Sketchbook #11 – A Variant of Tied Binding

Book-11-Side-ViewFinally finished editing the pics from making Sketchbook #11. The last several books have used a tied binding, but with the strings hidden under the cover wrap. This time I decided to use exposed ties, inspired by this method described on

I thought this over for a while before making it. I love the look of strings-as-design-element, and wanted to use jute twine, but had a feeling I would not love thick strings at the center of every signature. A little testing proved that notion was correct. I decided to do a hybrid wrap, combining my usual upholstery thread inside, and jute twine outside.

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A Pocket Sketch Kit

Pocket-paletteI spontaneously decided to pick up a pizza one night and found myself with 20 minutes to kill and nothing to paint with. Curses! So I made good use of that time thinking through initial designs for this.

The plan was to create a unified thing that would hold paint, water, brush, something to sketch on, and a bit of paper towel to wipe the brush. It had to be 100% self contained – not that it’s bad to put a brush in a pocket, but in this case I wanted something that was entire and complete by itself, with no extra parts to forget. The palette could be limited but had to be adequate for general painting. Ideally all the parts would remain attached, so there’s nothing to drop while using it. Finally, I wanted it to fit in a back pocket, so it would be easy to grab-n-go without having to think about it.

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Making the Starry Sketch Kit

My sketching tools go nearly everywhere with me – what it’s stored in has to be ready for any situation. I wanted something with a little class, very “me,” and just the right size. It had to hold the requisite art stuff, possibly a phone, and some ID. Any number of purses would have done the job, actually, but I’m not really into carrying purses! Some messenger bags looked good as well, but they were too big. Oh, and I didn’t have a huge budget for this either. Nothing out there really was just exactly right. What to do?

Why, make something of course!  Read more

Beads and Wire

Bead and painted closure I’m designing a small case, like a mini messenger bag, for my sketch kit. It needs something cool to close it though. Thought about that for a while and came up with a solution based on a little thing that’s been sitting around on my bead board.

Once I had the idea, I painted it out at lunch today just for fun. The original bead design is on the sketchbook page, but it was at home – I did the sketch from memory.

About 6 x 6 on Fabriano CP 140lb.

Originally posted on

A No-Sew Hardbound Sketchbook – Demo

Sketch 9 Finished closedFinished 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.

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A Mint Tin Palette – Demo

finished-box-open Gum-PaletteI’ve wanted a mint tin palette for a long time, and finally decided to build one. The thing that tipped me over the edge (besides being unhappy with all my other travel palettes) was opening a pack of gum and finding this plastic carrier inside.

Looks like a mixing area to me! I’m forever dropping mixes at the sides of the palette, because the edges offer a place to wipe the brush and squeeze out more paint for the mix.

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