July 2017-May 2020 notebook tour

Flip-through tour of my old creative notebook.

Cover Image

I just finished a notebook today! Here's a timelapse video (18 seconds) of my 250p notebook from July 2017 - May 2020. I stopped maintaining a separate journal (1-line-a-day journal) and sketchbook (moleskine with blank pages). The notebook in the video is a Leuchtturm1917 lime green A5 notebook medium hardcover with dot grid that I bought back in 2011 (according to the embossed stamp on the spine). At the time I had green glasses, which could have been a driver for the colour decision.

I had used 3-4 Moleskine (MS) sketchbooks/journals prior to Leuchtturm (LT). I would 100% ditch MS for LT; I gave away some of my blank MS backlog to other folks because I was so disappointed in MS. My most recent MS's backpocket and ribbon fell off, the cover was separating from the signatures, and the paper bled like crazy with fountain pen. Even though I don't use the features often, LT's page numbers and table of contents were a welcome addition. It also reminds me of my old lab notebooks.

Having dot-grid and thinner paper made it a lot easier to "stop being precious" about trying to make nice/majestic artwork. This mindset feels pretty pervasive amongst artists (myself included) and I'm glad that I reframed my thinking and relationship with this particular notebook. All notes and all doodles are equally valid! I also didn't use any "system" (e.g., bullet journal/bujo). Everything is hot mess and jumbled, but at least in somewhat chronological order. Bujo's tagline is "beautifully organized" and I don't think that is my goal here HAHA. My goal is mainly to externalize thoughts so I don't forget them. This is also why I opted to not get a drawing-specific notebook (which usually have thicker paper). The notebook ended up with >50% writing.

This notebook begins with my initial thoughts for HWA. The "first drafts" live in here and they're all quite embarrassing. I'm glad I had a place to put them down, without relying on a computer/screen. Less distractions when you're only with your thoughts, pen, and paper.

Here you can see some room shots/floor plans (Austin's attic room), fashion through the seasons (also Austin), actual rough scripts and their associated thumbnails (HWA chapter 3), and some weird AU-type doodles for the only time in my life that I completed OCeptember! I also planned/plotted Come For A Drink and practically all zines/comics I drew since 2017, in here.

As I was nearing the end of the book I found all these loose things in the back-pocket that I kept (hoarded?) as memories/souvenirs, so I finally use some of my washi tape and stuck them in! I'm more hesitant to paste stuff in because I'm worried it will make the subsequent pages bumpy to write/draw on, given that this notebook's paper isn't the thickest.

I don't practice drawing as much as I used to. The majority of my un/polished drawing is my comic, which is done digitally, so many "practice" rounds are simply done digitally. As I neared the finish line of the notebook, I drew a lot of animals with reference from the internet. They were all drawn straight with fountain pen. It was a nice way to end things off. I didn't love drawing on the last 20-or-so pages because they're perforated (my pen kept getting caught in the holes, the perforated edges were scratching my hand), but I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker!

By now you would assume that my next notebook would also be a LT. Actually I'm starting a notebook (another backlog) from Wai, with her Shiba Inu artwork on the cover. The notebook itself is slightly taller and narrower (and maybe less pages) than LT. Ribbon, pocket, and elastic are available as well. I already covered the end pages with stickers!! I have so many stickers...

Here's a pen test.

I don't know what the brand is since it seems to be custom, but the paper feels and performs similarly to LT. Maybe the fountain pen ink is a bit more see-through on the back-side compared to LT? It's an off-white/cream with crosshair grid. Paper feels slightly (?) smoother to the touch than LT, but that might just be because I have no more blank LT pages to touch. No table of contents, no page numbers, and the top margin is wider than the bottom margin.

After this, I already have another notebook in queue (which at my rate, 2025??): a Traveler's Company Regular size notebook in camel (also a gift). I've already pseudo customized it because I'm a huge nerd and had some spare charms, but actually using it is far in the distance. It's definitely one of those notebook that veers into feeling like I have to be more precious about it. Having different mini notebooks with different purposes is a very attractive prospect.

Today's music post: MILCK's If I Ruled The World