This Journal Belongs To: Suzy Ultman

The Chronicle office has been buzzing the last few weeks with new inspirations, brainstorms, and big ideas for 2013. Good thing we just so happen to be the lucky publishers of a plethora of journals all perfect for keeping track of to-do’s!

This year I’ll be touring our latest and greatest journals by getting in touch with the talented artists who illustrate them. This month, we take a peek inside the journal of Suzy Ultman, the wonder woman behind a cornucopia of adorable Chronicle stationery and gifts. She created the Storybook Journal with the look of vintage classics in mind, and with a debossed cover this journal looks and feels just like a collection of old fairy tales.

I asked Suzy how she uses her own, and it turns out she’s a die-hard list-maker. Here’s a look at the list of lists she keeps in her journal, all sprinkled with adorable Suzy doodles, of course!

I love making lists. Always have. As a teenager, I re-wrote my class notes in notebooks and journals just for fun, listing out science-y facts or bullet-pointing homework assignments.

These days, I like to keep my list-making creative and fun. My journals are a place where I can explore ideas and goals, keep track of thoughts, and organize concepts. It’s also a way to revisit places I’ve been, and think about the places I want to go.

The best things about lists…
1. They are easy to keep.
2. They are never-ending. You can always add bits, delete parts, and come up with ideas between the lines.
3. There’s no greater sense of satisfaction than adding something new to your list, or crossing something off of it.

The Storybook Journal has become my go to spot for list-making. The detailed cover is a constant source of inspiration. It’s almost like the quaint characters are suggesting lists for me to make.


I started my Storybook Journal with some brainstorming, by jotting down lists I’d like to begin. Hey, it’s a list of lists!


I have scraps and scraps of paper with color pencil markings. I decided to organize my color thoughts for a project where I need boy, girl and gender neutral color stories.


Sometimes I like to paste a little pocket into my journal. As my book list grows, I can add cards to the pocket.


My boys & I like to bird and critter-watch. We call our backyard the “Nature Channel”. I was actually reminded, by my oldest son, that I forgot to list banana slug on this list.


I keep a post-it like this in my wallet (minus the doodles) with our household grocery essentials. I add everyday lists like this to my journal, and use them for drawing exercises. Sometimes, nothing is more inspiring than a quick post-it list.


I am constantly on the hunt for good pens. These are my favorite! They all live in my totable pencil case, so they can go wherever I go. Most of these pens can be found at Staples or Blick. For the Japanese pens, check-out:
Muji Pens
Delfonics Pens
Paul and Polina Pens


This list is ever growing. It comes in handy for creative writing, and also sparks visual ideas.


I like to approach each day with thoughtful, positive energy. If I need a nudge in that direction, one or more of these mantras always helps. I love making additions to this list.


Inside the giant clog is my very special travel wish list. It is especially fun to cross items off of this list!

Special thanks to Suzy for sharing her journal with us.

Caitlin Kirkpatrick
Editorial Assistant

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1 Comment

  • Katie H. January 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks for the post. It was actually really inspiring. It made me start thinking of the lists that I should start keeping. It also inspired me to start being more creative with even the most "unimportant" pieces of my day—such as my written time sheet.


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