|My winter sketchbook is finally bound.|
My sketchbook containing work from the end of November through the end of February is finally bound. I usually put color sketches on the covers, but this time I thought I’d go with two in graphite: one of Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, and the other of a snowy scene across the street. (My inkjet printer seems to give gray tones a bluish cast.)
This is probably the last day-to-day sketchbook I’m going to hand-bind for a while. Despite minor issues with paper surface sizing and other compromises, I’m committed to using at least two more volumes of Stillman & Birn Zeta as my everyday-carry sketchbook. My plan is to bind only the sketchbooks I use during major travel (more than two weeks long).
|Three kinds of paper in this sketchbook: Bristol smooth, toned, watercolor|
After nearly six years of making my sketchbooks, the process of which I enjoyed for the most part, I’m relieved to be using off-the-shelf sketchbooks for a while. I knew it was time to take a break from it when I found myself putting off the task of binding; it took me more than a month to get around to this one. It had become a chore rather than something I looked forward to and took pleasure in. I think when I start making a sketchbook only after I’ve traveled, the task will become special again, and I’ll enjoy it again. After all, my whole hand-binding process began as a solution to issues that arose when I was preparing for my first trip abroad as a sketcher.
Aside from the practical matter of carrying only a thin, lightweight signature of paper instead of a whole sketchbook (see more of my pros of hand-binding in this post), one benefit of binding is that I could use any paper I wanted and switch around easily. Although using more than one signature at a time made it impossible to keep my sketches in chronological sequence, I still found ways to bind the general time period into the same volume.
|The few toned and Bristol pages were tipped in to get rid of the unused pages.|
In this book, I had used parts of two signatures that I had made with toned paper and smooth Bristol (for use with graphite), but I didn’t want to wait until I had filled the remaining pages in each to bind them. So I cut off the unused pages and tipped in the pages I used (shown at left). It’s a practical way to get rid of unneeded bulk, and I don’t like the idea of having unused pages in the completed book. It’s another benefit of hand-binding.
Someday I might return to binding my everyday sketchbook, but for now, I’m happy with this choice. I’m still getting used to Zeta paper – it always takes a while to learn how any paper behaves with various media – but for the most part, it’s working well.