I’ve started drawing again. I don’t remember stopping, but at some point in my “growing up,” I apparently did.

Somewhere, I think, my mom has a kept crayon sketch of multi-colored triangle girls, boxy men, and lollipop trees from my early years. I took a class or two on drawing and shading when I was around 10ish, and eventually graduated to pencil and charcoal. Secret City Adventures on PBS was an obsession for quite a while, as was drawing most of the Peanuts characters on old manilla folders.

My dancing showed a lot of promise, according to my instructor. I tended to lug a camera around everywhere, though I didn’t often have spare money for film and developing.  Growing up, I loved having a sketchbook or notepad on hand, and art supplies were a frequent birthday or Christmas present. My room contained wonders enough to delight most artistic children: books, paper, paints, pens/pencils, kneaded erasers, cheap cameras and the freedom of not being “in school.” I had enough natural talent to get me started, but not enough drive or discipline to maintain any momentum on my own.

It has often been a regret of mine that I never had music lessons, or continuing lessons in drawing or the arts of any kind. I always think that maybe, had I had some structure like that, I would have accomplished more as an artist. Perhaps, now, I would be a successfully starving artist, instead of having a nice, low-stress union job.

So, why the sudden burst of reminiscing? Well, last week, my very first Moleskine (mol-a-skeen-a) arrived in the mail. I’m a bit of a sucker for notebooks and have been wanting to get my hands on a Moleskine since I first saw them. I think it was at Powell’s City of Books in Portland, years ago. I never really felt I could justify the price. So, a couple weeks ago, when I ran across a few for a good price online, I couldn’t resist picking a couple up to give them a try.

The pocket sketchbook won the vote, and was the first to be opened and used. A few days later and I am wondering why I never made the investment before! I’ve been going about my sketchbook buying all wrong before this. Extra large always seemed like the best deal, thought sometimes I would settle for medium sized sketchbooks as a compromise for portability. This past weekend, I have been drawing like I used to draw when I was young (only better, surprisingly). With each page filled, old memories are flooding back and sketching/doodling/drawing is suddenly fun and relaxing again. The reasons for this have been slowly occurring to me, and I have added them to the following overview of this sketchbook:

Moleskine Pocket Sketchbook

Size: 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches (Pocket)

This size is ideal for me. Unlike past sketchbooks, the pages are tiny and less daunting. I realize now that the smaller pages invite me to use them. I don’t feel like I am wasting a whole page with a doodle, or that I need to draw something epic. It’s easier to pack around in my purse/tote/pocket, and will obviously get used more by just being with me.

Binding: Hardcover, thread-bound signatures

Stitched binding is a must for this kind of book. Years ago I switched to spiral bound notebooks, though not ideal, because I couldn’t stand not being able to lay my notebooks out completely flat. I’ve always preferred the look of a hardcover book, however, and this little beauty flattens right  out.

Paper: 80 pages of acid-free, heavy, top quality

I’ve heard some complaints about the number of pages and the smoothness of the paper in the sketchbook, but both work well for me. 80 pages is a nice, doable number of pages for a book this size. It’s thick enough to sit nicely in your hand, but not bulky. Filling it up should take a little while, but not too painfully long either.

I am in love with the paper! I’m typically a pen or pencil sketcher, so it works perfectly for what I do. Many other sketchbooks I’ve used have had too much “tooth” to them for my taste. Something significant about the paper hit me yesterday: it reminds me of those old manila folders I so loved to draw on as a child. They were my favorite, and I don’t think I’ve loved drawing on anything else quite as much. Now I’ve got something oh-so-similar, nicely bound in a convenient little book. It’s glorious!

Other features:

Elastic to hold it closed, ribbon bookmark, pocket inside the back cover

Moleskine

Powell’s Books

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