Partly, I customize them so that they are easier to recognize and find if lost. Instead of just looking for a generic, small sketchbook, I can tell people to look for something more unique. By customizing it inside and out, it’s easier to spot, and frankly harder to get away with stealing.
Mostly, though, I just like that, through customization, it truly becomes mine. I think if I have already given it love, already spent a good time with it, that when I sit down to create art with it I’m more comfortable. We’re already good friends, so to speak, and the problem of setting down that first important line is taken care of.
Comfort is important when starting new art pieces, even if it’s just sketching. In my studio/office, I’m surrounded by the things I love. Monsters, funny posters, books, even (gasp!) my own older art pieces. The environment allows me to just sit down and get to it, wrapped already in the muse’s love.
But I typically am not sketching in my Moleskine at home, it’s almost always a loud, foreign environment. Buses, coffee shops, waiting for concerts, and so on, places that aren’t always inviting to someone creating something. That’s where customizing the Moleskine, having the right pencil or other tools, even the right music, makes enormous difference.
So when I’m sitting on the loud bus, or listening to the terrible people at the next table over in the coffee shop, I can look down at my fancy sketchbook and get some manner of peace. I can go off into my own world, and no one can stop me. Not even myself.