Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spicy Sketchbook

Kristin LaFlamme here. I've been attending a life drawing session once a week and my sketchpad is almost full. I've been working on kraft paper and I love it's medium tone which allows me to work both in dark pen or pencil for the shadows, and in light for the highlights (check out my Flickr set if you're interested in seeing the drawings). 

This month's theme colors, with their warmth and medium hues lent themselves perfectly to a new sketchbook. I'm learning that I like to work on something with a good deal of body and some "tooth." Watercolor paper is great for lots of collaging and paint, but I figured Canson Mi Tientes pastel paper (which I remember fondly from my life drawing classes in college) would suit my needs just fine.

I folded each sheet in half three times to make eight leaves (called an octavo in bookbinding). Six of these octavos was plenty to make a hefty 6.5 by 10 inch book.

I splashed and pushed around watercolors on my white sheet to coordinate with the other colored pages and give me an automatic background to work with.

Using my favorite book arts guide, Cover to Cover by Shereen LaPlantz, I sewed the book together using a pretty traditional binding method. Then I changed my mind. Although I loved seeing all the different coors in the exposed spine, it meant that the spread between colors would have a gap of daylight and I didn't want that when it came time to draw in the sketchbook.

I took out the binding stitches, added the leftovers from trimming up a recent quilt which serendipitously had autumnal mushrooms on the backing, and stitched again. Ahhh, that's better. I played it kinda fast and loose covering just the spine and sewing it directly to the first and last pages, bringing the tapes out through the cover, and sewing without regard to tidy, straight lines. I like the casual look, and it will encourage me not to be too precious with the contents either.

I'm looking forward to trying out my new, spicy, sketchbook at the next life drawing session.


  1. LOVE your spicy journal cover and binding. Makes me want to get a little Less casual!

  2. I love the look of this journal. You inspire me to make another of my own!

  3. Wonderful! Love anyone who makes their own journals!