Aug 19, 2011

Introducing.... My Sketchbook

Ready to be painted on..

Handbound sketchbook
New sketchbook meets my old sketchbook :)

Ah! My sketchbook is ready! Here is my new friend.. All hand bound – with some favorite cover papers. The whole binding journey was interesting! You would already know if you have ‘read’ about what I am up to these days and how I stumbled into an interesting bookbinding site.

Why did I decide to bind one? Hmm, because I was tired of looking around the house for one of the many sketchbooks I am using, because I didn’t have the right media at that time! I’ll pull out watercolor and then go looking for my watercolor sketchbook; or have just pen and wouldn’t want to waste a watercolor page with pen marks on it!

And because I was so totally in awe with the sketchbooks that other artists bind! They look so so yummy! I just had to try it!

I totally recommend anyone who’s been eager yet unsure of binding their own books, to just take the leap! It is not overwhelming – not at all if you do what I did. I combined steps from 2 different places and went ahead. And some reading of binding experiences by other artists through the last few months only helped me make some good choices.

Here’s what I did to get this book up:

What all did I use:

1.       Paper (or different papers) of your choice
I used
Drawing paper
Bristol paper
90lb watercolor
140lb watercolor
2.       Patterned/Colored Paper – For the cover of the book. I went by Dani’s suggestion (from Dani Draws) and bought some scrapbook paper. I used a construction paper strip for the spine.
3.       Heavy board –  from the back of a couple writing pads that were going to the trash anyway!
4.       Glue - Regular white glue
5.       Brush to apply the glue.
6.       Needle – Regular stitching needle
7.       Thread – I used thread from a new dental floss. Or you can use a strong regular thread with beeswax applied on it. I didn’t want to go through all that trouble with no idea what each thing was – but I read from one of the other artists that a dental floss works well since it is strong!
8.       Knife for cutting paper
9.       Cutting board – a must
10.   Ruler
11.   Awl / thumbtrack to make holes.
12.   Ribbon – optional; for a bookmark or so.
13.   Elastic band – optional; I didn’t use it – it can keep your pages together when you are drawing.
14.   Paper towels for wiping excess glue.


I am just going to lead you to the sites I referred to:
Moleskine Reloaded
Dani Draws
Artist's Journal Workshop - You have some interesting links under the topic 'Bookbinding and Lettering Resources'

1.       Book Block – Either site
             1. Cutting paper – Moleskine Reloaded
             2. Creating Signatures – Either site
             3. Punching - Moleskine Reloaded
             4. Stitching - Moleskine Reloaded
             5. Trimming – Dani Draws

2.             Cover
             1. Cutting cover board
             2. Cutting Spine board
             3. Cover paper
             4. Spine paper
             5. End paper
             6. Gluing

3.             Putting them all together

Note: I followed the instructions given in Dani’s page for most part of the binding.  It is explained in a simpler fashion compared to some other sites that I had visited. She has some good pictures to support her steps too. So I cut my paper and created my signatures.  But I got confused when I came to the stitching steps. So I followed Moleskine Reloaded for the steps Punching and Stitching. There you have a lot of detail in explanation. Am I contradicting myself? Well, I needed some detailed explanation when it came to stitching the pages. But only for that.
I came back to Dani Draws for Trimming and the rest of the steps.

End papers

Ribbon bookmark

Handbound sketchbook


Closing end papers

Good choices
1.       For the sake of simplicity, I just took papers of the size and bent them into half. I didn’t bother with making them into a 5X7 or so sized paper. This is only my first sketchbook after all!
2.       Kept it simple – bought nothing costly or fancy. Used paper that was there at home.

Bad choices
1.       Started with no cutting board but a soft board. In no time, my table was marked with a couple of scratches!

Hope it was all helpful :) and hope you enjoyed reading through it!


Prema said...

kudos to u for doing such a wonderful job! Not many would go out of their way to bind a book instead of buying one...but u have put a lot of effort into it and wanted to make it happen. That's some resolution!

Shalini said...

Thanks Frame!

Ruca said...

Shalini, your book looks great! Congratulations. There's no going back now. You'll never be satisfied with a purchased journal ever again! And your details of which site you used for each part of the process is very thoughtful. I'm sure many folks will be thankful.

Laure Ferlita said...

Beautifully done and great tutorial as well!

Shalini said...

Thank you Ruca and Laura..
I now have the first page jitters.. Oh but I am in no hurry to start drawing in it yet either - with 2 other current sketchbooks

freebird said...

Your book came out great! The only thing I wonder about is the dental floss. I know in jewelry making they warn us to stay away from it since it's biodegradable but then so is linen and cotton threads which are commonly used. I've made some with mixed paper. I learned I need to stick with mostly wet media paper or watercolor paper but I didn't know what I would be using to start with so I think you made a great choice in using mixed papers. You'll see what you use or don't and how much so your next book will be more finely tuned. You did an outstanding job on this book!

Shalini said...

Thanks Freebird.. I didn't know that dental floss may not last too long.. Maybe I'll try something else next time..Jewelry making sounds good - maybe I can use that thread :)