We are almost at the end of February now, and so far my 2013 carry-around set has been working perfectly. It does the job, it gives me the chance to make a physical record of my day, my ideas, my emotions. All three notebooks are very personal to me, and apart from the sketchbook, which I share on this blog and Flickr from time to time, the rest mainly remains private: they don’t need to look pretty and this gives me the freedom to do with them whatever I feel like, they represent the true me, without any artefact.
What I’ve been carrying around lately
Every year, around December time, I start planning the essential kit for taking notes, writing down appointments, sketching, etc that I will be carrying around the following year. It’s a process that I’ve been doing for years and that I still enjoy very much. What I normally do, is going through my diaries/notebooks/paper pads that I’ve used during the year and make a decision on what has been essential or superfluous, what has been useful and what hasn’t. Over the years I have found some combinations of diary/sketchbooks that have worked very well for me; my very minimal kit consists of a pocket size weekly diary and a small sketchbook, with some variations.
My favourite diary is a black soft cover pocket size Moleskine weekly notebook. I love it, because it has the weekly calendar on one side and a blank lined page on the other, which is great for taking notes, making lists, write down thoughts, etc.
But I like to make some changes once in a while, so this year I decided to use one of those complimentary diaries that my auntie receives every year from pharmaceutical companies (she’s a nurse). The size is the same as the Moleskine, although inside is slightly different as the weekly calendar is spread on two pages.
Inside I’ve added a pink Bobino slim pen, which is great. I got it as a Christmas present from my cousin this year, and I absolutely love it! It doesn’t get lost in my bag and it’s so slim, you can hardly notice it’s inside the diary.
The diary is just a diary; I use it to record my daily appointments, birthdays, holidays, grocery lists. I could easily replace it with an online calendar, but let’s face it; I just need another excuse to use a pen and some paper!
I always carry around a sketchbook with me. I hold an extensive collection of sketchpads which I have going at the same time, but tend to use in different occasions.
They have been around for quite some time now, and one of my last year goals was to complete all of them, one by one. This is still an ongoing project, and it is proving a slow process, but the biggest motivation for me to complete it, is that I’m not going to buy any new sketchbook until I’m done with the old ones. And believe me, I already have a long list of new paper pads I’m dying to get my hands on.
The sketchbook that I’m currently using is a Moleskine watercolour notebook (13×21 cm, 200gr cold-pressed paper). It has a hard cover which is prefect for sketching on-the-go and has a useful inside pocket at the back, which I use to store some extra paper and a sheet of paper with swatches of watercolour pencils.
(Those little fingers on the left side had some fun using the above colour palette)
Along with the sketchbook, I carry, as a minimum, a pocket size Windsor & Newton lightweight half pan box containing 12 Artists’ Water Colours, a medium size Pentel waterbrush and an HB mechanical pencil.
This kit, although minimal, is not as light and small as I’d like, but is utterly necessary, so I can’t really complain. It’s always in my bag, I take it with me every day; you never know when you may get some spare time to draw, better be prepared!
To make things less easy this year I have added a new notebook to my carry-around essential kit.
It’s a lined B5 notebook I bought about 3 years ago from Muji (similar to this one) and never found the right use for it. It has about 30 pages and it’s very very light. I’ve combined it with a turquoise Bobino slim pen and I use it to take personal notes, jot down ideas, make plans, write down to-do lists. It also goes along very well with my small post-it notes, which somehow I tend to use very often and that get stuck around all over the place; now they have a special place to go to.