Q & A
Regarding hand bound sketchbook journals

I've had a few emails and questions in the "comments" section of this blog about the sketchbook journals that I make and use.  I'll attempt to answer those questions here, in no particular order of importance (but this is important stuff, you know).

First of all, I want to say that I have a sketchbook "partner".  My friend, Cathy, is the "technical adviser" and instructor when it comes to teaching the book binding classes.  I'm her helper during this stage. When we get to the embellishing and "journaling", that's when I take over, and Cathy is my helper and "food stylist" so we can have a great looking snack to paint in the afternoon.

Q. What are the sizes of the books?
A.  I have done three sizes.  My friend, Karen (who will stop what she doing and make a sketchbook at the drop of a hat), and I took a book binding workshop together at Hollander's in Ann Arbor, MI, and the size they taught us there was 5 1/2 by 5.  It's a cute little fat book that makes a nice gift.

After trying out that size a couple of times, we adapted a larger one that uses  22X30 sheets of watercolor paper with no waste -  7 1/2 X 5 1/2.

A few days ago I tried a smaller one that used the watercolor paper with no waste - it is 3 3/4 X 5 1/2.
It is the one pictured in the middle in the photo above.  I haven't tried using it yet.  It is a very horizontal format. I think it is just about the size of a Moleskine small watercolor sketchbook.

 Q.What kind of paper do you use?
A.We use a mix of Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper and Strathmore drawing paper.  Aquarius II is soft enough to fold and stitch, doesn't buckle, and doesn't "suck out" the color.  Sometimes we put in a few sheets of different paper just for the fun of it.

Q.Do you sell kits and your instructions?
A. The kits and instructions would be Cathy's thing.  She doesn't want to send them out into the world yet.  She may someday  -  when they are ready to stand on their own  -  without the "hands-on" instruction to go with them. Hollanders in Ann Arbor has instruction books that are pretty easy to follow.  I took the class there, and that made the book easier to follow.

Q.When and where do you teach the bookbinding/journal painting workshop?
A. We teach it in Cathy's beautiful studio on Lake Charlevoix in Northern Michigan.  We have done them in the warmer months when it is nice to go outside and paint, but we might try to stretch that time frame a bit.

Q.Where do you get your supplies?
A.Most of the supplies are mail-ordered from Hollanders.  We have no affiliation with Hollander's, by the way.

Q.Where do you get your decorative bookcloth?
A.We make it by bonding craft paper to the fabric with iron-on bonding material from the fabric store.

My current journal didn't make it into the photo, and I have made some as gifts, but you might get the idea here of my journal making style - the more color and pattern, the better.

If you have read this far, you might be ready for a nap.  Sorry for being so wordy. I'm going to go paint now.  I hope you're getting in some sketching or painting today too!


plaid petunia said...

Cath, you were not to wordy but I think I will take a nap. It is 3:00 and that is nap time.

Great job of explaining!


Helen Sturgeon said...

Thank you for the explanation. I have been dying to see/learn how to make them. Sounds like a trip to Michigan is in my future!!
By the way, its waste, not waist..unless your sketchbooks have a weight problem around the middle like many of us!! LOL!

Catherine said...

Hope you had a good nap Cathy!

Thanks Helen! I do know the difference between waist and waste, but, then again, maybe not:)

Marj said...

I made myself a 3-3/4 x 5 purse size WC/sketchbook (coil bound) and loved it. Hated to see the pages used up. A very convenient size--and I did many paintings in it. Did you use one sheet of the Aquarius or a half sheet? That coil-bound one was easy & convenient to make :-) Love your clouds and cluster of books.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post on Sketchbooks. I, too, like to use the whole sheet of paper in the book if possible. I checked out the Hollander link and found the instruction books. I assume these are the flat spine ones. Yours are lovely. I appreciate such a prompt answer to the questions I asked. You will be very busy if you have to post every day for a month. Good Luck. Kay

Catherine said...

Marj - I used a whole sheet. Of course it takes as long to make, and you end up with half as much book :)

Kay - it is the round spine that we make. The round spine allows the book to open flatter.

Annie said...

Thank you for more details and pictures about your bookbinding class. I ordered the instruction booklets and most of my supplies from Hollanders. I made my first sketchbook using their instructions and lots of help from different sites on the web. It took me two days. I am hooked on the whole process.

Catherine said...

Annie - good for you!!! It's addictive, as you have already discovered :)