Sketchbookery Sketchbook and a Fix!

Tuesday is new lesson day in Sketchbookery… and I spent the afternoon watching class videos. ( … and Germany slaughter Brazil in the World Cup semi-final.)

I also made a certified Mary Ann Moss sketchbook!

The covers were salvaged from an old copy of A Manual of Style selected for its gorgeous orange color… that and the fact that it only cost 50 cents! No bookbinding tape so I needed to get creative when it came to making the spine.

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I’ve done some bookbinding and have made homemade book cloth by bonding a length of fabric to tissue paper using fusible web… something like Wonder-Under or Heat n’ Bond Lite.  That I had!  I cut a 2 inch strip and bound it to the covers using PVA glue just like Mary Ann showed. Want to do this but don’t think you have PVA? Well, that’s what Elmer’s glue is! Yeah, maybe it’s not “archival” but I’m making this for me… not for eternity!

After it dried it was time to pouch the holes. Nope, no fancy Japanese Hole Punch thingie either.  Just used my thickest awl, a sharp needle (ouch) and standard 4-ply bookbinders thread.  Love the look… but it doesn’t stay completely closed!

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Maybe I have too many papers or they’re too thick or I didn’t bone them down enough to get a good crease but at an inch it’s just a titch too tight at the spine. But I can fix that too!

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I made an elastic band to go around the journal! Actually, I make them for all my journals. I schlep them around in my purse and the band keeps the papers from getting dinged up. If you’re interested in making one for your sketchbook, it’s just a 2 inch band of elastic I got at my local Joann’s, stitched together with the raw edges sealed with a zig-zag stitch. Nothing fancy.

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Now for the unexpected benefit of the elastic band… It keeps my pen with my sketchbook and I never have to hunt for the pen in the black hole that is the bottom of my bag!

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You can see it’s fairly low profile, protected as it fits in the space between the pages and the edges of the cover. My Lamy shown here is a thick pen; if you carry something thinner like a Micron, it’ll nestle right in there.

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Can’t wait to use it but I guess sketchbooks are like potato chips… can’t make just one. Sketchbook #2 is drying right now!

Stillman & Birn

For the last year or so I’ve been following the Stillman & Birn blog and entering each giveaway as they are posted but no luck until earlier this month! I’m so excited… I was one of the winners of the February giveaway! I was given a set of 12 Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolor pencils and a choice of either a Beta or Zeta 8.5″ x 11″ sketchbook.

I’ve been using a Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook for the the majority of the pages seen on the blog lately and I love the white vellum pages. After searching the blog for other artists’ images, I decided to opt for the Beta.  Same white pages but thicker and slightly more texture… it’s billed as cold pressed.

Stillman & Birn Contest 1

Stillman & Birn Contest 2

I hate to have more than one sketchbook going at a time… it’s one of my many quirks… so the Beta will just have to wait it’s turn, but it’ll definitely be next.

I’m also going to have fun playing with the watercolor pencils. This  set of 12 has both a warm and cool of the three primaries, two greens, two earth colors, a gray and a black… it seems to be a perfect basic combination!

 

Thanks Stillman & Birn!

New Sketchbooks… Finally!

Five months, that’s how long it took me to finally finish my new books!

Way back in September I tore down a dozen sheets of Strathmore 500 Mixed Media paper, one of my favorites for visual journaling. Folded into folios and collated they formed 36 signatures… 72 folios, 2 folios per signature. Using 9 signatures each I was able to make four book blocks.

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As I bound them I included sewn-in endsheets of a single folio of Canson Mi-Teintes. Clockwise from upper left:  South Seas, Parma, Green and Plum.

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And then they sat, taunting me from the carry-case where I put them, safe ’till I could glue up the spines and case them in. There was plenty of time to finish them but every day brought more procrastination.  As I was working on my TO DO list I realized I could accomplish a lot by just finishing those d*#n books!

I set to work collecting my tools and supplies… pencil, ruler, X-acto knife, PVA, mull, book cloth, and cover paper.  Cover paper! … but I don’t have any!

I decided to paint my own cover paper using another Strathmore paper, this time their Aquarius II. Luckily I had some in my stash. It’s a cotton/synthetic blend which resists buckling when painted, even with very wet media. I’ve been experimenting with acrylic inks and decided to color coordinate them with each journal’s end sheet.  Monday afternoon I splashed water and inks, mostly playing wet in wet but also testing drawing with black ink and filling the shapes with color. The pomegranate paper came from that trial… I love it!

