If I were a fish, the ideal lure to catch me would be one that looked like a notebook or pen. Maybe a Red Lamy with some Field Notes hung on the back. Yeah, that would do it.
I cruise the stores, looking at every notebook and pen I can put my hands on. In a way I’m lucky that the selection in Quebec City is so poor or I’d need a second house to hold my collection. One of my favorite places is the dollar store. It’s not because I’m cheap; my favorite sketchbooks are Stillman & Birn, after all. I don’t scrimp on my ‘regular’ sketching surfaces.
I check the dollar stores regularly for cheap, small notebooks in which I do the quick-sketching I do as often as possible. I’ve filled about 20 of them in the past three years, though their contents have only rarely made their way to this blog. These are 3×5 or 4×6 books that generally cost me a couple bucks and contain 75-100 pages. I scribble in them constantly.
So I was in a dollar store this afternoon and found a new item – mustache notebooks. The neat thing about them is that they have both toned (light brown) paper and white paper. There are 96 pages divided into 6 stitch-bound signatures, with the white signatures in the middle of the book. The covers are simple brown cardboard with felt mustaches and glasses glued on them.
Kinda cute but it was the blank paper inside that caused me to snap up three of them for $2 each. Suddenly it was a great day. As I was walking home I couldn’t resist the urge to try out the paper so I stopped in a park and got out my Namiki Falcon with Platinum Carbon Black in it.
Generally the paper in these cheap books isn’t the greatest, and my fountain pens tend to bleed through a bit and there’s always ghosting. These are quick-sketch books, after all, so I overlook those failings.
The paper in these books is quite thick, however. I’m guessing but I’m guessing 70-80lb paper. And was I pleasantly surprised when I put ink to paper. There is no feathering whatever, at least in this quick sketch but more important was what was on the back of this sketch – NOTHING. There is no ghosting and no bleedthrough. I’m going back tonight to buy some more.
Love your sketches, Larry. I too live in Quebec and am curious to know which dollar store you found these at. Sounds like a must have.
Awesome find! I wonder if our US dollar stores have them. 🙂 I love that they include both toned and white paper.
I wouldn’t know, Katie, but it’s worth a look. Like you, I was immediately drawn to the possibility of having both colors of paper. The fact that the paper is actually pretty good for pen and ink is a bonus. — Larry
First the answer to your question and then a question of my own. I found them at the Dollar Store in the small, Charlesbourg mall on 1st Ave. I suspect that many of them will be getting them, though, and have them for a while. I went back and bought half a dozen more last night.
Question: You live in Quebec City??? Let’s go sketching, then. If nothing else, let’s arrange for you to come and have coffee with us. You won’t find us very special but we’re a lot of fun (grin). Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers — Larry
What an amazing find. Proves that it can pay off to go looking for paper and whatnot in variety stores!
True, Viktoria, and besides, it’s lots of fun. I don’t expect to find first-class watercolor sketchbooks but for my quick-sketching, I’m constantly looking for small, blank books. These really look like winners and since I only have 8 of them, I’ll probably buy some more (grin).
Cheers —- Larry
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