On pen and paper

A friend of mine wanted to know my notebook preferences, so here’s what I do in terms of pen and paper. =)

My favourite kind of notebook is a hard-cover non-spiral-bound notebook, with a back flap for storing ephemera. Hard-cover notebooks are easy to write in when I’m walking around, and I don’t have to worry about squishing them in my bag. Spiral-bound notebook coils tend to flatten or unwind, so I avoid them.

I’d love to have a notebook with a spine that can accommodate a pen clip, but I’m happy carrying the pen around separately, too.

I use different sizes for different things. Pocket-sized notebooks are good for daily notes. Mid-sized notebooks are good for single-page sketches. 8.5×11” notebooks are good for brainstorming or visual note-taking.

I like using unlined pages, preferably in off-white. Unlined pages let me use the notebook both horizontally and vertically, and they scan better when I have diagrams. It would be great to find a notebook with a light dot-grid (not an square grid) that can be removed from scans, but that’s okay.

My notebooks tend to have white or cream pages. Cream pages go well with my dark red fountain pen ink and feel less harsh than white pages, but white is okay too.

The Moleskine unlined hard-cover journal is nice, but Curry’s and other art stores carry cheaper alternatives. I usually stock up on 8.5×11” sketchbooks when they’re on sale, and pick up pocket notebooks whenever.

Following Lion Kimbro’s recommendation, I’ve stocked up on 4-colour pens. My current favourite 4-colour pen is the Pilot Feed GP4 0.7, which I picked up at National Bookstore in the Philippines for the equivalent of ~CAD 3. You can bet I’m going home with a box of those pens. I also sometimes carry an inexpensive fountain pen that I don’t worry about losing or dropping, saving my Waterman Harmonie for bedside writing.

I usually use a pocket-sized notebook to take notes during conversations, which are usually captured as keywords. I tend to use visual notetaking for talks. For brainstorming, I make lists, mindmaps, visual notes, sketches, and other diagrams.

I number odd pages and keep an index at the back.

Archived notebooks go on one of our bookshelves. I rarely refer to them, but it’s fun to flip through old notebooks once in a while.

I’m looking forward to getting into the habit of scanning my notebook pages when I get back. It’ll be fun!

  • Artsypooh

    Speaking of scanning notebooks…

    I have two kinds of notebooks: the indispensables (they have sketches and stuff) and the disposables (just boring to-do’s et al).

    I used to keep everything, until I realized that the boring notebooks were kind’a boring (LOL!) so I just scanned them, page by page, and then disposed of them.

    Eventually I plan to scan my indispensables too, just so I have a digital backup if worse comes to worse. :)

  • Miguel

    Moleskine is hella expensive; I paid 400 pesos for a pair of little notebooks smaller than my palm, just because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I had no idea that even notebooks had super elite brands.

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    My favourite notebook right now is a magnet-closure cat notebook that measures 8.8 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches. 9×6.5 turns out to be a good size for sketching out a single thought and related details. Not as cramped as the pocket-sized notebooks, but not as intimidatingly large as my 8.5×11″ notebook.

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    Artsypooh: Scan the indispensable pages first, for sharing! <grin>

  • Artsypooh

    Sacha, be careful what you wish for. “Overshare” is just a send away.

    LOL!