Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Take On Visual Sketchbooks

Lately I have been following with interest Pam RuBert’s posts about keeping visual sketchbooks organized. She collected a great list from her readers on how they tackle this – check it out HERE.

I'm no different...I too struggle with organizing and collating my sketches for easy reference. Recently I found a solution that has worked for me. I now sketch, draw, stencil and mark as I make the sketchbook….Weird huh? But this works.

Each one of my books contains several drawings related to one theme. They are all bound together into one book that is dated and signed. I got this idea from Dorothy Caldwell, whose work I love.

Here's how it works:
I start by slathering (yes, almost sloshing) black India ink on a large sheet of really nice white paper and let it dry. I work pretty fast using a foam brush, or sometimes I even pour the ink directly on the paper, let it settle a bit, tilt the paper etc.

My aim is to produce a rich contrast between the black of the ink with the creamy white of the paper. Acid free card stock quality paper or similar is very satisfying…

Then I cut the large sheet of inked paper into several 4’’ x 8½’’ stacks.

I fold these in two and arrange them into signatures ready for sewing into a sketchbook.
There are several online tutorials on how to sew these little books together.
Pam has a link to THIS ONE on her site. My favourite is a Coptic stitch bookbinding technique I found HERE. It is fast and fun to do.

Normally this would be the end of a sketchbook making exercise, but for me this is only the beginning. In my next post I will describe how the bookbinding and sketching come together and feed off each other!


Kim Bennett said...

I carry a sketchbook with me every where I go.... every artist should.

This would be a great idea by making it yourself; it can become more personal to you.

Interesting doodles in the links.

Fellow blogging student,
Kim Bennett

Maggie said...

I missed Dorothy's worskhop in Kingston due to bad weather. working with the india ink looks like fun.

Kit Vincent said...

Hi Kim,
Thanks for your comment. I too carry sketchbooks (they are all over the place)great way to capture gem ideas on the run.

These homemade books however are a little different...

hi Maggie,
We worked with India ink but din't really get into sketchbooks at the workshop. Yeah, I remember the weather on both those days - yuck!