I’ve recently been looking though some of the notebooks I’ve filled up throughout the years. The earliest ones I have (here in the apartment, at least) date back 10 years or so, and when I think about that it leaves me a little amazed that I’ve lasted that long and also that they have.
Most of the notebooks I’ve kept are the graphing paper kind that I got hooked on in freshman science class. I’ve always loved drawing houses and other technical things and graph paper was the obvious solution, but finding it was a pain until I was turned on to the notebooks of the stuff. My absolute favorite was the Mead Five-Star series with the vinyl cover and sqares that were .20 inches square rather than .25 inches square. At some point they changed to the .25 inch size and I didn’t like them as much anymore.
I also have a couple sketchbooks from college, but to be honest I really didn’t fill up many of those. I did a ton of drawing in classes where I should’ve been taking notes, and so that’s why I have about 10 lined notebooks that are kind of school-related but are mostly random drawings of cars and other miscellany. It extends to work as well. My main job through college was in a call center and when I wasn’t taking notes or assuaging people I was drawing. I think I actually ended up with some decent stuff but it was just alot of quick and dirty ideas. That was probably the part about the job I enjoyed the most; as long as I did a good job (I did) it didn’t matter whether I was drawing pictures all over my notebook.
There was a brief period in college where I was playing around with the idea of doing a comic strip, but it didn’t make it off the ground. Regardless, I have about 10 rough strips spread around in different stages of completion, and some of them actually made me laugh aloud. In addition there were pages filled with character sketches where I could see myself working out little details of the design I didn’t like.
The most important thing about these is that they really act as a type of chronicle for my life at the time. It was a place to deposit ideas and feelings, much like this blog is. The biggest difference is a lack of structure or clear date, since I was never obsessive enough to date drawings that I did. At the same time, I can look at something and for the most part know when it was made. They are something that I will continue to hold onto so in another ten years I can look back and say “man, I’m glad that’s over.”
I’ll leave you with a quote that I found in one of the 70-sheet college-ruled (way better than wide-ruled) Mead notebooks. I don’t know when I wrote it or why, but I must’ve liked it at the time and I still do:
Once upon a time there was a boy.
He liked to pretend he was an animal.
One day, he put on a horse costume.
He was never a boy again.