Monday, March 10, 2014

Tall and Narrow

3/10/14 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Sailor pen, gel pen,
Strathmore 400 140 lb. paper
I’ve been enjoying the sketches of David Hingtgen, an urban sketcher in Seattle, and the dynamic perspective he often takes using a narrow, vertical-format sketchbook. A while back, I had stitched up a signature of square-format pages, thinking the square would force interesting compositions, but I haven’t been using it as much as I’d thought I would. So I opened it up and turned it vertically to give myself a tall, narrow (12 inches by 6 inches) view.

Unfortunately, the track lighting and ductwork hanging from Zoka Coffee’s ceiling wasn’t much fun (I’m sure some people love sketching such mechanical structures, but they don’t do much for me), so I need to choose my content more carefully. But I enjoyed the challenge of slicing the composition this way.

In fact, I might have to stitch up a different signature of paper to exaggerate the vertical format even more – maybe 12 by 4 ½ inches. One of the most exciting things about handbinding my own sketchbooks is being able to choose the paper size and format at whim. Well, not exactly at whim – I’m practical enough that I always cut the paper to avoid waste – but there’s still a lot of room for experimenting within the boundaries of standard paper sizes.


  1. I like the size of this and the long length. It is fun to see the area all the way up to the ceiling. What a fun sketch! Yes, making your own sketchbooks has a certain advantage.

  2. Sometimes an odd-sized rectangle is the way to go. I don't mind drawing the mechanical but I hate to draw when I have to look upward a lot to see the subject.

    Have you ever considered drawing on loose sheets? I'm often jealous of my buddy Yvan as he carries several papers and several formats and chooses according to the subject. Sometimes I wonder if that's the way to go.

    Cheers --- Larry

    1. Great question, Larry, about loose sheets. . . yes, I have considered it, and I have a couple friends who do that, too. It definitely has its advantages. At home, I occasionally use loose sheets to do still lifes and such, but those are now stacked up all over the place, helter-skelter, and I hate the loss of chronology and binding. So I haven't done that in the field.

  3. Yep, that 'stacking' problem is one I've considered carefully. There is a solution, however, in the form of those portfolios with 50 clear plastic pockets. I have one that I carry with me just like a sketchbook. It even holds a hard plastic drawing board and a bunch of blank paper, but also serves as a 'sketchbook' when people ask to see my sketches. I haven't completely bought into the idea yet but it's very tempting.

    Cheers --- Larry


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