We are blank book and notebook fans at home. We have a bunch of them completely filled up with poems, journals, drawings, sketches, notes; and some others are half-full or still empty. This paper love is shared (and beaten) by Leonardo Cruz Parcero (Mexico).

Leo likes books since he was a child, and when he began to travel later on, he always had a notebook with him to write down “in words, the stories, the feelings, the brushstrokes of the places and people” he visited. Nevertheless, these notebooks did not fascinate Leo enough to consider them a good traveling companion, so he decided to create his own.

Leo learned the basic techniques of his trade, bookbinding, 20 years ago. His workshop, located in the city of Coatepec, Veracruz, dedicates itself to the art of making books.

Notebooks, books, book restoration, and special editions, are made there, and Book History and Bookbinding courses are given as well.

My trade has to do with recording memory through specific languages, such as spoken words and graphics. So I’ve looked for a way to create a nice, comfortable, and lasting medium for these human languages. Also, by restoring old or ancient books, we help preserve one more little leaf from human culture’s great tree.


First, we start by designing the book or notebook that we’re going to make. At this point, we observe and select the materials. We fold and sew the sheets of paper together into a single volume. The interior finish of the book is done using a wide variety of techniques, some of which – like certain sewing techniques – have been used and enriched for over 2000 years. Then, we make the cover with hard cardboard and leather, recycled or handmade paper, and fabrics previously prepared for this process. We put the parts together and give a nice finish to the book, because we try to follow two principles: functionality and aesthetics.

Leo was born in Mexico City, but 12 years ago, he settled in the Valley of Zoncuantla, amidst coffee plantations and what is left of an ancient cloud forest near Xalapa, Veracruz – a place that, in my opinion, inspires one to make things for human beings, but in harmony with nature. . Leo’s books and notebooks are a good example.

¡Thank you very much, Leo!

-From Make: en Español, Elena Balderas