskine has in recent years. Now that they are presumably gaining in popularity and getting broader distribution, I wondered if they might also start to stumble in quality as they produce more units. I don’t remember if Leuchtturm ever claimed to be manufactured anywhere other than Asia– this notebook says it is made in Taiwan. One indicator of quality I always look for is the corners of a hardcover notebook. On this orange one, they are not turned very precisely, so you end up with a sort of choppy, angled-off corner, instead of a tidy, fully rounded one. In the previous Leuchtturm I reviewed, the corners were much neater. This one also seemed to have a lot of glue on the spine– this might strengthen it, but it also makes it a bit stiffer and harder to open fully flat. The paper is still nice and smooth and feels good to write on, but it’s no better than Moleskine’s in terms of show-through and bleed-through. It does seem to work well with fountain pens, though my Lamy seemed to be running out of ink as I did the test, and was skipping a bit. (I later remembered how to refill it, and retested it with good results on a different page.) Most of Leuchtturm’s notebooks say they have “ink-proof” paper, but the weight differs among their various products. The Pocket and Large size notebooks have 80 gsm paper. The Master size notebooks have 100 gsm paper. The Mini size and some of their other products don’t specify a paper weight on their website.


Other pros and cons: I LOVE the fine, thin lines of the graph paper– the grid is the perfect weight and size, unlike some other squared notebooks where the lines are distractingly dark or too close together.  But I would prefer the grid went all the way to the top and bottom instead of having margins for the page numbers and spaces to write a date. I like that they include stickers for labeling the notebook, even though I doubt I’d ever use them myself. I like it that they sell stick-on pen loops so you can decide for yourself whether you need that feature. I like the various size and color options offered by Leuchtturm, especially the charcoal-grey cloth-covered ones. Their cover overhang isn’t too bad. And they do generally feel solid and well-made. I’ve never noticed the sloppy corners until the orange and neon yellow samples I received, so I’m hoping it’s an anomaly and not evidence of a trend! I really do wish the pocket size notebooks weren’t 9 x 15 cm, or I’m sure I’d use them a lot. But I know that won’t stop a lot of other people!

And just to briefly mention the other samples: I’m not a huge fan of neon colors, but I like the mid-size notebook. The cover has a dot pattern all over it. And I love the “Master Slim” notebook in grey. I like to use big notebooks like this at work, so I might look for a dotted or squared one to try. It would be nice if they also had a softcover option in this size.

Now for today’s giveaway! I’ll be picking two winners, each of whom will receive one notebook and one pen loop. I’ll randomly select the winners from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Leuchtturm @LT1917NYC” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @LT1917NYC.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the word “Leuchtturm” on the Notebook Stories wall.

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

The deadline for entry is Friday May 23, 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. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

A Notebook Full of Colors

This is so cool… an artist hand-wrote and painted this book in an attempt to document every color in the world:


“In 1692 an artist known only as “A. Boogert” sat down to write a book in Dutch about mixing watercolors. Not only would he begin the book with a bit about the use of color in painting, but would go on to explain how to create certain hues and change the tone by adding one, two, or three parts of water. The premise sounds simple enough, but the final product is almost unfathomable in its detail and scope.

Spanning nearly 800 completely handwritten (and painted) pages, Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau, was probably the most comprehensive guide to paint and color of its time. According to Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel who translated part of the introduction, the color book was intended as an educational guide. The irony being there was only a single copy that was probably seen by very few eyes.”



See lots more images at 271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800-Page Book | Colossal.

And thanks to the readers who sent in tips about this, even if I’d already seen it!!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Lee Ann Spillane

This week’s addict is another one found via the excellent Sharing Our Notebooks blog. Lee Ann Spillane is a teacher who has been keeping notebooks since she was very young. She says:

“I love to learn and think and draw and write. As I child I wanted to remember things. I used to sit on the floor of our living room flipping through photo albums: remembering. Later, I wrote stories about the images I remembered in my diaries and journals.  I’ve kept journals—or idea books or a writer’s notebook—since I was young.  I don’t have them all, thankfully as they are getting to be something of a storage issue.”

From the photo below, it looks like she’s doing a good job with storage so far, but I can see that she might start running out of room!


Make sure you read the full post at Sharing Our Notebooks: Lee Ann Spillane: Living Life Twice for lots more photos and great info about Lee Ann’s note-taking methods.

A Kid’s Sketchbook

A nice little piece in the “T” New York Times Style magazine, about a photographer named Dean Kaufman, who has taken photos of his son sketching at various museums. What a great way to get a kid interested in art!