Notebook Addict of the Week: Didier

This week’s addict is a Frenchman who is crazy about notebooks! Il est fou de carnets, I guess you’d say! He also has a lot of fun documenting his notebook addiction in videos.

Didier says:

Take a look on some of my links on the Wiiiiild Wide Web:

Voila !

I have between 100 & 200 notebooks.., from 7cm until A4 size and more… ; ) from different brands, styles, material etc.

BUT… BUT, and this is… a bit.. « strange »… They are totally empty. Not used. Never used. All blank. White. Lol.

I love the « object » as it is, more than the tool to use…

Hoping to be in the Notebook Insane of the Week!

Merci á Didier for sharing his insane addiction!

Giveaway Winners!

I am late in picking some giveaway winners!

The two commenters who won a Japanese stationery magazine each are Razzlebery and Grace Ji.

The two winners of the Paper-Oh giveaway are @mikes10663 on Twitter, and Shea Ryan on Facebook.

WWII Japanese Notebooks

A tantalizing glimpse of some Japanese notebooks dating back to World War II:

“Long-forgotten documents on Japan’s attempt to build an atomic bomb during World War II have been discovered at Kyoto University, which experts say further confirms the secret program’s existence and could reveal the level of the research. The newly found items, dating between October and November 1944, were stored at Kyoto University’s research center. Research into uranium-enrichment equipment, a key to the production of atomic weapons, was scribbled in three of the notebooks. Japan surrendered in August 1945 before the secret project could reach fruition. “The new data could show us the level of research they were involved in,” said Hitoshi Yoshioka, a professor who studies the history of scientific technology at Kyushu University. It has long been known that two programs were under way in Japan to produce a nuclear weapon during the war. One, commissioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy and code-named “F Research,” involved Bunsaku Arakatsu, a professor of physics at Kyoto Imperial University, the predecessor of Kyoto University, and other leading researchers at the institution. The other, carried out by the Imperial Japanese Army and known as the “Nigo Research” project, was spearheaded by Yoshio Nishina, a physicist at the Riken institute in Tokyo. Yoshioka, well versed in the development of nuclear-related technology, noted that there are few known documents on the research that took place at Kyoto Imperial University compared with that conducted at Riken. The notebooks in question belonged to Sakae Shimizu, a researcher who worked for Arakatsu.”

Read more at Wartime documents shed light on Japan’s secret A-bomb program – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

Anders Nilsen’s Sketchbook Art

This was an exciting find from the LA Times website: Anders Nilsen’s sketchbook art

“Anders Nilsen is called a comics artist, but that’s not exactly what he does. Yes, his books are visual, but  Nilsen seems at times to be about the deconstruction of form itself in favor of a purer style of storytelling, gathering evidence: images, correspondence, notes from the author to himself.”

He has a new book coming out called Poetry Is Useless:

“In Poetry is Useless, Anders Nilsen redefines the sketchbook format, intermingling elegant, densely detailed renderings of mythical animals, short comics drawn in ink, meditations on religion, and abstract shapes and patterns. Page after page gives way under Nilsen’s deft hatching and perfectly placed pen strokes, revealing his intellectual curiosity and wry outlook on life’s many surprises.”

You can see more of his sketchbook pages including the ones below in an excerpt from the book posted on the publisher’s website. Nilsen is also interviewed by Paste at this link, with some additional page images.

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Notebook Addict of the Week: Esme (again)

Esmé has been featured here as a notebook addict before, back in January 2014. Since then, their collection has been expanding , filling a whole additional shelf!

Esmé writes:

“So I’m now 17, as of last week (I was 15 when I last submitted I think), and I’ve been collecting notebooks for the last couple of years. I have journals from when I was 9, and since I was 14-ish I’ve been keeping all my general notebooks, creative writing notebooks, and sketchbooks (I used to tear out the useful pages and bin the rest…)
In the photos, you’ll see

  • my entire filled notebook collection (except my first 12 journals, which are in my loft)
  • some pages from old journals (the small black moleskine is the one I took with me to Namibia this year, on a school expedition)
  • my collection of in-use notebooks and examples of their contents (a page from my sketchbook, a page from my creative writing notebook, a page from my quote book, a page from my current general notebooks, and a spread in my current journal)
  • my blank notebooks

Writing down my thoughts has helped me figure out so many things- opinions, feelings…most importantly to me, my gender identity, which I finally understood after several pages of “I don’t feel like a girl or a boy at all ohh no!” ramblings.
My friend told me recently that “someone could take all your notebooks and just… become you”, which is pretty indicative of how much I write and draw day-to-day!

