Sneak peek

The long-promised kimono kids are penciled at last, waiting for inking. (A Japanese colleague kindly pointed out that the absence of feet was characteristic of ghosts, as only brides and actors wear floor-length kimono, so I’m adding feet in the final version!)

The ideal travel diary

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 🙂