Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hand-made sketchbooks

So I finally came to that point in my life: I am making my own sketchbooks. I realised that I am only as good as my tools. I cannot pick up any sketchbook and any pen and draw something nice. I am a slave to certain types of paper and if I don't have it - I am useless. And if I have it, but it's wrong size - it's as good as nothing. Or if it's the right paper, the right size, but a pen stumbles on it - it's like I am missing the best half of my brain. Thus, I am learning a beautiful art of bookbinding.

In the last few days I managed to produce three rugged little books with different paper inside. All paper was cut to smaller size, folded and sewn together into two or three signatures per book. Apparently, it's called "Smyth sewn", people. I am learning. The result is not pretty, a little crooked, but perfectly functional. And cheap. Much, much cheaper, than the real sketchbooks. Which, by the way, solves another problem: sometimes I get so intimidated by a fancy sketchbook, I screw up just because I am that terrified to botch a beautiful off-white page spread. Not with these babies! They are hideous! they do open flat, but some of them don't really close...

I was thinking how to make the covers of my books at least a little bit prettier (they are just a very heavy cardboard), and finally came to a very neat decision if I may say so. There are a few helpful rules or tips for sketching that I'd like to remember while I am drawing and I never do. So what I did: I wrote them right on the front covers of my hand-made sketchbooks. Here! Now I always have my ten or so commandments   at hand.

What are the results of all my efforts? I think they are pretty damn good! I tried working with watercolors on a nice smooth vellum kind of paper and it worked beautifully. Then I tried color pencils on porous soft drawing paper - and it worked pretty well too! Happy, happy!

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