June 8, 2023

Master Builder Notebook

Call me old fashioned, but I like books and paper. Yes, I have recently started transitioning to digital books and drawing. However, there are some things I just prefer to do on paper. I still prefer doodling on paper. I still prefer paper agendas and planning. Consequently, I was intrigued to learn of the new Master Builder Notebook from LEGO® x Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books is an American publishing company with a number of LEGO®-related items in their catalogue. Notably, many will recognize them for the LEGO®-themed puzzles they produce. However, they also have a number of books and notebooks, including the Master Builder Notebook.

NOTE: This product was provided by Chronicle Books and the LEGO® Group for review. The provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review.

Master Builder Notebook from LEGO x Chronicle Books.

The cover of the book consists of thick cardstock attached to a thinner, paperback style binding. The front cover includes a spinning cardboard disc that allows some cover customization. Spinning the disc changes one of the minifigures featured on the cover, as well as the central message. Messages include “I’d rather be building”, “Warning! Building in Progress”, and “Master Builder in Training”. Two of the Minifigure designs are male, and one is female. The book opens to an introductory page for journal enthusiasts to fill out. Additionally, you can indicate if you dream in Minifigures or bricks. None of these features are necessary for journaling, but I thought they were quite cute from the perspective of a LEGO® enthusiast.

The cover features a little customization potential.

Inside, there are three main page types. The first section includes 36 sheets of grid paper for sketching builds or Minifigure designs. The margin of every fifth page includes lines for annotation of steps, while the top gives space for the date of your project and goal. It is not an incredible amount of space and includes lines for only three steps. Consequently, the concept limits you to fairly simple ideas. Is it a fun idea? Sure. However, I would rather have simple, blank quad sheets. The title space for concepts is good though. Additionally, I enjoy the LEGO® facts interspersed through the pages.

The first section of the book consists of grid paper, great for sketching builds.

Master Builder Notebook quad paper.

The second section of the book consists of 30 sheets of dot paper. Again, every fifth page includes an introductory section. You can write the dates of your project, the goal, and how you are feeling about the project. While you can use the grid paper in the first section for drawing Minifigures, I argue that this dot paper works better. You have faint dots that still allow you to gauge scale. The grid paper is perhaps better for tracing bricks. Similar to the first section, these pages also feature motivational phrases and LEGO® facts.

The second section of the book contains dot paper, great for sketching minifigs.

Master Builder Notebook dot paper.

The final section of the Master Builder Notebook features 31 regular lined pages. This section is great for brainstorming your MOC ideas and documenting them through completion. Every fifth page includes a progress bar of bricks you can color in to keep track of how far you’ve come. Like previous sections, you also have space for a date range and goal. However, I kind of feel like the “I feel” minifig heads from the dot paper section would go better there. I see myself using these lined pages to document my thoughts about progress on my designs. That process often includes stages of frustration or pride or whatever else.

The third section of the book contains lined paper, great for documenting your thought process while building.

Master Builder Notebook lined pages.

In addition to the main sections, the books also contains list pages. These include topics like “sets I want to build…” and “Minifigures I’ve loved…”. I do like to make lists, so those were fun pages to discover as I leafed through the notebook. While not related to building or designing in anyway, I like the inclusion of these pages. I do not know which project I will start documenting in this book. However, the list pages make the book accessible from the get-go. I can start writing my lists without designing anything until I am ready. At the same time, starting the lists keeps the book at the forefront in my mind so this journal doesn’t just join the stack of journals and notebooks I have that are waiting for just the right project. I feel like starting simple will inspire me to get more complex sooner.

The Master Builder Notebook also has fun list pages!

List page from the Master Builder Notebook.

Themed journaling books are hit and miss in my opinion. Everyone’s process is different, and themed notebooks follow the journal creator’s process, not necessarily yours. The Master Builder Notebook falls prey to that. I think the “I feel” headers are misplaced. I also don’t particularly like the limited space for steps in the first section. LEGO® instructions do not contain written steps either, so simple grid paper would be more effective. On the plus side, the brick bullet points on list pages are great. Additionally, while I don’t like their placement, I do like the “I feel” minifig heads. Overall, the sections of the book work well for documenting your projects though. Despite some minor misgivings, I like this notebook. I will use it… once I decide which project is just right for it 😉

I dream in Minifigures.

The Master Builder Notebook came out March 22, 2022. Oddly enough, it is not available from major Canadian retailers at this time. Neither Indigo nor Amazon lists the product online. You can order one from the American Amazon site1, but shipping will not be free. Additionally, you can order it straight from Chronicle Books. What do you think of the Master Builder Notebook? Let us know in the comments below or on social media. For other LEGO® book reviews, click here.

Until next time,


1Affiliate link – As an associate of this retailer, True North Bricks earns a commission from purchases made using this link.

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3 thoughts on “Master Builder Notebook

  1. Still traveling backward through my reader catching up. So Digital reader… I have never used a phone so much in my life. Kindle on my phone is the best part of having it, no more paperback book in my back pocket. I know, not your point. I felt the need to try and bring you into the telephonic device filled with thousands and thousands of books. 🙂

    1. LOL – I have to admit I have books on my phone… I like a good audio book while I drive… But writing? Planning? For that, I’m still paper and pen all the way.

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