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Saturday, 14 October 2006

The search for a perfect sketchbook?



I've spent a lot of time over the last 25 years trying to find a way of organising all my ideas and thoughts. Because I can often spend years thinking about an idea before I make work, a normal sketch book is too 'chronological' - I usually remember that I have written/ sketched something before but can't remember when. The only option if I want to find it is to leaf through lots of separate books which can take ages (and I would usually give up fairly quickly as patience is not one of my strong points!). For a while I tried index cards - which were great to lie out on a table, shuffle, flick through and could be filed in card boxes under different areas of interest. However I didn't ever really find a way of carrying loose index cards around which was sustainable, kept changing my mind about which size cards to use and any other pieces of paper I picked up along the way (newspaper cuttings etc.) had to be stuck down onto cards before filing. I then tried a moleskine Japanese accordion-fold notebook which can be opened up to show a continuous length of paper that worked really well, but was too small for all the time. The breakthrough came when I found a rollabind punch whilst 'decluttering' and decided to try it out. I punch paper (any size or type up to A4) and bind together with rollabind rings. It works in a similar way to a ring binder system but has a couple of major advantages. I can remove any sheet of paper without 'opening' the rings and I can punch any piece of paper as long as it measures more than an inch and stick it straight in my book (so any scraps of paper I draw, notate, cut out can easily be included.) Levenger in America do a similar system called circa with beautiful leather covers/ holders and heavyweight papers - but it works out really expensive so I bought a £12.99 Collins elite diary from TK- Maxx (just over A5), took out the diary etc. and use this as a main notebook jacket. When it gets too full I can just remove pages and make up new notebooks or file away. I've been using this for about a month now and it seems to be working really well.

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