Notebook Addict of the Week: SunamiSue

This week’s addict is an “urban sketcher, strongwoman, artist, fountain pen collector and maker.” She shared an intriguing photo of her notebook/sketchbook collection on Twitter:

Not sure what all the brands are, but definitely Leuchtturm and Stillman & Birn. Maybe also Rhodia, Miquelrius and Moleskine?

Also check out her review of the SketchWallet on her blog!

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Dubois Paris, French Art Supplies, and Learning Something New

I have not been to Dubois, but it will definitely be on my list for the next time I visit Paris. It is an art supply store that has been in business since 1861 and from what I can see on their website, they have some really cool stuff. (Check out the Cabinet de curiosités section of their website for some totally non-notebook related goodies.)

As for notebooks… they carry quite a few brands of sketchbooks, including one I hadn’t heard of: Dalbe.

Dalbe turns out to be yet another French company selling art supplies, including some of their own brand. They also have stores in Paris. Oddly enough, I couldn’t find these particular sketchbooks on the Dalbe website, but did see something interesting from Hahnemuhle!

“Report and Art Book”– not so sure about the size or the cover overhang, but love that red stitching!

But it’s the description of the first set of sketchbooks at Dubois that intrigued me: “à la française?” “à l’italienne?” Qu’est-ce que c’est? I’d never seen notebooks described this way before, but it turns out that it is French for “portrait” and “landscape.” I am curious as to the origin of these terms– is there some traditional thing where French artists preferred the vertical portrait format and Italian ones preferred the horizontal landscape format? In looking at art history, I’d think both countries have had plenty of artists working in each format… Please chime in with a comment if you can shed any light on this!

Notebooks About Congolese Trees

There really is a notebook for everything…

“For close to 60 years, a set of notebooks sat unused in the herbarium at the Yangambi Biological Station in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During the colonial era, this was an agricultural research station, the National Institute for Agronomic Study of the Belgian Congo, or INEAC. Every week for two decades, from 1937 to 1958, biologists at the station observed 2,000 individual trees and recorded whether they had flowered, fruited, or dropped their leaves. As The Guardian reports, the scientists scrawled their observations in small notebooks and coded them into larger logs, creating a detailed record of forest life during the final decades of Belgian occupation of this part of Africa.”

Read more at: Forgotten Notebooks Chronicled the Lives of Congolese Trees for 20 Years – Atlas Obscura

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New Look

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve done a little redesign on the site. I’m still working on a few things, like better header images, etc. but am hoping that everything at least is functioning correctly! Please let me know if you notice any issues. thanks!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Matt Hutcheson from Wanderings Notebook

People who start companies to make notebooks are usually notebook addicts– here’s a case in point. The Wanderings Notebook is a refillable leather notebook similar to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. But on the company’s blog, Matt Hutcheson offers an agnostic appreciation of notebooks in general, with this shot of the his collection, plus some thoughts on how to select the type of notebook that will work best for you. Or rather, the different factors that you might consider in buying ALL the notebooks that work best for you!

“Here at Wanderings we make The Wanderings Notebook and are super proud of it, but that doesn’t mean weren’t not, ahem, slightly addicted to every kind of notebook and journal in existence.”

 

Read more at: Finding the Best Notebook For Writing, Sketching, Lists, and Life – Wanderings – Journals, Notebooks, Journeys

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Jibun Techo Planner

The Hobonichi Techo has become a cult favorite over the last few years, but it’s not the only Japanese planner system out there. I noticed the Jibun Techo at the Baum-kuchen website:

“JIBUN TECHO will be a good fit for you if you:

–manage your agenda with monthly/weekly but does not need a predated daily page.
–enjoy creating a weekly spread as your life log.
–are in search of a light weight planner to bring with you everywhere.
–LOVE Tomoe-river paper. “

The layouts look elaborate but fun, with a bit more color and more icons than the Hobonichi, which may please people who like a really dense page design. The planner shown above is meant to be used as part of a system, with additional notebooks for “life” and “ideas” that can be tucked in a binder with it.

There isn’t that much information about the system in English, but I found a couple of blog posts with detailed reviews:

Belle Cooper blog

40 and Above

See more at: Baum-kuchen – JIBUN TECHO 2018 [PRE-ORDER]

Grace Coddington’s Smythson Notebooks

Grace Coddington is well known in the fashion world as an editor, former model, and author. Now she’s also a spokesperson for Smythson. Most of the linked article is promoting their various leather bags and accessories, but I loved getting a glimpse of this well-worn address book!

I bought a Smythson address book a long time ago and no longer use it actively, but every time I come across it while rummaging through my collection, I appreciate how classic and iconic their notebooks are. They sure are expensive, though! I don’t remember how much I paid for mine, 20+ years ago, but I remember feeling like I couldn’t afford it at the time. They used to have a whole line of address books but nowadays, they don’t seem to sell them at all, except as refill inserts for other planners– a casualty of the smartphone and social media age, I guess. But they do still sell lots of notebooks and organizers. I kind of want one of these, except that they only seem to come with lined paper, and they’re $75:


 

Back to Grace Coddington, she also has a pretty fabulous set of colored pencils, which you can see  below:

 

I went looking to see if I could find it on Amazon– didn’t see one exactly like that, but these are close. I hope I win the lottery so I can buy one!!

