Monday, January 2, 2017

Tipping In

My November - December sketchbook is bound.
To start the new year on the right foot, I spent yesterday afternoon binding my sketchbook from November and December. On the covers are Pee Wee Herman’s T-Rex, which I sketched on our way home from Joshua Tree, and my bird’s-eye-view sketch of Santa at Pacific Place.

By strange coincidence, the first page of the sketchbook turned out to be the topiary dinosaur I sketched at Swanson’s Nursery. 😉

A topiary dinosaur on the first page.
There’s one other point of interest to mention about this sketchbook. When I was packing art supplies for our trip to California in November, I was aware that we would be in L.A. for the Super Moon – apparently the closest the moon had been to the Earth in 70 years. It would be at its peak very early in the morning of the day we would be driving to Joshua Tree, so I didn’t know whether we’d be able to view it at all – from our hotel or anywhere else. Just in case, I packed a sheet of black toned paper.

We set our alarm for 5:30 a.m., and amazingly, we had a fantastic view of the huge moon right from our L.A. hotel room. Greg went out to climb to the roof of a nearby parking garage so that he wouldn’t have to photograph it through glass, but I stayed in my jammies and sketched from the window. Although the sketch didn’t come out very well – I had to keep the lights off in the hotel room so I could see out the window, and of course it was pitch dark outside – it was fun giving it a try on the black paper with colored pencils.
Sketch of the Super Moon setting over downtown L.A.

The trimmed-off side of the tipped-in page is visible on the
opposite side of the bound signature.
Yesterday when I was binding, it was easy to slip the single folded black page between the pages within a signature in the appropriate chronology. On the opposite side, I simply cut off most of the black sheet that I didn’t use, so only a narrow flap of paper remains. I believe this bookbinding technique is called “tipping in” the black page. I used the same process last year to add a page on which I sketched the lunar eclipse – except that time it didn’t occur to me to cut off the excess paper. After doing that yesterday in my latest book, I went back to the older book and cut the excess paper off.

If I’d been using a store-bought sketchbook, I would have had a random page of black paper without a home that would certainly eventually get lost. I love the flexibility of hand bookbinding that enables me to bind in whatever pages I use.


  1. That is a great idea to do with the random pages. Mine get lost or bent or worse.

  2. Didnt know you bind your own book. They look very neat!


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