Stephen Martin // In each mark, stain, and rip.

Stephen Martin // In each mark, stain, and rip.

I am so grateful to be able to call Stephen and Lola as our Baum-kuchen friends in Los Angeles. Whenever they stop by our studio/shop to check out new items or just to chat with us, they bring such bright energy. I was super excited when Lola ordered the custom TSL Engineer Shoulder Bag for Stephen's birthday a few years ago. I knew that the bag would be well worn-in and loved by Stephen for many years ahead. Every time the bag "visits" our studio with Stephen and Lola, I make sure to take a moment to admire every aged details. They truly embody the analogue lifestyle as a couple. I am excited to share Stephen's Love for Analogue story. I hope his story makes you smile as it did for me.  Enjoy:) 


I live in beautiful Pasadena, California with my gorgeous wife Lola and my devilish Boston Terrier Kaiser. Lola was actually the one who introduced me to the wonders and magic of analog stationery. She is 100% more of a master of stationery aesthetic. Lola has been keeping a Traveler’s Notebook for years, and I watch in awe of how organized and together she is with it. Her designs in her notebooks are amazing. I often find myself just looking at her notebook for inspiration.
I work as a Children’s Author and screenwriter here in Los Angeles. My newest children’s book, Stewart’s Best Pen, is actually coming out this Christmas - it’s about a boy and his best friend… which happens to be a ballpoint pen. Yup - I really do love the analogue style so much I wrote a children’s book about it. You will be able to find it wherever books are sold.

One of my hobbies is Polaroid photography – I’m obsessed with analog photos as well as instant photography. I attend the vintage camera show here in Pasadena every second month hunting for old Polaroid cameras, beat up Kodak brownies, and radical Rolleiflex. I love the imperfect nature of the film stock and the feeling of holding memory in my hand. 

I’m super excited that The Superior Labor has started making camera gear under their Hachigahana label. Their camera straps have already got me all stylish when I’m taking snaps of my dog in the park  (all the other dogs be like “Who’s that human – he’s so stylin’ with those analog things”), and their camera bag is perfect for my sx-70 – my all-time favorite camera!

I also LOVE old postcards - myself and Lola attend the vintage postcard show in Glendale every second month searching for classic California postcards we can send to our siblings and parents that live all around the world. Sadly we are the only ones that have sense enough to live in the best place in the world: Sunny Southern California. 

On these postcards, we love to use as many stamps and stickers as we can. Lola, of course, is much better than me at designing the cards… she even has a rule that I’m not allowed to touch the really nice ones. 
I am super passionate about reading. I love love love love to read. Be that comics, screenplays, novels, pulpy paperbacks, or children’s picture books, I am obsessed with stories in all their forms. Much to my wife’s chagrin, our house is overflowing with books. We have them all over the house, tucked in corners, packed in credenzas, hidden under beds. Our house is bursting at the seams with books.


I use my analogue system for work. I use a Roterfaden with Midori unlined notebooks inside. I refuse to use anything lined. 

If someone gave me a another type of notebook I would actually give it away, use it for kindling, or keep it in the car for the possibility of an emergency bathroom situation.

I don’t know really why, but I am very, very, specific about the tools I use. I’m kind of crazy about it. Midori unlined notebook (lines are constrictive and stop my flow) and small unlined notecards for breaking the story into beats. And it’s all written with my pilot custom Heritage 912 Japanese Postal Pen, using only, and I mean only, Take-Sumi Iroshizukku black ink… all other inks can fall into a giant hole and die a slow inky death. All these things are thrown inside my Superior Labor shoulder bag along with my MacBook, and together we go on a two-block trot to the Vromans bookstore where I sit in the coffee shop writing. Also, I forgot to mention… I pay for my tea (not coffee …. Yuck) with my superior labor wallet.

Why analog over digital? It’s not really a question, is it? I write books. Books are meant to be held and read… not looked at on a digital device. I like things that age, tarnish, and stain. I get my notebooks dirty, I smear ink on everything. And food stains. Well, let’s just say there is evidence of everything I eat on everything. I guess I like to see the passage of time on the things I use.
 Each mark, each stain, each rip tells a story and when I look at them I remember that story.
“A life well lived and well loved” – for me when I buy something like a Roterfaden, a Superior Labor bag, or wallet, I will use that wallet, that bag, that book for the rest of my life. It will bruise, it will scar, it will crack and tear… it will age like me. Now when I leave this world, my bag, my wallet, my book will remain and hopefully be fought over tooth and nail by mine and Lola’s children. Fingers crossed an actual fistfight breaks out, or some kind of blood feud erupts over the ownership of my Superior Labor bag.
I’m very lucky to work in a creative field where I get to spend my days dreaming up heroes, villains, sidekicks and cats that are so cute they make you explode (this is an actual story of mine – coming 2020 with Simon and Schuster). 
My inspiration comes from my beautiful wife, my insanely evil dog and the countless comics I consume. Whenever I’m stuck on a story beat, I hop in the shower... Or should I say cooking pot? I keep the temperature at just under scalding hot. I find that’s the perfect temperature to clear my mind, crack the story beat and cook my insides.

Be kind – just be kind – is my personal motto. 
My wife is one of the kindest, sweetest people on the planet/galaxy… sorry, Captain Kirk. She has devoted her life to helping others through her practice as a therapist and through her, I have learned that kindness to others is something that everyone should live by.


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