My Handbound Journals


For the past three years I have been keeping my sketchbook journals in pocket-sized Moleskine Daily Planners that I rebind with 90lb hot press watercolor paper. After having tried seemingly every other option I hit upon this formula as being just right for me.

I completed three volumes last year, and am well into my fourth volume for 2006. I am rushing to fill it up so that I can start a fresh book on the first of the year. I also will be needing to bind the next book soon. It’s a ritual of sorts that I have come to look forward too, and having done it so many times it now comes easily.

21 Responses to “My Handbound Journals”

  1. Lost in Anywhere » Trumpetvine Travels Says:

    […] dessins très sensibles, une collection de moleskines impressionnante, Martha est une habituée du croquis et de […]

  2. Trumpetvine Travels » Blog Archive » Year End Review Says:

    […] little painting is 1.5 x 2.5 inches, in the moleskine journal as are all my […]

  3. Trumpetvine Travels » Blog Archive » Rebinding a Moleskine Notebook Says:

    […] days in a Pocket Size Moleskine notebook rebound with my own paper. I have created quite a few of these journal sketchbooks and have honed my binding technique along the way. There has been lot of interest in how I do this […]

  4. Laura Says:

    Martha, this is so funny—my lawyer husband sent me a link to this post! He didn’t know I already knew your work and your blog and he found you through Lifehacker! And it’s all even more coincidental because I’d decided to ask the friend who binds my sketchbooks to do one in the large Moleskine sketchbook size! I figure that’s the smallest size page I can deal with. My regular and my travel sketchbooks are 6 1/2 x 9, which is a little large for some uses. I love seeing all of your journals ranged tidily together.

  5. Rowland Says:

    I was really pleased with the new watercolour Moleskine (how is it pronounced?!) but both the ones I’ve used so far have started to come apart. Are the larger ones any better?

  6. df Says:

    oohh, these are very cool. Interesting that you rebind the moleskine. I make some of my sketchbooks with 90lb Arches HP also. I like that they are less precious that way. I am not able to paint on both sides however.
    I love your sketchbooks and site. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Malinda Says:

    Martha, what great photos! I bind my own pocket-size hedgehogs with 90# watercolor paper also! I love that you re-bind in the Molie covers and am waiting for your photos also!

    Mine are here…

    Come join the fun!

  8. Yari Says:

    I see, they are not too small to draw in… How can you do it??? Love the look of them.

  9. Colleen Says:

    Along with your other fans…I anxiously await your pics and information on adding watercolor pages to the moleskines. And not a moment too soon as I have only a few pages left to complete in my current journal. Have been surfing today to find just the right journal for the upcoming volume and I think you may have solved my dilemma. Thank you in advance.

  10. Thorsten Says:

    these are just so fine!

    hope to see some more on flickr, too!

  11. Sandy Says:

    Well I see others asked about your technique on binding – I will eagerly await your instructions also –

    I envy your travels and wonderful subject mater and your blog is just lovely and one I visit often. Thanks

  12. Jane LaFazio Says:

    ah, the beauty of a stack of used moleskines!! Nothin’ like it! 🙂 I too love moleskines, for their tidy look, but I just use them as is. The sketchbook and the watercolor version, and I have both going at the same time. Good for you for makin’ them your own with you own special paper!

  13. Lost in Anywhere » Trumpetvine Travels Says:

    […] Un sketchblog intermittent, comme l’auteure le dit elle-même, des dessins très sensibles, une collection de moleskines impressionnantes, Martha est une habituée du croquis et de l’esquisse. […]

  14. Jana Bouc Says:

    I like how they’re all so nice and uniform. I work in multiple kinds of sketchbooks at the same time so I don’t have lovely matching volumes like that. I have a feeling at some point I’ll be making my own to be able to work on the paper I like. I can’t wait to see the pics of how you do it.

  15. martha Says:

    The new watercolor Moleskines are indeed quite nice. I do wish they didn’t have perforated pages though. For me, thinner 90lb paper is good because I can get a lot more sheets in each book, and the smooth HP surface suits my pen work.

  16. ParisBreakfasts Says:

    Those sketchbooks look fantastic! Have you tried the new Moleskine watercolor books? 200 pd paper and you can paint on both sides-very sturdy paper with a nice texture..

  17. Cindy Says:

    hi Martha, that stack of books is such an appealing photo 🙂 I am somewhat new to sketching in a book so so far I only have a pile of two! I like your idea for solving the terrible moleskeine paper, yes a demo would be great!

    and many thanks for visiting and your comment!

  18. martha Says:

    Thanks, everyone! I will put together some instructions and photos of the binding process when I do it again next week and will post them for you.

  19. bob Says:

    I so wish I could do something like this — I can’t even draw a stick figure — your work is so wonderful — I love looking at every entry…

  20. karen Says:

    This is great, Martha. Is it possible to share your technique for rebinding with the watercolor paper? I love the Moleskines to a point, but I’m still not satisfied with their watercolor books.

  21. lindsay Says:

    What a great idea! Its the cover boards I dread making. This solves the problem and makes the book JUST THE RIGHT size! Thanks.

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