Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your own?

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Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your own?

Postby MagiKelly » Thu May 28, 2015 10:36 am

As I mentioned in my into I do a bit of leatherwork and make my own book covers. These are refillable and I am always on the look out for refills that will suit. I am always worried that I make a book and that then I will no longer be able to source the inserts / refills. Luckily I came across this tutorial on making up text blocks which are ideal for refills for my covers. You can make it any size and more importantly with any paper.

This came to mind when reading Russ's article on the various Moleskines and how some were ideal size wise but not ideal for watercolours. Well not you can make up a notebook the size you want with your favourite paper. I have also found that made this way the pages will lie flat when open. So here is the tutorial, not done by me I should add.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGQ5P8QVHSg

The same person on YouTube also has tutorials on making Moleskine type books where again you can use your favourite paper.

You can buy journal / sketchbook covers cheaply on eBay and etsy to put your insert in. Below are some I have made but I don't sell these they are just made for myself and friends.

My current every day carry sketchbook.

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One I just finished for a friend

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And a selection of others I've done just to show the range of styles. You may notice a slight geek influence ;)

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In case you have more of an interest in making your own cover I did a tutorial over on Leatherworker.net that gives a bit of a run down on the steps. It is here for reference http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.ph ... opic=63818
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby Russ » Thu May 28, 2015 10:08 pm

These are amazing! Now I'm drooling!
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby Alitogata » Fri May 29, 2015 1:45 pm

:!: :!: :!: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: FANTASTIC..
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby Andre Jute » Fri May 29, 2015 11:40 pm

Supercaliphragilisticexpialidocious!
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby Alitogata » Sat May 30, 2015 12:40 am

Andre Jute wrote:Supercaliphragilisticexpialidocious!


Mary Poppins?? :lol:
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby Andre Jute » Sat May 30, 2015 12:59 am

Right on!
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby MagiKelly » Sat May 30, 2015 8:07 am

Thanks for the comments. I do enjoy making the covers. I just need to make more of a push to use the one I have as a sketchbook. Still both sketching and leatherwork are creating things so do satisfy that need in me.
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby Russ » Sun May 31, 2015 6:35 am

There are lots of postcard sketchers out there, and I bet a leather postcard size jotter would be big hit. I've seen jotters for business cards and 3X5 cards but have never seen one for postcards.
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby cestjeffici » Sun May 31, 2015 9:56 pm

Here is what works for me:

Levingers Circa punch and whatever paper I like in what ever mix I like in whatever format or size I like. Not necessarily pretty but very practical. I use hard cardboard for covers.
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby BeginAgin » Sun May 31, 2015 11:27 pm

My wish, too, Russ. I use the square Stillman & Birn and Pink Pig for my sketch
journals, but for paintings I like to use the 140-lb post cards.
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby BeginAgin » Sun May 31, 2015 11:31 pm

MagiKelly, that is beautiful tooling. And the covers are so
great. What does the inside look like--pockets inside the
covers?

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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby MagiKelly » Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:26 am

Hi Annie

There are no pockets as such inside. Jus the think leather stitched in to hold the "covers" of the insert. Of course you can slip thin things in here to store them like the odd photo or the like.

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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby mdmattin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:27 am

I just completed the latest iteration of the Montanapolitan Croptic sketchbook. It's similar to the last one (which was built on the earlier Neapolitan, augmented with cryptic stitching, but instead of the Arches 140 lb (300 gsm) I used the 90 lb (185 gsm) The 140 seemed out of scale for such a small format - it took a lot of water to get it primed up and the grain was a bit coarse. The 90 is closer to the Moleskine watercolor book, which I like. I also substituted the Canson Biggie sketch paper with Borden & Riley #234 Paris paper, which has a smooth, Bristol-like finish, but on a lighter, more flexible stock, and added more pages becasue I go through it faster than the watercolor or toned paper (which is still the same Strathmore Toned Gray). Still not winning any bookbinding prizes but gradually improving my coptic stitchery. I'm hoping to get faster a making these, because although the cost is very little, the time spent making it has a slight chilling effect on using it. In the end I don't begrudge the time, because I like having a sturdy book that will survive weeks in my back pocket and use in all sorts of adverse conditions, but I need to get the steps under my fingers instead having to go back and watch the admittedly delightful Sea Lemon tutorial every time I do it.

montanapolitan croptic sm.jpg
montanapolitan croptic sm.jpg (88.91 KiB) Viewed 2322 times


I thought the white on black layout lines for the denim cover looked kind of cool.

layout-sm.jpg
layout-sm.jpg (157.07 KiB) Viewed 2322 times


Matthew
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby MagiKelly » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:50 am

That looks great. If you made a reusable cover then it would save you time as you only need to keep making the pages inserts. It also means you could swap inserts with different types of pages for different trips.
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Re: Cant find a sketchbook with the right paper. Make your o

Postby Andre Jute » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:18 pm

Making a reusable slipcover isn't hard at all. Here's one i knocked up in an hour, deliberately rustic because I intended using it for plain air painting in acrylics and suspected it would get paint dabbed on it.
http://coolmainpress.com/andrepaintings ... cover.html
Note that I made it A5 or roughly 8.5x6in so that commercial sketchbooks also fit, as demonstrated in the last photo. Normally this book carries 380gr canvas sheets stapled together (with an electric carpet stapler) around interleaves of waxed paper (tearoff palette paper is good) so that I can close it on a painting that hasn't dried if it starts raining.

Nor is it difficult to make a sketchbook without any stitching or stapling or glueing at all. In fact I now prefer the method I worked out at http://coolmainpress.com/andrepaintings ... hbook.html
for building a sketchbook with no fastenings, among other reasons because it permits me to take any spread out and put it on the inside of the signature and use it as double page spread, so that I can, in the example referenced, make a quarter-imperial sketch in a very reasonably sized book and without an unsightly gutter. Simplified instructions for this one at
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2163&start=240#p20744
I've found this method of construction wears well in both sizes I've tried it with (A4 and A5), without any tendendy to fall apart in use; I suppose the texture of water colour paper helps and in the smaller one which gets the most handling I've used elastic to hold the signatures so that any thickness of paper/signature/book is smoothly accommodated. Actually, in the smaller one it has worked so well that I have made it as thick as the cover would allow, about three quarters of an inch.

The metric A sizes are wasteful to rip from an imperial sheet, but when you get to the smaller rips and folds of an imperial sheet, an octavo sheet folded in two is only 7.5x5.5in and now you start missing the three-quarter inch on one edge and the half inch on the other edge.

I couldn't agree more that making books takes too long, which is why I never bothered with sewing signatures, instead using an electric carpet stapler until I worked out the no-fastening methods above. I make enough for a year or two at a time, and then it is just matter of taking the full sketchbook out of the cover and inserting the new one from the stack.
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