I’ve torn through about four or five bags now- brands known for their lightness AND durability. The problem? Too many notebooks (and art supplies!).
I like to have a notebook for every purpose: rough warm-up sketches, finished ink drawings, random ideas, daily schedules, creative writing ( which in and of itself is divided into several projects), a journal, and of course, notes for this blog.
Since I love working in coffee shops, I would need to take my many notebooks, pens, pencils, and sharpeners on the go. Hence, the death of my beloved bags.
This was my daily carry:
Well, I’m through with losing so much money on bags! I searched for methods to consolidate my notebooks: ring binders, switching to softbound notebooks only, using that Japanese page-marking hack, etc. Nothing worked until I settled on the Traveler’s Notebook (TN).
These notebooks, pioneered by the Japanese brand Midori, are simple leather notebooks strung with several elastics inside. Midori sells special thin pamphlets of varying papers to slot into the elastics. In an original Midori, one can insert up to four -6 of these pamphlets. So now, instead of toting God knows how many books of varying sizes, you can carry several thing notebooks in a relatively manageable format.
Unfortunately, the Midori either comes in a vertically-oriented size or a passport size , neither of which doesn’t really suit my writing style. I enjoy the A5 format (about 8 x 6 inches), which is slightly wider.
After reading about other creators manufacturing notebooks similar to the Midori (mostly small handmade shops, but also sometimes mass-produced in China), I purchased one of the China-made leather A5 ones from a local retailer/importer (@crafts_unltdph on Instagram). It was… satisfactory. The leather couldn’t match the Midori’s famed stiffness and the handwork didn’t quite match, but it served the purpose. I filled it with Muji A5 grid notebooks (I LOVE these!) and some other handmade refills that I stapled together.
I was happy…for awhile. Then I turned to Etsy and Facebook, curious to find out more about non-Midori TN’s (aka ‘fauxdori). The sheer variety of sizes, materials, and styles soon got me salivating for more than the basic Midori prototype. I wanted more features! More bling! More colors! More everything.
I commissioned a local leatherworker (who shall remain unnamed, unless you pm me) to create an A5 TN. The results were horrible, and I ended up having to restring the damn thing and name it Monstrobo for its hideousness. This almost turned me off Philippine TN’s completely, but I’m glad I persisted in locating other craftspeople.
I contacted Sunday Leather Craft on Facebook, to create my first local TN’s in a specific configuration: Side pockets, 4 inner elastics, and a brown supple leather with border stitching. The results were amazing, and I fell in love with their work.
I commissioned a second one, this one with slots for pens and in a different beige /naked leather color, inspired by ones I’d seen scanning the net. Still loved it. This one will be my art journal, and I’ve repurposed my PVC folder into a brushpen holder.
So now I own three fauxdori (and Monstrobo).
Have I solved the notebook problem? Almost, but not quite. Now I want even MORE fauxdori!