Last tuesday i rushed to the british library to catch the last day of the glorious exhibition: royal manuscripts: the genius of illumination. It showed the library’s unique collection of illuminated manuscripts amassed by kings and queens in england over 800 years. It was truly stunning.
Being at that exhibition got me thinking how our ancestors have paved the way for us to write, draw, sketch and paint. It always starts with a piece of paper and making a mark. From there, all kinds of projects are created. So today I want to introduce you to some of my ‘small’ sketchbooks collection and later on this week i will follow it up with some sketches i’ve done in them over the years.
Yes, for those who paid attention, there’s also a big sketchbook collection, but lets leave that for another time!
Paper and sketchbooks have always held a fascination for me. When i studied graphic design, back in the 80’s, i was fascinated by calligraphy and manuscripts. I think that however much i rely on technology, that love of a physical sketchbook and making a mark in it will never leave me. I go out of my way to collect interesting sketchbooks and the paper often will make a big difference to me.
I’ve picked out my favourites here below. What i love is that they get well worn from being carried around in handbags and used in different places, like on planes and in hotels. I love having home-made covers made like the ones made for me by my friend carole. Sometimes you find a great sketchbook like the red leather heart shaped one. Other times, I fall in love with a cover and then start searching for the right insert. Often, that involves cutting a sourced plain paper notebook to fit the size of the cover. In the yellow small hermes sketchbook, the refillable inside is made out of wafer thin rice paper. I first saw this in the bigger version when a japanese architect was sketching in it. Always on the hunt, i had to ask him where it was from. I love how it rolls and fastens with those push buttons and although a little cumbersome, it fascinates me. Gavin rookledge’s leather sketchbooks are totally unique. He’s a fascinating character and i urge everyone to have a special leather book commissioned. James balston, who photographed my home for heart home magazine wrote a wonderful post on gavin and his studio. Of course, these days I use my moleskine daily so my small sketchbooks are not getting enough attention.
How do you feel about sketchbooks for your handbag? Any preferences? Do you use them at all?