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Because I Think It Will Be Of Interest To This Community

It was late on Friday when I saw the tweet from Scott Kurtz, and later one from Katie Rice. Rice and Kurtz (and now me) are backers of a Kickstart for a customizable notebook, and it strikes me that this is exactly the sort of thing that comics creators will love, so I’m surprised to not have seen any others yet.

Let me back up a moment.

I’m a sucker for Moleskine-type notebooks¹, but will admit to being disappointed by the actual brand over the past couple of years. Yes, yes, covers with The Simpsons on them, wonderful, but the hard covers and indestructible bindings that first made me love Moleskines have been compromised. So when a London design shop decided to offer customizable notebooks, in sketchbook dimensions (A5, or 21 cm x 15 cm²), with your choice of paper (plain, ruled, or dot grid in ivory; sketch, or pure white) in heavy weights (90 to 140 gsm), your choice of elastic band and ribbon bookmark, and full color DIY covers, I was hooked.

And in case you don’t feel up to designing the cover yourself (instructions and templates are here [PDF]), Book Block are offering your choice of prefab designs:

We will be putting together a selection of limited edition notebooks for you to choose from. A number will be from our artist friends, and we’re hoping to draw some from the crowd. All artists will be paid for their work. [emphasis mine]

If I wasn’t in before reading that last line, I am now because project leader Stefan Johnson is paying his designers. I spent a couple hours on Saturday messing around in GIMP wrestling my design into the template and saving it at 600 dpi. Up top you can see what the template looks like, with design to the right on the front cover; the spine and back cover will be plain white. If you click the next link, you can see the image that I’ve chosen by itself and rotated for legibility.

This, my friends, is Figure 1 of Claude Shannon’s A Mathematical Theory of Communication [PDF]³, the basis of information theory, the wellspring from which all modern communications theory derives, and not coincidentally why the internet works. If you are me, it (and Shannon) holds the same importance that, say, the double helix (and Franklin, Watson, and Crick) would for a biologist. It is the closest thing in the world that I have to religion or spiritual belief; it is the only thing I’ve ever seriously considered getting tattooed on my body.

But I won’t necessarily get my notebook.

Here is where I should disclose that I backed the campaign at a level that requests blogging in exchange for early bird pricing; I assure you that I’d have been writing about this project regardless, though. See, since I backed Book Block on Saturday, only another thirteen people have pledged, and the project sits now at a mere 20% of goal. While Kicktraq has the project trending towards 140% of the £10,000 goal in the 40 days remaining, I am not willing to leave this up to chance. I want my personal philosophy encapsulating notebook, dammit.

I know that at least some of you want a sketchbook that is uniquely, unmistakably yours, in which case you should be checking out the campaign while it’s still running. With a promised delivery date of November, this could make an excellent holiday gift for the artistic type in your circle (or, given that it’s a Kickstarter, a belated holiday gift, depending on which holiday we’re talking about).

Spam of the day:

Dear PayPal User , you have been noticed that some limitation have been placed on your Account this is part of our security process and helps ensure that we continue to be more safer and secured . This means that from time to time we have to make changes To remove limitation from your account , we have posted recent updates on our website.

You bozos know I don’t have a PayPal account, right?

¹ Not to mention Moleskine-inspired comics.

² Call it 8.25 x 6 inches.

³ Originally a paper in the Bell System Technical Journal, July and October 1948. With slightly different contents, it was published the in book form the following year as The Mathematical Theory of Communication, with supplementary material for a general audience by Warren Weaver. Consider the former to be the Vulgate and the latter to the be King James Version.

Oh, Gary, I too love the Shannon model! I was first introduced to it in a management course at library school to illustrate human communication – and it so resonated with me!

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