There’s something about cranes and mountains that just appeals to me. When I first set out to work on this drawing I wanted to do just a mountainous landscape but as I was sketching it out I threw in a flying crane and now all seems right, although I’ve been tempted to add in another one off in the distance but that might be overkill and take away from the drawings tranquil feel making it a bit busy, so I’ll just keep it to one.
I hope all of you lovely followers are doing well and staying safe under the current global situation. It’s been interesting seeing how people have been adjusting. To these stay at home orders. Personally I thought I would spend far more time on social media and face timing friends and family but actually it’s been the complete opposite. Instead I’ve been cooking more, taking naps and feeling as though I can actually relax without feeling guilty about it. The whole world has slowed down and I don’t feel that constant pressure to be highly productive and in the know on everything, it’s just sad that it had to take a pandemic to feel it’s okay to not be busy or at least appear as though you’re busy all the time. I know that the economy is really taking a beating from this but on the bright side maybe more of us will gain a different perspective on our lifestyles and whether all the busyness is worth it.
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.
This little baby is now complete. I think it might be a while before I do another elephant drawing. I’ve done five total with this one being my third ACEO. Oh, just in case you’ve ever wondered what ACEO stands for, it means, “Art Card Editions and Originals”, which are baseball card size drawings that are created for trading or selling. It just dawned on me that I keep mentioning ACEO and people might not know what it means. Sorry for that oversight. I hope things are cleared up now.
Anyhoo, I’m off to do some more landscape pieces that I hopefully can turn into covers for another blank journal set. I’ve been itching to make some and have been coming up with themes to work on, so if all goes well I’ll be making two original ACEOs and one set of journals. I’ve got the month of March planned out for me. So if you’re into small original art and handmade illustrated journals, stay tuned.