I hope all of you are doing well and staying safe in the midst of all that is going on in the world right now. I have to admit that I’ve been distracted as of late. Unfortunately a few people in my husband’s immediate family have been hospitalized with the virus and are currently being treated and doing what they can to get well. Luckily their situation isn’t as bad as it could be but it’s apparent it may be a week or so before they are back to good health. As for myself, I’m doing well and staying in my home. As someone who doesn’t have children and works from home, I already live a lifestyle that doesn’t involve a great deal of social interacting so I can’t say that current events has caused a drastic change in my everyday life but I feel for those for whom it has. I pray for those who have been lost and that for those of us who are still here, that we all are able to make it through these trying times safely.
In the meantime, I’ve managed to work a little more on my bookbinding skills. I had this old 11×14 Robert Bateman Cover Series sketchbook full of blank paper, that’s been just sitting around since…wait for it, 1995. Yeah, 1995. That’s a long time to have a empty sketchbook. I have a tendency to hold on to stuff beyond forever. I still have and use my high school art box, which is really just a cute toolbox for art supplies. Anyhoo, I decided to take my Bateman sketchbook and turn it into a 5×7 sketchbook with my own cover art. Cutting the paper was a pain. No matter whether I was using my cutting board or a ruler and an exacto knife, my paper kept coming out at slightly different sizes. I ended up spending a great deal of time trimming up edges. And then there was the gluing for making a perfect bind. First off I don’t have a book press so I made a makeshift one from two old linocut carvings and a C-clamp I stole from my hubby’s pile of tools. This did a fairly decent job but I realized that I really need to get a book press or at least make one if I plan on making more books using this method. This was my second go at using the perfect bind method and this time was a little trickier since I was using thicker paper at a larger size. After five coats of glue a few of the sheets of paper didn’t bind together too well but that was remedied once I put the cover on. But then I learned 110lb card stock seems to work best for smaller sized books that require less glue. The spine of my 5×7 sketchbook has some minor warping where the glue was placed. Maybe I put too much glue on or next time I should use a heavier material for the cover. In all it turned out pretty decent for my second try at perfect binding. I now have a much more manageable sketchbook that I’m eager to fill with drawings. What started off with me wanting to just put a few quick drawings in my new handmade sketchbook has now turned into a cute little project of me doing a mini series of Nature’s little creatures that hatch from eggs. I really don’t know how this project came to mind, it pretty much just manifested on its own, like most of my projects do. But if you look at that adorable thing in the drawing above, you’ll see my first creature and there will be more to come.
It all started with staple saddle stitching in order to make some illustrated pocket journals as another way of sharing my drawings and now here I am, diving deeper into the art of book binding.
Over the weekend I got myself a basic book binding kit. Since I started making my journals I’ve developed a growing interest in book binding and this interest has surprisingly come just when I thought there was nothing else in arts and crafts that could capture my interest. So I’m a bit excited to have a new interest. I find the whole idea of book making fascinating. I’ve always loved books but not necessarily for the stories they told but for the artistry that goes into them. I’m a sucker for a decorative gold leaf classic or a well illustrated cover. And yes, I’m one of those people who literally judges a book by its cover…as well as its paper quality, font and feel. In the past I’ve bought books simply because I found the cover and construction to be appealing yet never actually read the story. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good story, if it’s short but my love of books has always rested on the craftsmanship rather than the storytelling. So, it’s not surprising that book binding has sparked an me.
Lately I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos on book binding and decided I’ll try my hand at what’s called the “perfect binding” method. Right now the only binding method I know is saddle stitching with staples, which is a quick and simple method to use if you’re putting together a brochure, comic or booklet of less than 40 pages (that’s counting the front and back). Perfect binding is good for making books and journals of more than 40 pages, especially if those pages are single sheets of paper. While saddle stitching uses staples (or thread, another method I haven’t tried yet) to hold your pages together, perfect binding uses glue but not just any kind of glue, rather a PH neutral PVA glue specifically for bookbinding. I had to order this separately from my book binding kit but neither the glue or the kit cost much. It’s a basic kit that I got all together for $22 on Amazon.
Prior to any gluing, I prepared a soft cover made from heavy weight card stock then cut and cornered 48 4.25×5.5 single sheets of 20lb paper for my pages. I don’t have a book press and since my journals are pocket size and no more than a quarter inch thick, I can probably get away with not having one, so I use four binder clips to hold the sheets of paper together while I added three coats of glue to one edge. Once the pages were dry, I added glue to the spine area on the inside of the cover and then adhered the pages to the spine. Once dry, voila, I had me a perfect bind 96 page pocket journal…all that’s missing is a nice drawing on the cover.
I’ve cut, punched and stapled up a new pocket journal this week. This one is “Koi”. The cover illustration is from a piece I drew some time ago but never did anything with it. I really like how the ink work prints out on this cream cardstock, it really stands out. So far my pointillism drawings work well as cover art for these little journals which gives me a positive incentive to make more and it helps that I really enjoy making them. Plus, I use them myself to jot down random thoughts and notes. As an avid journal writer, knowing how to craft my own journals mean I don’t have to go out and buy them anymore…so long as I’ve got some paper and staples on hand. It’s always nice to know how to do things yourself.
Along with the Koi, I have a few more “Buddha-Tao’ sets now available in store for those of you looking for something a little unique to scribble and doodle in. 😀
I should have been working on my Riverbed drawing but I fell down a DIY rabbit hole last week and this is what I came up with; a handmade pocket journal featuring some of my art.
I’ve been fascinated with the idea of creating my own books and paper goods for a while now. It started with the handmade greeting cards and now I’m delving into bookbinding, or more precisely booklet binding. I’m not all into the glue and thread deal…yet. Right now I’m just working with what I got on hand which is just paper, cardstock and staples. Although I did purchase for myself a cute corner puncher to get those nicely rounded corners for a finishing touch. I only got two sets of these available in store for now but I definitely plan on making more of these with different illustrated covers so be on the look out for more artistic paper goods that can fit into your pockets. 😀
Meet Winky, Sleepy and Pedro, three penguins I’ve had the pleasure of spending the weekend with to create this holiday card. I had been thinking about making some holiday cards for a while and initially I had my mind set on squirrels but then I saw a video on penguins and magically these cute little characters snuck their way into my sketchbook, then to my drawing board and then they took over my computer, cutting board and paper supplies. We’ve been up inking, scanning, measuring, cutting and gluing things together into the late hours for three nights straight. There are so many little details that go into making cards yourself that their simple appearance betrays. But we pulled it together and I now have a few sets handmade cards available in store. I hope Winky, Sleepy and Pedro come visit me sometime before Valentine’s Day. Maybe we can pull something together again. 😊