Travel diaries are my very favorite type of book to make, so I think I’ll focus on those for a while to use up my various papers and bookmaking materials. I find beautiful books in the market but it’s quite impossible to find one to fit ALL my travel . This is my idea of an ideal travel diary, please share yours so I can try different things…
Size: Around A5 is perfect for me, not too small to sketch in, not too large to carry everywhere. Portrait, square, horizontal formats – I like to vary the format, the very experience of travel writing becomes as varied as my destinations.
Number of pages: Depends on the length of the trip. 50 pages is reasonable for 1 to 2 weeks if I can write on both sides of the page (and depending on the destination.) I avoid using big books for short trips, I can’t bear leaving too many blank pages. I end up writing a lot more than usual just to fill them!
Paper: Paper must be able to take watercolor and/or marker. This doesn’t necessarily mean very thick paper: Ingres paper for instance is quite thin but takes both beautifully, so I use it a lot. Sometimes I alternate two kinds of paper, one very thin for writing, one thicker for my sketches and painting. Sometimes I throw in patterned pages, not to write on but simply to inject a ot of color and inspiration – or random designs on some pages, like unusual page numbering.
Cover: Soft in front, which is more user-friendly, but hard in the back, so I can sketch without support. Definitely waterproof and able to take some beating, so leather and bookcloth are ideal I do like having a special design on the cover evoking that particular trip, if possible.
Binding: Any binding that allows the book to open flat. Codex is my favorite, simple and effective.
– An inside pocket is invaluable for ephemera I pick up on the way. Especially if I forget to take my mini glue-stick along, which happens a lot.
– Some way to tie the book shut is also a good feature to have, though I’m still exploring ways to do that satisfactorily (it tends to depend on the nature of the cover.)
– A bookmark. Not indispensable, but who doesn’t love those?
– A pencil holder, also not necessary, but can be useful.
That’s all I can think of at the moment, but I’m eager to hear others’ preferences 🙂