Discover more from Start Bay Notebooks - Pen and Ink Sketch Journal
Didn't you used to make notebooks?
How I accidentally made and sold thousands of notebooks around the world.
I do get asked, not surprisingly, whether I was the Start Bay Notebooks that made leather notebooks; and whether I still do. The answers are yes and no and it’s a strange one, because I never set out with any intention of being known for making notebooks - I just wanted to do things in the notebooks. So it’s really by accident that I happened to make and sell thousands of them all around the world.
I started off making one for myself. I already had a Midori (now Traveler’s Company) Traveler’s Notebook but thought that I could do better. Partly because of the leather, and the dimensions of the Travelers Notebook didn’t really suit me. But then other people wanted me to make them one - a lot of other people as it turned out. And it all began when I lived pretty much on the beach, but not quite, in Start Bay (yes it’s a real place in South Devon, England) so that’s where the name came from. The pictures above were taken in 2015 when I started selling the notebooks.
They were taken pretty much on my doorstep and I thought they looked cool. The boats belonged to the lobster fishermen.
And they soon became pretty well known, I mean not like Coca Cola, but kind of like it to a small but global set of stationery enthusiasts. I had some eminent visitors like Ian Hedley from Pen! Paper! Pencils! - one of the most well know stationery bloggers at the time who subsequently went on the become a noted graphite fine artist. He did the sketch above when he visited me in Start Bay.
So I got pretty good at making them, even if I do say so myself (see the Start Bay Paisley Navigator on the left above) but I really just wanted to do more inside them - I was doing sketches and posting them on IG years ago, like the odd one on the right above. I have always done this sketching stuff - I even did things under the pseudonym of Tom LeCarte at times (there was a reason for the name) in order to try and separate my sketching and being Peter from Start Bay Notebooks who people knew and… err, knew.
And, in the end, all good things have to come to an end - nothing is permanent. Apart from, it seems, cockroaches who have been around for something like 300 million years (but they are no advert for permanency). It felt like I had sent a notebook cover to just about everywhere on earth, and I pretty much had. And I was doing other things that were taking over my time so the notebook making came to an end about a year ago now. And now I am doing my other things; but my passion is always to sketch and journal…. so I just carry on in my own way.
Spare a thought for…
I am starting to post on notes some heart felt pleas for us to spare a thought for other people. This is my latest:
Spare a thought today for all the people who will feel they’re being judged by the shop assistants in a trendy clothes store.
This Substack is intended to expand upon the ideas of the pen and ink sketch journal, to provide examples, inspiration and ‘how to’ guides. From the simplicity of QUAD (quick and dirty) sketching, to the concept of worldbuilding for positivity, and to getting your thoughts and feelings out onto paper.
Thanks for reading this and coming on the journey with me. Enjoy the journey and the destination can just look after itself.
All the best,
The Pen and In Sketch Journal from Start Bay Notebooks Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.