Lately I’ve been nearly obsessed with “building” my own sketchbook instead of buying one pre-made at the art store. I did a bit of research on-line (a couple of good starting points, if anyone else wants to try it, here and here, although I’ve changed a few things to suit my own way of doing it), and got a bit of help from my wife who took a book binding class a while back. This is the fifth or sixth book I’ve bound, each slightly different, as I experiment with different ways of stitching the signatures or gluing the spine, etc. So far this is the best sketchbook to date. I’ve come down to the last two spreads in my current sketchbook and felt the pressure to get a new horse to jump on to, so to speak. (By the way, I have only posted a fraction of those sketches — which I need to remedy. Stay tuned, as they say.)

Below are some of my notes on how I did made the book you see above. They’re not meant to be a how-to, by any means; but more like notes to myself for me to remember what I did this time so I can repeat it or improve upon it next time.

The whole process takes me about two and a half hours, start to finish, then letting the book dry overnight, clamped and weighted down. In the morning when I take the binder clips off it’s like opening a present! There’s something really enjoyable about making these sketchbooks that I can’t explain. And it will be interesting to see how it will be to draw in this new creation. Perhaps I’ll have more of a sense of accomplishment over the whole process. I’m not sure I’m ready to start making my own paper, though – ha.

Also I wanted to have a book that was a different size than what I can find in the art stores and on-line. This one is six by six inches — a square book to try out, and a bit smaller than the HandBook brand I usually use, which is a fantastic sketchbook. It’s good to know I have a great book to fall back on in case this little experiment doesn’t work out. But I’m definitely going to continue making them…