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January 30, 2013


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Selfmade books are great! Yours look so beautiful!


This is awesome. I have tons of beautiful sketchbooks that are empty. Maybe this is my holy grail.
Or maybe I'm just lazy.
We'll see.
Thanks for sharing.

Danie at Pasadya

I just got one of your books in the mail the other day, and I loved reading about your notebooks on the back! I especially love the "Marc Johns' Crap: DON"T LOOK" notebook and the muscles drawing. I should try small notebooks...


I like the way you don't worship Moleskin notebooks:) Your appreciation of 'paper', putting serious artwork onto regular/5cents paper, makes you more successful.


Que legal saber mais sobre seu processo de criação! Sou sua fã.


do you bind them yourself or just staple them together?

Marc Johns

Hi Erica, mostly I just staple them together. But occasionally I'll make one with a paperback-style binding, gluing the edges and all that. I'll have to post some of those sometime as well!


excellent idea! i find that if i spend a lot of money on a sketchbook, i'm afraid to mess it up! i love these!


Thank you for showing us an "inside view" of your process and art. =) I loved it. Have you considered selling a photo of the book covers like you have in the post? I loved it and would love to have something like that on my wall.

I really like that you make your own notebooks. I'm going to think about that for myself in my own writing. My favourite notebook is the recession collection with the orange smudges. Did you put those there on purpose?

Marc Johns

Hi Stacey, I hadn't thought of offering a print of the book covers. Not a bad idea.
As for the orange smudges, those are just part of my sometimes messy process! Definitely not done on purpose.


I'm constantly inspired by your work. And I totally agree with you on having the pressure to do good in a nice sketchbook. I may steal your idea and make my own sketchbooks. :)


Hey Marc, I really enjoyed this post. My husband gave me two sketchbooks for Christmas, but after I fill those up, I want to make my own. How do you round the corners so nicely?


Marc, I will be awaiting the availability of the book covers print. =) The orange smudges definitely add to the look. It's like we tell our friends when we get lost showing them around town. Oh, we do this on purpose to show you around and enrich your experience of the city. ;-)

Katheriin Liibert

would love to see these notebooks full of not-perfect sketches on sale!


I love all your drawings, but this post is a particular favorite of mine. It's interesting to see a bit of your process, and you've helped me identify why I'm reluctant to draw more (It's those professional sketchbooks! So intimidating!). I've now been inspired to find something simple, and let my pen roam free.

Guilherme Martinez

Thanks for the reminder AND inspiration. I have to keep up with my drawing too, having a sketchbook always near is really important. But u said u don't want fancy ones 'cause they may block you from being afraid of making "mistakes", but your sketches are pretty good already! I share the same thought but my sketches are a big mess, plus, i write a lot. Well, enough. Thanks for posting :)

this is lemonade

Marc this is such a special peek into how you work. Thank you for sharing it! It's been inspirational for me to the point that I've gone and taken some action on it, aside from pinning the post for "future reference" :)
On my blog tomorrow! Thanking you, and wishing you many more notebooks full of great ideas :)

Marc Johns

Thanks for all your comments, folks! I've been meaning to share these for ages. And no, they will never be for sale :)


These are beautiful, you're very clever!
I like your ideas for the covers. Cool

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  • Marc Johns makes drawings and puts them on this blog, and sometimes he makes them for people like National Geographic, Google, Wired, Newsweek, Tommy Hilfiger, and Harper Collins. He has a book called I MADE THESE DRAWINGS FOR YOU. Many of his fans have tattoos of his drawings.

    He lives with his wife Kristen, two sons, and his drawer full of pens in Victoria, BC, Canada. Marc also finds it strange to talk about himself in the third person.
    Read more

    All images © 2015 Marc Johns. All Rights Reserved.

    You may blog my work, but always link back to this site (www.marcjohns.com). Please DO NOT remove my signature from them. And please don't put more than 5 images in one blog post without permission. Send your readers here to see more. Thanks!

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