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If you look closely at the dots in the uppermost turquoise book you can see I also used a little pearlescent ink for shimmer. Acrylic inks don’t change the hand of the paper and aren’t sticky as acrylic paint often feels, especially if the paint is layered on too thickly. I noticed on my previous journals my handmade book cloth didn’t hold up very well. The corners wore down to the boards, most likely due to the use and abuse my journals get knocking about in my purse. I always have one with me.  This time I used commercially made navy book cloth for both blue papers and black for the others.

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Ta Da!!! Four NEW approximately 8 inch square sketchbook-journals!

Hmmmm… I love them all… which one is your favorite?

 

Sketching Reboot — EDM 22-18

Way back in 2012 I heard about a group committed to sketching every day in the month of May. I did some searching  and found Wendy/Quirkyartist and Liz Steel/Borromini Bear planned to do what has been called EDiM… Every Day in May. They spread the word to use the Everyday Matters Challenge list starting with #100 and go in reverse order for the month.

I thought it was wonderful that there was a list of 100 sketching prompts out in the interwebs for me to use. Little did I know that I would find the list was much longer. As of now there are 328 drawing prompts! The full list is kept by Karen Winters and can be found on her blog.  This is turn led me to Danny Gregory, friend and sketching guru to those of us who found our artistic way later in life.

I started in on May 1st 2012 with #100 and decided to work backward to #1 and then pick up at #101 and work my way to 328. Even allowing for lapses and my other work I thought I’d be further along than I am now.

Sheesh! I was working fairly regularly on the list when I hit #22 – Draw a piece of clothing. I don;t know what it was but the list just kept getting transferred from sketchbook to sketchbook and that piece of clothing never got it’s day. I did plenty of other sketching… I even drew my clothes as I packed for my vacation.  But I didn’t label it as EDM 22.

I only had a few more pages to go in my sketchbook and again I thought of moving my list to the new journal.

NO!  I will not move it without making progress! … Earmuffs count as clothing, don’t they?

140206 edm22The spell has been broken!  I finished the sketchbook (one of my handmade books with Fab. Art. 140# soft press paper) with EDM 21.140217 edm21

EDM 20, 19 & 18 have been the first entries into my new Stillman & Birn Alpha. This is a new sketchbook for me and it’ll be interesting to see how I like the paper. I noticed how white it is right away. Boy, the colors just pop!

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1402120 edm18&19You can see some buckling at the bottom left where I painted a fairly wet wash.  It flattened as it dried and now seems to be within my “acceptable” range. The Alpha has a lot pages so I better get used to it… 124 pages… that’s twice what I have in my beloved Strathmore 500 Mixed Media Journal. The paper is slightly lighter,150gsm to Strathmore’s 190 gsm, so we’ll see. It’s always fun to try new things.

Breaking a Slump

Today as I got on the treadmill for my regular 50 minute trek I pulled out my iPod and plugged in my earphones.

HORRORS!!! … the battery had no juice!

Now I shouldn’t have been shocked by this.  I’ve been in a bit of a slump. Two weeks have passed without me going to the gym.  My music just sat in the bag, all its charge draining away.  This slump has also invaded my artistic life.  Sure, I’ve been working on lessons for a class I’m taking… but my daily personal journal?  … the one I take with me everywhere… uh, no new entries.

So I gave myself a kick in the butt, put on my gear and got back on the treadmill.  I was a bit concerned about my lack of tunes.  Could I go the distance?  Would I give up early?

I did not!  In fact, I had an amazing workout!  And no, I didn’t  walk longer or harder, nor did I break any records.  But I did have breakthrough.  No longer bound to mentally sing along with my playlist, my brain was free to just wander.  I planned this post and another and decided how I wanted to finish a few sketchbooks I’m binding.  I even decided how to break the stalemate I have with my journal.

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So, next time you find yourself in a slump try a little exercise and be sure to try it at least once without a soundtrack.  Just go where your body and mind takes you.

Why Keep a Journal

Your journal can be a memory keeper and a tool for inner exploration.  It is a receptacle for your hopes and dreams and an incubator for your creative expression.  You can create a journal meant for public consumption, as an Art Journal would be, or it can be private, a place where you can bare your soul.  You can use it to hold ideas not quite formed… a place where you can return time and time again to revisit those ideas and build on them.

In the last few weeks I’ve watched this video innumerable times.  It speaks to me.  I do bind my own journals, not exactly like these, but my intent is the same.  My journal is my friend and accompanies me as I travel through life.  A place for reflection.

Many thanks to Mary Ann Moss of Dispatch from LA for bringing this to my attention in her blog post.

I’ll show you a few of my journals next time… ’till then, please enjoy listening to the birds and visualizing yourself inside these lush images of Penland, North Carolina where Paulus and his students create their books, or as Paulus says himself… “portable studio”.

Soul’s Kitchen from TOTM Film on Vimeo