Finished a new sketchbook tonight, and took a few pics. This is my ninth handmade sketchbook and fifth hardbound. The first hardbound book I made in Feb 2012 used a sewn binding that is closer to traditional bookbinding. Since then, I experimented with different options; all five books look quite alike standing together on a shelf, but the underpinnings differ – and some fared much better than others! The last one worked very well though. Except for a few scuffs and dings, it looks as good as the day I made it.
That one was much easier than the first book linked above, and yet held up to daily use and abuse for the 6-9 months it takes me to fill one of these up. It’s really Rosemarie Lütken’s idea done with fancier materials, and looks/feels like a professionally bound book when it’s done. Here’s how I did it.
I find lighthouses are irresistible subjects when I want to test some paper… there is no better excuse to paint a sky!
This is some 140lb Fabriano Cold Press that I’m considering for the next sketchbook. Have been using various brands of 140lb rough for the last three books and decided to change it up a bit. I like using something different in each, keeps me from getting stagnant.
I painted three water birds to check out the Garza Papel 140lb sample sheets. Here’s bird #3, a Brandt’s Cormorant. Source image courtesy of stalksthedawn in the WetCanvas Reference Image Library.
Garza 140lb CP, PB28 Cobalt and PBr7 Burnt Sienna. Some of the darker grays are PB29+PBr7. Painted him with thoughts of the compromised young Brandt’s that practically flopped onto my feet during a morning beach walk a few weeks ago. He was struggling to move out of the surf zone and it almost seemed like he came to us for help.
My view while painting the shells, and a transient self portrait.
Spent several hours this morning at the beach. Some kids were playing jump rope with a piece of giant kelp that washed up, meanwhile I was doing this.
We had a little cool weather this week, and it blew out all the September smog. The Port is back, and so is Palos Verdes!
Not trying to be cheesy with the porpoises, there was a large pod swimming back and forth all morning. One stand-up paddleboarder was surrounded for a while, he must have been pretty stoked.
I decided to paint a series of shorebirds on some of those lovely Garza Papel sample sheets. For extra fun/practice I am doing them without sketching first, just put up a ref and dive in. The Great Blue (heron) turned out nice, so I decided to do an American Avocet next. It was an adventure! I thought others might benefit from seeing a rescue operation in progress.
The short version: Better to plan ahead than try to fix things!
Testing a free sample of Garza Papel. I’m in love!! They have a standing offer for free samples, which I highly recommend if you’ve never used their paper. Now that I’ve tried it, I’m dying to purchase and make a sketchbook out of it… have to save up first though. It will be worth it.
Cobalt blue PB28 and Burnt Sienna PBr7. I mixed the samples up accidentally, this one feels like 140lb CP. It’s about 5.5″ x 7.5″.
The reference was a Great Blue Heron, although the red came on too strong and it’s looking more like a Little Blue Heron. Oh well. No base sketch, I just went right in with a wet brush, for the challenge.
Originally posted on WetCanvas.com.
This is the last page in my sketchbook, finished today. I painted an imaginary door on the first page and I kind of like to end a sketchbook with a reprise. This time, I painted the front porch of the house I grew up in. Not sure it’s my best work ever, especially the cast shadows from the rosebush. Still, good times, good memories of a place that only exists in my mind now. (The building still stands, but it’s been remodeled, new owners and it’s just not home anymore.)
I spotted this Mars-Staedtler pencil set on sale at the local art store a few months ago, and it went into my basket immediately.
Looked like a nice travel palette to me! And when I got it home, turns out it holds 27 half-pans as nice as you please.