A Wonderfully Messy Sketchbook

I love this image of an Ellsworth Kelly sketchbook!

I found it in a blog post by Zan Popp, who uses it as an example of famous artists’ sketchbooks, and muses about sketchbooks in general:

“What I really like enjoy about my sketchbooks is that I allow myself to be messy. I don’t have to get the idea right the first, second or even fifth time.  I work on an idea until I am satisfied and happy with the outcome. My sketchbooks are playgrounds where I play and struggle with ideas and concepts, structures and materials. Some start out as great ideas and quickly fail, while others start out weak and grow into strong structures. By keeping my successes and failures in these books, I return to ideas, keep experimenting and hopefully growing.”

Read more at Sketchbooks: What’s in yours? | Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

Moleskine As Photography Book

A photography book made from a Moleskine Japanese album, called “Le Ban des Utopies,” by Cyrille Weiner. There’s something very beautiful and simple about it…


See more at le ban des utopies | silverpoetics.

Courtney Wotherspoon’s Sketchbook

I always enjoy the Sketchbook Sneak Peek series at Design Sponge. Here’s one from a while back, featuring Courtney Wotherspoon.

What are your go-to sketch book supplies? Are there any brands or media that you’re particularly drawn to?

Pens, Uni-Ball Deluxe Micro, always black. Sometimes a blue ballpoint pen sneaks in if I can’t find my favourites.

Cut paper bits and glue stick, Derwent HBs and 2Bs that I end up sharpening down to the size of golf pencils, and sometimes a brush and acrylic ink, though I often don’t want to wait for it to dry before I turn the page and move on the next.

I started off filling large sketchbooks, upwards of 11″ x 14″, where I attempted to fill and complete entire ‘pieces’. Over the years, I’ve gone smaller and smaller and am now usually in a 5″ x 7″ or a mini 3″ x 5″ Moleskine. Some pages will be filled with colour, cutouts and imagery and others might just hold a single solitary pencil line.

See more at Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Courtney Wotherspoon | Design*Sponge.

Europa Memo Pad

I spotted this neat little notepad in one of NYC’s few remaining independent office supply/stationery shops, I now forget which one. I thought the map design was cute, and also couldn’t believe it was only $1.49!

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Notebook Addict of the Week: Rene

This week’s addict calls himself a “hoarder!” Yet he also has a generous spirit in his addiction: “I typically give most of these away, especially the Moleskines, to students as they want to write in what I’m writing in. I do journaling with them also so we kinda compete.”

From top left:

A three pack of pocket notebooks from Target in box

1 Moleskine pocket notebook

1 Rhodia Notebook, staple bound

2 Clairfontaine 1951 notebooks, a black and blue

1 Fabriano sketch notebook

2 Large Rhodia notebooks, staple bound, black and yellow lined

1 Scout Notebook with “Squishy” from Monsters University on its cover

1 3-pack of Doane Utility notebooks-black

Moleskines (1 japanese album, small notebook unlined, cahier kraft, 2 packs of large notebooks, all lined, in black and blue, below that are Kraft unlined medium sized, 2 3-packs of Kraft an unlined and lined X-Large, which they don’t make anymore apparently. A Lego Moleskine with Jango Fett attached, 1 White lined notebook hardbound, one Black unlined hardbound).

3 Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks, hardboound

3 different sized Apica notebooks

3 unnamed notebooks given to me by my wife for christmas. Have to do some research into these.

2 Cottonwood sketch books (Top one has a Think Geek monkey sticker)

1 red Piccadilly soft cover journal

1 sketch book with robot sticker

1 Staples brand notebook (given to me as a gift)

1 package of blank books by Lakeshore, staple bound and 2 hardcovers ( I used these for gifts to my nieces and nephews).


See the original post at Rene’s blog. Thank you for sharing your addiction (and your notebooks) Rene!

From the In-Box

Catching up on various tips  and questions people have sent in!

From S, a link to an old episode of Fresh Air Weekend:
‘Let’s Explore’: David Sedaris On His Public Private Life: The best-selling author and humorist has kept journals for 36 years. Those diaries have been the jumping-off point for the personal essays that appear in his collections, including Me Talk Pretty One Day and now Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls.

From Mike, a story about what may be the world’s biggest diary:


Meet Mr. John Gadd, 83, of Fontmell Magna in Great Britain. He keeps a diary. He keeps the most incredible diary I have ever heard of. It is huge,  as in 21,000 pages, filling 151 volumes, and also contains some 33,000 photos and ephemera. The diary dates back 66 years to 1947 and contains some four million pages.