Thanks for being a reminder that if my notebook habit is weird then I’m not the only weirdo around!”

Indeed, we’re all pretty weird here if notebook addiction is any indication… but hey, who needs “normal!”

Here’s Esmé’s photos:

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I love Esme’s dense pages of writing and collage, and the commitment to filling lots of those pages, especially at such a young age! Keep it up, Esmé, and thank you for sharing your addiction!

Basquiat Notebooks

I was so excited several months ago when I heard there would be a big exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum all about Jean-Michel Basquiat’s notebooks. I’d seen some of the images of the notebooks and pages and thought it sounded really cool, but then I read that the notebooks had been carefully disassembled so the individual pages could be displayed in the exhibition. Although the curators supposedly did this very carefully and claimed that the notebooks could be stitched back together into their original form, I kind of lost interest in going to the exhibition. The idea of all those lonely pages made me sad.

BUT! My interest was recently rekindled when I discovered that I could experience Basquiat’s notebooks in a something closer to their original form through this book:

The Notebooks

This is not the official exhibition catalog, but it’s a sort of compilation facsimile of Basquiat’s notebooks. The format is just like an actual composition book, with some of the most interesting pages from his various notebooks reproduced inside. It’s published by Princeton Architectural Press.

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From the publisher’s website:

Brooklyn-born Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-88) was one of the most important artists of the 1980s. A key figure in the New York art scene, he inventively explored the interplay between words and images throughout his career, first as a member of SAMO, a graffiti group active on the Lower East Side in the late 1970s, and then as a painter acclaimed for his unmistakable Neoexpressionist style. From 1980 to 1987, he filled numerous working notebooks with drawings and handwritten texts. This facsimile edition reproduces the pages of eight of these fascinating and rarely seen notebooks for the first time.The notebooks are filled with images and words that recur in Basquiat’s paintings and other works. Iconic drawings and pictograms of crowns, teepees, and hatch-marked hearts share space with handwritten texts, including notes, observations, and poems that often touch on culture, race, class, and life in New York. Like his other work, the notebooks vividly demonstrate Basquiat’s deep interests in comic, street, and pop art, hip-hop, politics, and the ephemera of urban life. They also provide an intimate look at the working process of one of the most creative forces in contemporary American art.Review:

“This carefully reproduced facsimile edition of renowned visual artist Basquiat’s eight notebooks provides us a glimpse into the mind of a visionary artist. On nearly every page, readers will ponder over why and how Basquiat chose to string together these specific word marks and often bizarre phrases. The notebooks function as a sort of incubator for Basquiat’s artistic process as well as a finished product in their own right . . . a vital part of Basquiat’s legacy and an invaluable window into his ingenious and whimsical mind.”Publishers Weekly

I absolutely love my Lynda Barry facsimile composition book and I’m sure I’ll love this Basquiat one when I get my hands on it too!

Notebooks from Asbury & Asbury

Asbury & Asbury is a design team with some fun notebook projects, among other things. They dropped me a note months ago about their Perpetual Disappointments Diary, which regrettably got lost in my inbox, but when I finally checked out the link I was also happy to see their series of notebooks featuring photos of British roadways, whose numbering happens to be the same as the sizes used for paper in the UK and Europe:

“A6 Notebook is the first in a series of notebooks inspired by the coincidental overlap of standard paper sizes and British road numbering.

The hardback, A6-sized, 156-pp notebook is an invitation to explore your own creative meanderings while notionally following the route of the A6, which runs for 300 miles across England from Luton to Carlisle.

The notebook includes a Foreword by Joe Moran, author of On Roads: A Hidden History and a social historian with a focus on the recent past. This is followed by an introductory essay on the A6, with further information sections at the back. The main body of the notebook is blank for your own notes and doodles, with footnotes marking destinations and points of interest along the way.

The project is a celebration of British A-roads, which were long ago relegated in importance by the arrival of motorways, and have never enjoyed the same mythological status as American highways, but nevertheless play a significant role in the psychogeography of the British Isles. As Joe Moran writes, ‘A-roads serve as the road system’s unconscious, often stretching for miles without being signposted or acknowledged, disappearing into street names and getting caught up in one-way systems but still always there, connecting up different areas of our lives serendipitously.’ “

And here’s the diary, a great gift for your favorite cynic!

“An appointments diary with a series of disappointing twists. Includes a weekly demotivational proverb, notable deaths, contact pages for people who never call, and space for your own pointless doodles. First published as Disappointments Diary 2013, now back in a larger, more cumbersome and non-year-specific format.”

Available for sale online in  Asbury & Asbury’s online shop.

