Paperblanks Stories: The First Collections

Every Paperblanks® book is inspired by world art and culture, by traditional craft and practice, and by visionaries, rebels and artists across the ages. Paperblanks Stories is a blog series about the origins and stories behind some of our designs. 

We created our first Paperblanks Collection in 1992. Back then it was a simple “line list” of journals that included a series of botanical illustrations by the 18th century botanist Georg Dionysius Ehret, Wildflower paintings by American Watercolorist Elsa Warnick and imagery from classic screens and scrolls produced during Japan’s famed Edo period.

A page from the first Paperblanks catalogue

The Follow-Up Collection

Soon after the first collection, we released new Paperblanks designs based upon Buddhist calligraphy, Zen brush artwork, early William Morris prints and a version of the Book of Kells, a famous manuscript from the Middle Ages. We also created series based upon early cartography, literary manuscripts, American writers, the woodblock prints of Ukrainian-American artist Jacques Hnizdovsky, illustrations by Barry Moser (author and illustrator of Alice in Wonderland) and nudes by Picasso, Matisse, Egon Schiele and Rodin – to name just a few.

How We Choose Our Subjects

Our chosen design subjects have always stemmed from a personal fascination and curiosity with a particular artist, art style or craftsmanship technique. No matter what this subject is, we’ve always pursued it with a singular intensity.

It’s accurate to say that we don’t produce anything unless we are passionate about it.  Some of these subjects we’ve re-visited and evolved as we’ve gained more experience in print press production.  Prints by William Morris, the sketches and notes of Leonardo Da Vinci, works by Auguste Rodin, the Book of Kells and our Embellished Manuscripts are a few examples of this.

Other series we’ve produced only for limited runs.

What remains consistent, however, is that every year we renew the full Paperblanks collection, each season adding new designs to our seasonal catalogues.

Currently, we offer 368 different books to choose from – each possessing its own unique design and format.

From Buddhist calligraphy to visionaries, rebels and artists from all ages, we search out what inspires us, what challenges us and what feels authentic.  Thankfully, our world is full of creative wonder and genius.  The staggering volume and range of human artistry – from any century or time period – remains our muse.

We’re Open to New Ideas and Suggestions

Many of our designs have been brought forth to us by the people who use and love our notebooks. Which is why we want to know: What inspires you?  Are there any artists or particular works of art that you’d like to bring forth to suggest to us for album covers?   If you have ideas to suggest for designs to cover, or you are an artist yourself, you can send us a message and let us know here, below in our comments section, or on any of our social media platforms (Facebook or Twitter).

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