I have a Moleskine notebook that I use for uni and the odd other occasions that I need to take notes.
I love my Moleskine. The pages are the perfect size and shape for how I use a notebook, and the pages are light, yet thick enough to stop ink bleeding through to the other side, and sufficiently textured to feel pleasing to write on.
The major drawback to a Moleskine is that it’s a physical, analogue medium, in a world in which I’m used to the conveniences of digital tools. The photos I take on my iPhone (which, I am only slightly surprised to admit, has become my most frequently-used camera) automatically appear on my MacBook Pro and iPad. Anything I need to remember or retain a record of goes straight into Evernote, which is not only synced between all my devices, but which are also run through Evernote’s free OCR service, meaning that even text within photographs I’ve taken is searchable. I’ll leave the triumph that is my (well, Peter Krogh’s) photograph-cataloging system for another post.
Last week I stumbled across Paper, which is an ostensibly free iPad app for notes and journaling. On the face of it, this should make it an excellent replacement for my Moleskines. However, it has a couple of drawbacks.
Firstly, the only tool available by default is a generic pen. There are a total of 5 tools available which, apart from the pen, cost either £1.49 each, or £5.49 for the lot. The free pen isn’t a terrible choice – I’d much rather have it than, say, watercolours – but it is incredibly hard to use without a stylus, which is the second major drawback. My writing isn’t massive and, to be honest, isn’t that terrible, but I find it hard to enter text by hand into this app.
‘Arty’ as it looks, it isn’t particularly functional for writing, which is what initially drew me to Paper. What it turns out to be very good for indeed, however, is quick sketches. For instance, even for someone who can’t draw, the following drawing only took me about two minutes, and zero effort:
Each drawing is saved automatically as a page, meaning that finding drawing and notes that you’ve made is a case of flipping through pages rather than scrolling through filenames. I’ve also found that it’s useful for drawing lighting diagrams:
I’ve also been using Paper to scribble diagrams of ideas for layouts for an upcoming group exhibition. It’s quite satisfying to use for this kind of note-taking because the book-like organisation system means that you’ve always got a record of notes that you’ve taken without having to manually save.
So, in conclusion, it’s a great app for scribbles and drawings. Not something that could replace a physical notebook, but an excellent compliment.