Sketchbook Wrap Protection

On January 3, 2020 I posted about my participation in Roz Stendahl’s group testing of the Clairefontaine Watercolor Sketchbook. In addition to Roz there were five additional artists who tested the book, each of us completing a single signature which Roz returned to us when her review was complete and published.

As a single signature it was vulnerable to creasing without the protection of its companion signatures and hard cover. The best way to offer additional protection would be to either make a slipcase or a wrap.

I would have preferred to make a slipcase but since the signature was so thin I realized it would be difficult to measure, cut and glue a slipcase that slim; the wrap was the better alternative.

I first painted a sheet of 300 gsm / 140 lb. watercolor paper with dilute acrylic paint and cut it to allow the flaps to overlap and cover the signature. I rounded the corners and made two tabs with corresponding slots for the closure.

The wrap has nearly no spine thickness to accommodate labeling so I put all the necessary information on the front of the wrap.

It’s now off my work desk, well-enough protected to be filed away as finished, tucked away with my other previously completed sketchbooks in one of my “remote” storage boxes and I’m ready for the next project.

Testing the Clairefontaine Watercolor Sketchbook

Back in May 2019 I was asked by Roz Stendahl to be one of a few artists to help her test an A5, landscape format, Clairefontaine Goldline Watercolor Sketchbook provided by the Clairefontaine representative.  Roz started out the testing before sending the book along for each us to fill a few spreads using various techniques and media.

I decided to fill a signature by testing assorted techniques: watercolor, water-soluble inks, gouache and watercolor pencils.

I was the fifth to work in the book and unfortunately by the time I received it the stitching was coming undone and the book pages and signatures were separating. I really enjoyed working in it but even the best watercolor paper can’t overcome poor construction. This can be seen in the video Roz posted in conjunction with her comprehensive review of the book. You can also see Roz’s testing and the testing from the other artists at the same link. Their work is exquisite and their comments enlightening.

This was a great opportunity for me to clarify what I look for in a visual journal. I know I’ll continue to experiment with commercially bound books because it’s just too much fun not to… but I also won’t give up binding my own books with my favorite papers in my favorite formats either!

Thanks Roz!