Friday, July 9, 2010

By The Book

I have a blank sketchbook that has been waiting patiently for me to make the first scribbles on its clean pages. It's the first hardcover sketchbook that I've made myself. Making your own sketchbook is particularly satisfying, as it can be filled with any size and type of paper, and will most likely be of higher quality and a lower price than many sketchbooks available for purchase at art supply stores. Also, it isn't terribly difficult to make if you have the right tools and instructions. This book is a great resource for beginning book binding: Non-Adhesive Binding, Books Without Paste or Glue, Volume I, by Keith A. Smith. It can be found at, along with several other manuals for creating art books. The section on Coptic Sewing explains methods of creating an exposed binding which will allow the book to lay completely flat.

Supplies needed: curved needle, linen thread, small cake of beeswax, awl, paper, book board (Davey board)

These are both extensive sites for bookmaking supplies: (Ann Arbor, MI) and (Brooklyn, NY)

I used a combination of Rives BFK, Arches, and Somerset papers in different colors - white, buff, tan, grey, and black - for the pages of my sketchbook.
Now all I need to do is make some marks in it.

More Sketchbook Info

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

The Sketchbook Project 2011 Tour, a nationwide project initiated by Art House Gallery and Studios in Brooklyn, NY, will be accepting entry applications until October 31. This project is open to anyone and costs $25 to enter. Each entrant receives a Moleskine sketchbook to be filled, transformed, or reconstructed in response to a particular theme. Right now, there are 25 or 26 themes to choose from, including "Revenge", "This is Not a Sketchbook", "Lines and Grids", "I'm a Scavenger"... or you can have a theme chosen for you at random. The themes are not meant to be restrictive. In other words, your sketchbook will not be judged by how closely it follows your chosen theme. I believe that the only rules are (1) Don't return the sketchbook entirely blank, and (2) You cannot return a different sketchbook.
The sketchbooks will then tour the country, stopping at museums and galleries from Portland, Maine to San Fransisco. Afterward, they will become part of the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library. The interactive aspect of this traveling show is especially interesting - each sketchbook receives a unique bar code so that you can track yours at any time and you can also receive an email or text each time someone pulls your book from the shelf.

Dates: Sign-up by Oct. 31, 2010 - Sketchbook Postmarked by Jan. 15, 2011 - Traveling Exhibition Starts March 2011

One More Thing

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

A friend recommended this website to me and I haven't been able to stop telling people about it. is an online book club for people willing to do some trading. If you have books that you're willing to part with and send through the mail, you can trade them for books from other members. There's no cost for the books or to join the site. Media mail shipping is all you'll need to pay for, and it's cheap. The site can be browsed by category, author, etc., and there's a sizable art/art history section.

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