 

Read more at: Travelling With Grace Coddington – Smythson Travel

BLACKBOOK by Nuria Mora

Absolutely stunning notebook art, by Nuria Mora, a Spanish artist based in Madrid. It looks like it was made with a Moleskine Japanese Album.

See more at: BLACKBOOK | Nuria Mora

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Denik Notebook Review & Giveaway

Today I’m finally doing a long overdue review of a Denik notebook. I’d first noticed this brand quite a while ago, due to their colorful point of purchase display, which I saw first at a booth at either the BookExpo convention or the NY NOW Gift Show at the Javits Center, or perhaps in a store in Brooklyn, I forget which. But wherever it was, the display was hard to miss due to the broad array of vibrant cover designs. I was thrilled to receive a free sample to review from Denik.

The Denik brand is all about creativity and activism. Their ever changing assortment of designs come from artists of all types. A portion of the proceeds from each notebook purchased goes to either the artist who designed the cover or to building schools around the world. Learn more here.

Denik Notebook - 1Denik Notebook - 2

The sample I received is one of their softcover notebooks, with a cover design by Katrina Houskeeper. The size is 5.25 x 8.25″, with 75 sheets/150 pages. It comes shrink-wrapped, and underneath, has an attractive grey-shaded cover with gold-stamped “Crazy Ideas” logo. The cover material is a soft feel to it and is said to be water resistant. The design continues on the inside front and back covers, which I love.

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The notebook is perfect-bound, so it does not lie flat– but I got this sample a while ago and Denik has since changed their construction to smyth-sewn and describe their softcovers as “lay-flat” so they have addressed that issue– yay! (They still say the page count is 150, which I’m trying to figure out, since I thought sewn signature notebooks always had page counts in multiples of 4. Maybe they glue in one extra page??)

Denik Notebook - 10Denik Notebook - 6

Inside, there is lined paper, which feels pretty average to the touch, not overly smooth, but gives a really nice gliding feel with most pens. Show-through is about average, and bleed-through slightly better than average. Some fountain pens feather a bit. Unlined paper is also available, and they also offer leather bound sketchbooks, and spiral bound notebooks and sketchbooks.

Denik Notebook - 7Denik Notebook - 8

 

At $11.95, the softcover notebook is maybe a teensy bit on the high end of reasonably priced, but I think that is OK given that it is made in the USA and benefits good causes. If you love collecting notebooks with colorful, unique covers, you’ll want to give these a try. You can find them at many retailers, or order online at the Denik webstore, or you can enter the giveaway for some prizes provided by Denik! We are giving away 5 Notebooks, one each to 5 different winners!

For this giveaway, the entry rules are a little different, so please read the instructions below carefully. I have just launched a Notebook Stories account on Instagram, so this will be my first Instagram giveaway!
To enter:

  • Follow @shopdenik on Instragram
  • Follow @notebook.stories on Instagram (make sure you have the “.” in there, as “@notebookstories” without the “.” is someone else!)
  • Tag a friend in the comments on my Instagram post about Denik. You can better your chances of winning by tagging more of your friends. Please keep it to one tag per comment.
  • You can also enter by posting a comment on this blog post with your Instagram account name, but you must be following @shopdenik and @notebook.stories in order to be eligible to win.
  • The deadline to enter is Friday October 20, 2017
  • You must be in the US to enter.

Winners will be announced within two weeks after the end of the entry period. Thanks and good luck everyone!

 

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Bradford Morrow’s Boorum & Pease Ledger

An excellent article at LitHub by Bradford Morrow, author of the just-published Prague Sonata, among other books. Really interesting look at a writer’s process and why he prefers physical note-taking to digital methods. Big thanks to reader Raymond for sending me the tip!

“My memory is good, but capricious at times. My scraps of paper get misplaced or wind up in the laundry. I don’t want to figure out dictation software. And my thumbs are hopeless, which is only part of the reason I hate texting. In an era of smart phones, palm-sized digital cameras, and featherweight laptops—also known as “notebooks”—the very idea of lugging around a heavy, folio-sized, hardcover Boorum & Pease record-ruled 9-300-R ledger or oversized black spiral-bound artist sketchbook, would seem at once masochistic and medieval. Yet, these behemoths, straight out of some Dickensian accountant’s office or landscape architect’s atelier, have served as my notebooks of choice for well over 20 years.”

Read more (and see lots more notebook images) at: Why Digital Note-Taking Will Never Replace the Physical Journal | Literary Hub

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Notebooks, journals, sketchbooks, diaries: in search of the perfect page…