|Handwritten note and sketch by Stefano.
|It looked like a gift!
|Closed sketchbook cover fastened with bands.
For my custom-made sketchbook cover, I chose black leather, which has a rustic matte finish that looks like it will take on a nice patina over time. The cover closes with two elastic bands, and I chose red for those – Stefano and I agreed that red would look sharp against the black leather. Two more elastic bands inside along the spine hold up to two signatures in place. The cover has two hand-stitched pockets, one on each side, to hold spare signatures or ephemera. The back cover has a small “bro” stamp (I couldn’t photograph it well), signifying that it was handmade by BroLeatherWorks. A bookmark made of a matching red elastic cord is embellished with red buttons that match the one on the spine (the bookmark got a little in the way as I sketched, so I might remove it, since only a small knot through a hole in the spine secures it).
|Two hand-stitched pockets inside.
|Sketchbook cover with single signature in place.
I stitched up an eight-page single signature (below) made from one 18” x 24” sheet of 100-pound watercolor paper (that I happen to have a huge stack of), which yields a 6” x 9” page (12” x 9” spread). This page size is slightly larger than the 5 ½” x 8 ½” Stillman & Birn sketchbook I usually use, but I specified these dimensions to Stefano for three important reasons:
1. I don’t waste any of the 18” x 24” paper, and all I have to do is fold and tear it – no measuring necessary (my experience with bookbinding indicates that measuring accurately isn’t one of my assets)!
|The sketchbook fits perfectly in my Rickshaw Bagworks bag.
2. The sketchbook fits perfectly in my Rickshaw Bagworks sketch bag (below).
3. The 12” x 9” page spread fits on my scanner.
For my first field test on this gorgeous day, I walked a few blocks to the Maple Leaf playground where I sketched last week. I attached my watercolor kit – the essential element to my outdoor sketching – to the left side of the cover, and as I had hoped and expected, the leather is sufficiently thick and sturdy that it supports the kit well. It was breezy, and the right-side page kept flapping, so on a whim, I pulled the upper closure band around the corner of the page, and voila! It serves double-duty! And “the Stefano” works exactly as I had hoped!
|Watercolor kit attached to left side of leather cover. Elastic band keeps page from flapping in the wind.
With this first sketch, I already got a little paint on the inside cover, which I’m sure Stefano will be pleased about. After all, it was made to get painty and well-used.