This week’s addict is an illustrator graphic designer who has been keeping sketchbooks for years. Some of these go back to his college days. More recently, he fills about one sketchbook a year, and likes to decorate the covers. They look fantastic, inside and out!
Robert Smith is a journalist who works on NPR’s Planet Money. I love this photo of his notebooks!
Here’s part of his story on how they ended up this way:
“I started to put photos on the front of my notebooks because I kept losing track of which one I was using. I would just pick up the closest pad, and the next thing I knew I had 7 different notebooks going. It was crazy. So I started to snip photos out of magazines and review copies of books, and glue them on the front.I guess I grew sort of fond of each notebook. You know, you carry them around all day and they become symbolic of certain stories. My hurricane Katrina notebook has a fire breathing monster on it. The notebook I used during a difficult week I spent as a host has a falling tree on it…”
Read more at » Here’s what NPR ‘Planet Money’ journalist Robert Smith does with his old notebooks JIMROMENESKO.COM. Photo by @ryankailath
I bought this notebook almost 3 years ago and only just recently got around to unwrapping it. I almost didn’t buy it– though I immediately coveted it when I saw it at A.I. Friedman in NYC, it was priced at $17.60, discounted from an even more ridiculous $22! It’s just a pretty standard pocket size notebook other than the cover art, so that price seemed nuts… but I ended up talking myself into it, since I didn’t want to deprive my dear readers of a chance to check it out. The sacrifices we notebook bloggers have to make…
It’s a pretty nice little notebook. The art on the cover is by Divinas Palabras— I wasn’t sure exactly what or who Divinas Palabras was, but they seem to be a design firm, and Miquelrius offers other products under this brand. I thought the airline signboard design was cool, and it’s unfortunate that the elastic closure somewhat obscures it. The elastic is just like everyone else’s, but one thing I liked is that they got the length exactly right– not too long, not too short, just the perfect length to hold the notebook closed with a bit of tension, but also perfect for just wrapping around the back cover so it’s tucked out of the way. I tend to do this a lot, and I hate when it’s too long and floppy. The only thing I don’t like about the elastic is the holes in the cover where it’s attached. They seem rather large– I don’t like seeing a big gaping hole, there’s just something a bit ugly about it.
The back cover has a printed Miquelrius logo (not stamped like most notebook brands). There was also an ugly white sticker under the shrinkwrap, but the adhesive was light enough for it to be easily removed, with just a light residual stickiness left over.
Inside, there are black endpapers, which I always think look nice despite the difficulty in writing on them! There is a black pocket inside the back cover. There is also a ribbon marker, narrower than the ones used on many other brands.
On first opening the notebook, I found the spine rather stiff, but it started to loosen a bit with use. The overall feel of the exterior is nice– squared off spine, slightly chunky feel, a bit thicker than a Moleskine. But unfortunately the cover overhang is pretty big, especially at the corners. It reminds me a lot of the Rhodia Webnotebook and a few other brands I’ve tried, where the black cover material is gathered in big folds at the corner. This is one bit of workmanship that I think Moleskine still does better than anyone else, though their corners are starting to get worse and worse too.
The paper is blank, though I remember the store also selling lined ones. The paper has a smooth feel to it, similar to Moleskine’s, but maybe just a tad heavier. All my usual pens felt fine on it, and bleed-through performance was a little bit better than average. Show-through was about average. The paper is not particularly “thirsty”– I sometimes try just leaving the pen in the same spot for 5 seconds to see how much the dot spreads out, and on this paper it stayed nice and tight.
All in all, I’m glad I finally unwrapped this notebook. It’s not perfect but I will use it at some point, and the cover design will be a nice change of pace from my usual plain black. I’m not sure these are still available in stores, but if they were, I probably wouldn’t buy another one, as the extra high price ultimately doesn’t seem worth it. But I am happy to have it in my collection.