Review and Giveaway: New Monologue Notebooks

I’ve reviewed Monologue notebooks from Grandluxe a couple of times on this site, and I’m always happy to receive samples of their new products. These arrived recently, and while they are not at first glance drastically different from other Monologue products, they offer some neat new features.
These first two journals are pretty close to others that I’ve reviewed before, but they add an elastic pen loop. The cover overhang on the side is a little bigger than usual to help keep your pen or pencil neatly tucked in. They also have 100 gsm blank pages, instead of the 80 gsm lined pages that most Monologue notebooks have.

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Then there is the Contrast Ruled Notebook. I think the “contrast” just refers to the color of the elastic closure and the ribbon marker vs. the cover– in this case you get a bright orange and a rich brown. The cover is not real leather but almost has the look of a smooth leather. Inside, it has ruled pages, and is basically just like a lot of other journals except for this one brilliant detail: the elastic closure wraps around horizontally!

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I’ve tested out a couple of other notebooks where the elastic diverged from the usual vertical approach– there’s the Piccadilly Primo journal where it is a loop that attaches to the spine, and the Art Alternatives Sketch & Draw sketchbook, where it wraps diagonally around the top corner. Then there’s the Makr notebook, which has two diagonal elastics. All of these look nice, but seem a bit awkward. But the Monologue method of wrapping it around from a mid-point on the two covers works perfectly! You can tuck a pen in under in, but more importantly to me, you can wrap it around the spine of the notebook and it stays completely out of the way.

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It’s just the right length so it doesn’t flop around. It probably even helps the notebook lie flat and stay open. And the off-center placement looks quite nice, I think. 4 sizes and 8 color combinations are available.

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It is so clever and practical, I’m amazed that all notebooks aren’t made this way, and that I’ve never seen one like it before. I love it, love it, love it.

The rest of the notebook is nicely made too– my only beef with it is that the cover overhang is quite pronounced, and I always prefer the pages to come right up to the edges of the cover. But that is my personal quirk that I know a lot of people don’t share.

This is just a quick review so I haven’t done full pen tests on these notebooks. The paper in the Contrast Ruled notebook seems similar to that used in the other Grandluxe products I’ve reviewed. So all 3 of these notebooks are in pristine condition and ripe for a giveaway!

I’ll select 3 winners, chosen randomly from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Monologue Notebooks @ilovemonologue @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @ilovemonologue.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Monologue page and post something containing the words “Monologue Notebooks” on the Notebook Stories page.

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

The deadline for entry is Friday July 24, 2015 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.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Cynthia Morris

This week’s addict is the blogger at Original Impulse, where she offers “support and resources to help you love your creative life.” She was faced with a decision about what to do with all these filled notebooks!


“As I unpack and move into my new home, I am faced with a decision: do I put my journals on the shelves or boxed in the closet?

Hundreds and hundreds of pages, billions of words. For what?

Stacks and stacks of writing

These 100+ notebooks full of free writing and journaling certainly aren’t interesting to anyone. They aren’t publishable and they haven’t brought me any money.

But these notebooks full of my scribbles form the foundation of my writing career. Without the pages and pages of meandering writing, I wouldn’t have built the confidence to dare publishable pieces.”

Read more at How Writing for ‘Nothing’ Can Give You Everything – Original Impulse.

Pentalic Traveler Pocket Sketch Reader Review

I love the detailed commentary I sometimes get from readers of this site about their own favorite notebooks. A reader called Filcard responded to my review of the Pentalic Illustrator’s Sketchbook recommending that I check out another one of their products:

“My absolute favorite though is the “sister” product to the Illustrator, the Traveler Pocket Sketch. Instead of hard covers, they have a flexible cover, still waterproof and durable. I like the flex a bit better because it allows the book to open a tiny bit easier when I’m drawing or writing on the go. I use them primarily for journals. I write with tons of different pens. I’m a pen and ink freak. Usually I use Daler Rowney FW ink or Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay india ink… both are dip inks, so I use a pen holder and various pen nibs. No ink other than yucky Sharpies (not a fan) bleed through the Traveler pages. The paper is great for ink, pencil and colored pencil. The Traveler sheets are considerably beefier than the Illustrator, at a 60# weight. I absolutely love these books and have filled a number of them.

I’m currently writing in an Illustrator, that’s why I found your blog interesting. The one I’m using right now is the white covered one, and it’s pages are pretty thick, so it must be the second run. If you can find one of those, I bet you’ll like it more based on your review of show through.”

Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal Sketch, 6-Inch by 8-Inch, Royal Blue


They come in a few different colors and sizes and are available in many art supply and stationery stores. Here’s a link to various Pentalic notebooks on Amazon: Notebook Stories Store.