Friday, March 10, 2017

A No-Excuses Quickie Sketchbook

Being a huge fan of Danny Gregory, I was psyched to see his book Art Before Breakfast in the new releases section. Naturally, I checked it out and dove right in. Being a book about creating art, it quickly became clear that this wasn't going to be a typical passive reading experience. To get the full benefit of Danny's wisdom, I'd need to follow along with the simple exercises. No problem, I was up for this. I mentally committed myself to starting his 'Monday' exercise next Monday.

There's only one pre-requisite to to starting the exercises: you need a pen and sketchbook. Pens I got. But the sketchbook, that's another story. On one hand, I could use one of the partially-filled in books I have lying around. Or, I could buy a fresh sketchbook in honor of the occasion, but then I need to figure out how large it should be, how many pages it should contain and how much I should splurge on it. Then I thought about just using index cards instead of a sketchbook, but that got me worried that the small size would be too much of a hindrance.

I could definitely see how this one innocuous requirement was poised to derail the whole process.

And then it hit me: I'll just make my own improvised sketchbook. Surely there's advice on the web for doing this. I'd be happy if it had only enough pages to get me through the first week or two. And if I made it, it would be very much in the spirit of the Danny's advice (be creative! don't worry about being perfect!).

So, off to the web I went.

While there are some impressive How To's out there for making sketchbooks, the approach I needed boiled down to this:

  • Grab some printer paper
  • Fold said printer paper in half
  • Nestle the pages together
  • Bind
  • Admire your beautiful handy work!

Tutorials like this one are quite impressive, and take you through all the details of the assembly process. I assumed that I'd tackle the 'bind' step by using sewing technique outlined in the tutorial. However, I found this YouTube video which showed a technique for using staples instead. I figured staples would be faster than sewing, though after having gone through the process, I'm not so sure.

Anyway, here's a few action shots from my 15 minute craft fest:

A few comments on the above. First off, I was hoping I could find some high quality paper used for printing resumes on. Alas, I haven't printed a resume in over a decade, so I had no luck finding any. But I did find some random graph paper which I decided to use as a cover.

I used the sharpie as a bone folder and a large push-pin as an awl.

As you can see, I'm hand inserting and bending staples. This was finicky work and was made easier by using a needle nose pliers. Next time I'll have to try sewing, as I bet it's faster.

And the final step just shows the new notebook smooshed between textbooks. I'll let the sketchbook hang out for a day or so there and see how it looks.

The end result is that I've got an imperfect sketchbook that's perfect for what I need.

Incidentally, during my research I learned how you can quickly make a mini sketchbook by using nothing more than a single sheet of paper and one cut with a scissors. The results are too small for my Art Before Breakfast homework assignments, but they're perfect for 1000 other uses:

Definitely take a few minutes and create yourself a notebook or two.

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