Here are some details from my current art journal. The top left photo is the title of a poem I formed from the cut up pages of books. I think that mixing found words and my own written phrases will be most inspirational! In the center, there is a quote from Game of Thrones, but it is wrong by one word.
I used to use only Moleskine sketchbooks as my art journals because of their amazing cream cardstock that could withstand liberal applications of paints, inks and water. Though I haven’t bought one in years, sources say that the company has replaced the high quality cardstock with thin grey shit. The last time I bought Moleskines, I got some poorly made blue Volants whose cardstock pockets quickly fell apart, and I was very displeased with the Evernote notebook whose paper is thin and lets pen ink show through even when you’re just writing.
After searching the internet for something, I found Smashbooks whose patterned paper and $12 price tag for a large seemed much more appealing. Despite the fact that I couldn’t use, say, watercolors on the paper, I thought it was a way better deal. After about a month with my Smashbook (it’s about 70% full), I’ve decided that they likely aren’t for me. They’re great for sticking little tidbits, scrapbooking and memory keeping, but for my personal art journal, I also need a place I can freely write. After all, “art” is only half of “art journal”; the other half is journal. As Suzi Blu says, I plan on living in this thing. Unfortunately, I’ve spent many minutes searching for a page with a subtle enough design to write directly onto. Worse, I’m running out of said pages! Unless I write on another sheet and glue it in, it ranges from looking horrible to being completely unreadable. True, I have watercolor paper for watercolors, but if all I can use this book for is to glue things to, then maybe I should glue things to something I can write and draw in.
Enter stage left: Midori Traveler’s Notebook.
I picked one up months ago and have been contemplating it ever since. The first thing that needs noting is the extremely high quality paper: minimal bleed-through even on the lightweight paper. True, the cover of a Midori is a $50 piece of leather, and you stuff interchangeable refills (and accessories) into—those run $5 to $10. In terms of price, I would much rather shell out $50 once and pay repeatedly for paper rather than buy the entire package each time. Notebooks become my companion, an old friend. It sucks to shelve something that’s been with me all month and replace it with something unfamiliar. Their customizability is astounding. Once I’ve filled my Smashbook completely, I’ll be making a permanent migration.