Thursday, March 23, 2017

A No-Excuses Quickie Sketchbook - Hand Sewn Edition

One decision that worked well during my week of daily drawing was to use my own hand made sketchbook. This sounds more impressive then it was: I took a few sheets of printer paper, folded them, and stapled them together.

This approach worked well for two reasons. First, there was the psychological benefit of dealing with a low page-count, zero-cost notebook versus an thick, leather bound affair. And second, publishing my content to the web was made easy. I sliced down the center of the book with an X-acto knife, laid the half-size sheets of paper out on the counter, and snapped photos. And just like that, I was a published artist.

While the staple binding of the last notebook worked, it required more finesse and time to assemble than I wanted to spend. For my next notebook, I decided to take a page out of the book binding world and sew my creation together. Again, this probably sounds like a complicated thing to do, but it's quite easy. The steps are laid out here, and take just a few minutes to follow.

I used the most crude tools: an awl from my toolbox, some masonry line and an oversized needle I happened to have laying around. Here's some action shots:

Even with the crude instruments, I ended up with a perfectly usable notebook. Sewing was definitely faster than trying to hand place staples.

While considering my new sketchpad I realized that it had one obvious shortcoming: without a hard cover, it wasn't easy to draw on unless I had a hard surface to rest it on. In other words, this notebook worked great for drawing my breakfast, but probably wouldn't be ideal for on scene sketching.

As a work around, I grabbed an old 3 ring binder that wasn't being used. I measured it for the size of the notebook and sliced it to size. I then put some duct tape on the edges. See:

The 3-ring binder cover had a slot for holding sheets of paper, which I re-purposed to hold the sketchbook. The result is that I can stuff the sketchbook into this pocket, and then fit both items into my man-bag.

I've now got a perfectly functional, extra low stress, drawing setup. All I need is the time to put it to use.

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