From another Mike:

“I am trying to find the maker of a sketchbook that had a blue (or gray – they made both) with a black binding. They came in standard sizes but the size I’m looking for is 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. I bought them from New York Central Art Supply in NYC and they no longer carry them nor could they tell me who made them. Any ideas?”
The closest thing I could think of might be these sketchbooks, which come in a gray color with a black edging, though they are bound with wire.

Holbein Multimedia Books, Gray
Rowland asks “sometime ago I saw an interesting notebook which I think was made in Hong Kong.  It consisted of a single A3 sheet whihc ingeniously folded into an A6/Moleskine sort of size.

I think he means this sketchbook called “Spaces for Ideas

Don shares these photos of an old notebook he found at an estate sale:

photo 1photo 3 photo 2

Jade invites you to visit her Etsy shop:
“As well as notebooks, I sell origami paper, greeting cards, postcards and bookmarks all featuring patterns I’ve designed.”
Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 11.45.06 AM

Review: Blackwing Slate Notebook

Here’s the latest notebook offering from the folks who also bring us Blackwing pencils: the Blackwing Slate Notebook. Let’s take a look at the sample the company shared with me.

blackwing slate3

I immediately noticed that it was in a similar style to a Notes & Dabbles notebook I reviewed not long ago, as well as the Fabio Ricci “Goran” notebook. The front and back covers have a stitched edge, and the spine is separate, with a loop for  a pen. I like this all black design– it’s attractive and feels very solidly constructed. The Blackwing pencil that’s included complements it nicely.

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When you open the notebook, it lies flat. There is a back pocket with an extra little slit where you can tuck a business card. On the inside back cover, there is a page of Blackwing brand mythology– I could live without this. It seems like they’ve tried to follow Moleskine’s lead in associating their product with a long history of famous users, as well as being the pencil of choice in cool contemporary situations like fashion week or “in Brooklyn. Just about anywhere.” That one is a double strike as I’m really sick of everyone talking about Brooklyn all the time too! (I live in Brooklyn, and I have never spotted anyone using a Blackwing pencil.) Anyway, I just wish companies would realize that a well-designed quality product can appeal to people on its own merits, without marketers trying so hard to make up these ridiculous stories, which can end up backfiring. Blackwing pencils look great and write great and I love them for those reasons, but I don’t want people to look at me and think “look at that poser who thinks she has to use trendy pencils just because they say all the cool kids use them too!”

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The paper is lined (a version with unlined pages is also available) and feels great to write on. The paper is very smooth, and performed a bit better than average in terms of show-through and bleed-through. Fountain pens seemed to dry relatively quickly despite the smooth surface.

blackwing slate1blackwing slate2

Bottom line, it’s a very nice notebook and despite the rant above, I am sure many people will be able to ignore that one page in the back and use it very happily! I hope they make a pocket size version someday too– the Fabio Ricci Goran notebook already comes in a pocket size, and there seems to be a relationship between Fabio Ricci and Blackwing’s parent company, which also owns Pencils.com. You can buy a small black Goran, but the stitching along the spine seems to be white– nowhere near as nice-looking as the all black look of the Slate. Pencils.com offers some other Fabio Ricci notebooks that also look promising, and I love the Fabio Ricci notebook I bought in Turkey. I thought the Palomino Blackwing Luxury Notebook was really nice too, and I hope they continue to expand their notebook offerings under either the Blackwing or Fabio Ricci brands.
The Blackwing Slate Notebook is available at Pencils.com or on Amazon.

Marbled Notebooks

Some very cool-looking marbled notebooks from Paper Chase Press:

See more at Retail Goods – Paper Chase makes an array of retail goods in our LA shop | Paper Chase Press.

Notebook Addict of the Week (Again): The JournalCEO

This week’s repeat addict was featured about a year ago with my first ever video submission. Now she’s back again with another great video documenting her growing journal collection and some of the life experiences that have been documented in those journals. See more at TheJournalCEO – YouTube.

Here’s what the JournalCEO has to say:

“I just reached 7.5 years of a journaling anniversary, and took out my collection today.

These are my used journals. I have more blank journals than I do used journals, but these used journals span 7 years… and quite a ways up my wall. Somehow I was expecting my stack to be taller after 7 years, but this is it. Maybe I’ll have to add in the blank journal collection one day too.

There are a few photos of it at:


I love all those densely filled and collaged pages! Both the video and the photo of the stack are impressive. Thanks for keeping us up to date on your growing addiction, JournalCEO!

Mixtape Notebooks

Super cute! I love how the elastic closure on this Nuuna notebook looks like the tape unraveling out of the cassette. That’s one aspect of using tapes that I am NOT nostalgic about!

Via Retro To Go: Mixtape Notebooks by Nuuna.