|Autumn 2017 sketchbook
My sketchbook from August through December is finally bound. On the covers are the Funko storefront from the October USk outing and the Space Needle under construction in December.
I usually bind six signatures together, but I filled a seventh before switching to a Stillman & Birn Nova for my minimalist challenge, so I decided to squeeze the seventh into the same book to maintain chronological continuity. I’m not sure it was a good bookbinding decision, though – seven signatures is pushing it for paper of this thickness (140 pound). The spine, where the signatures are folded, is always thicker than the fore edge, so the book doesn’t lay as flat as it does with six signatures. Also, I try to avoid knotting the thread in the middle of Coptic stitching, so I had to use an extra-long piece to get through seven signatures, and pulling all that thread through became unwieldy.
My typical rate for filling six signatures is about two to three months, so this book might break a record by including five months of sketches (although I had a similar experience last winter, too). I didn’t feel like I was sketching less than usual, so I tried to figure out why it took me so long to fill – and then I remembered that I had been occupied with my graphite drawing class for most of that period. Lots of days I spent many hours on homework assignments, and the only additional drawings I made were small quick ones in a Field Notes notebook, especially during InkTober.
Now that I’m working consistently in the S&B Nova (except for the usual occasional Field Notes sketches), I won’t be using handmade signatures for a while. On the one hand, I miss carrying the slim, lightweight signatures. On the other hand, it’s nice to have 92 contiguous pages in a single volume. I haven’t worked this consistently in one store-bought book in years – and while I use several sporadically for certain purposes, this is the longest continuous run I’ve had in any one S&B softcover, ever. I’m not sure it’s going to persuade me to stop bookbinding altogether – there’s still too much to love about binding my own – but it’s reassuring to know that the S&B softcover is holding up well as a daily-carry. If I ever do decide to stop binding, I know that I’d be happy with this line of books long-term.