Friday, July 24, 2015

Travel Journal Primer 2, The Book

The best book is the book you will actually write/sketch in.


That being said I have some insights from my years of sketching and writing in all sorts of books.
So the are thousands of journals out in the market that are perfectly suitable for a travel journal.  You can also bind your own book.  Binding your own journal means you have the most amount of flexibly in what the bones of it are, but it takes time.  These days I have to chose my projects very carefully because time is not infinite the way it was before baby. 


There are are so many wonderful and inspiring books on how to hand make your own journal.  A couple of my favorite authors are Shereen LaPlantz and Alisa Golden.Your binding and paper options are limitless. However today I am going to focus on store bought journals, and what I like to consider when purchasing one for a travel journal.
Paper
Binding
Cover
Thickness
Size

Here is what I like in a travel journal and why:
Paper: although it can be overkill for just writing and add extra thickness and weight, I love watercolor paper.  That means I can use paint and glue without the pages wrinkling.  Several of my journals are in heavy sketching/drawing paper and came out fine but watercolor paper is the bomb! 135lb is a good weight. It also holds up better if I get caught in the rain or drop it in wet grass or such. 


You also may have a choice of lined or gridded paper.  Although I love grid paper, watercolor paper always come blank sadly.
Note: just found some interesting books of Mixed Media paper.  Have not used these yet but going to order now and let you know.

Binding: strong because you don't want pages falling out over the Great wall of China obviously.  I like that spiral bound books can be folded over, but that does not outweigh the annoyance of resting my hand on the metal spiral half the time.  (Although the spirals make great places to hang charms or treasures you collect along the way.)  So I mostly go for a stitched binding that opens flat.
 
Cover:  although heavier and bulkier than soft covers I like hard covers for the support when the only flat surface to work on is my other hand.

Thickness: how many pages?  That is really going to depend on you and how much you will use your journal.  I would much rather have too many than not enough pages, but who says you can't add more along the way.


Size: Once you start being choosy about all these other form factors, something has got to give unless you want to go back to binding your own.  (I have never actually found the "perfect" journal that fits all my ideals.)  I like square, 5x5 or 7x7 but not many journals are made square.  Just remember the more places you take it the more times you will use it.  So a giant notebook can hinder best intentions, although tiny journals can be limiting their own right.  

My Pick: Moleskine Landscape Watercolor Notebook it meets almost all of my ideals I listed.  




One other note- you can always add some specialty papers to a plain hum-drum notebook. Have you found the perfect journal writing or sketching but know you want to use some

wet media?
Just glue in a couple pieces of watercolor paper in the front or the back or scattered throughout. Viola!
I will talk more in depth about adding paper in a future post. If you want you can use on old book and do an altered journal for your trip. My big hesitation there is the integrity of the binding so keep that in mind. I would prefer to use pages from an old book to add to my travel journal instead.

1 comment:

JimB said...

Early Buddha monks scratched the letters into dried "ola" leaves and then rubbed the surface with a berry juice, removing the excess. These leaves then were held together by a "wood binding at top and bottom, and the parts laced together". They could not be carried around like we carry a book so they were put into a basket. The Pali Canon took 3 baskets and so was called Tipitaka or Three Baskets. So I was wondering about a 'Travel Basket'