About the notebook evolution

When I started to write on board of Transiberian Train the handwriting became horrible because of the train moves. I decided to stop. I was naive and my mistakes were the typical from a beginner. The evolution in the art of notebooking was teaching me step by step and at the right time every small detail which does a notebook worth. In those days missed the not straight lines kept the train essence itself and also I didn´t know the reality was the key to transfer the feeling of Transiberian experiences, in live and with fresh emotions. Since my first explorations abroad I was doing travel journals. A huge change happened when I got a book from the public library named “Travel Notebooks”. Among the authors in that book one of them kept my eye: Peter Beard. His aesthetic and obsession about notebooks showed me the way to another level and I understood the art of notebooking was an entire area to be mastered. One month later, in Summer 2007, I started a round the world trip for 9 months, my first travel using Moleskine. I had already used a couple of them in the previous months as private notes and agenda.  One thing was clear for me: It was the perfect container to store information and document a travel. Another mistake: Keeping different notebooks. I learnt later the notebook should be only one, wider than just a commonplatebook and it should be able to eat everything. A life notebook, a total notebook.

All was growing very fast and each notebook was much better than the previous one. That encouraged me to push ahead. I also learnt to improve every tiny detail from the calligraphy of letter “r”  to the final shape in the block of pages. I discovered new inks and verge paper, a milestone. Unlimited hours in my studio located in Donauwörth during Winter helped to the obsessive develop in the first Moleskine bound by myself with high quality paper. Since then I used Moleskine only for the covers. Ten years after the first Moleskine I did my own leather covers too and the notebook was 100% homemade, mandatory in order to establish a direct connection with them. The notebooks became more and more personal and also mystical. The possibilities were multiplied. Sometimes I felt admiration by Leonardo work, also about Codex Seraphinianus. If I tried to get some ideas from them, suddenly that new stuff was diluted into the aesthetic of my pages like a drop in a river. I had create my own style. Notebooks had been my teachers and they guided my along a new way. I was following that way filling the pages with extreme care and passion, more or less one notebook per year.

The pages accumulate ideas, experiences, hilarious inventions and any kind of notes. However one day someone asked me while holding one of my notebooks in his hands: “But, what´s the utility of this?”  I was not able to reply. Time later I thought if people use to buy cooking books because of their utility and among my pages there is a recipe to prepare beans, I could conclude my notebooks are useful, no doubt about it.


Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

The utility? How about being present to your surroundings and experiences? How about having a fantastically detailed way to remember what you did and thought? I could go on and on....but you already know all this! Keep up the good fight!

Anonymous said...

Can you give more information about the book “Travel Notebooks” that you pick in the library?


Muhannad Al-Nafisi said...

Do you know what the notebooks contain? Do you index them?

Ana Calzada said...

Hola José, en primer lugar, te traslado mi admiración por tu capacidad para crear esos cuadernos tan maravillosos.
Por otro lado, a mí también me gustaría saber cual es el libro que mencionas, lo he buscado pero no lo encuentro por ese título.
Por otro lado, ¿qué papel utilizas? ¿das algún tipo de curso de formación? Ya tienes una seguidora más, un abrazo,