I'm Joining The Sketchbook Project! Rebinding and First Pages

Hi there! Sorry for the long absence Ive been busily scribbling away, working on lots of different projects. I also recently decided to join The Sketchbook Project, the worlds largest collection of artist sketchbooks. I was super excited when my sketchbook arrived in the mail and couldnt wait to start filling it. I really wanted to use watercolour and as I tend to work my paper quite heavily I decided it would be best to rebind my book with watercolour paper. I didnt have much experience with book binding but I love a challenge so I decided to just go for it.

I chose Arches 300gsm hot press watercolour paper, the 560mm x 760mm sheet was the perfect size to fill my book. I love deckled edges so I decided to break up my sheet and keep a natural edge to my pages. While originally I had planned to use saddle stitch binding to put my book back together, once I had all my pages folded ready to go it seemed to be very bulky! I wasnt feeling confident about it anymore so I went off and did some more research. I decided to use coptic binding instead, it looked like a lot more work but I found many artists use this method to make their own sketchbooks as it allows the book to lay flat which I thought would be a wonderful bonus. This method meant that I had to split my cover in 2 and most likely reinforce it, it also involved more stitching but has a lovely decorative spine. There are heaps of tutorials for coptic binding on the internet but if you havent done much book binding before, like me, they may be a little tricky to follow so its always best to  trial run before using your good papers. Doing a test run also gave me a chance to see if a thin cover would be sufficient with this binding method. My little test book went well but the cover did tear slightly at one of my binding holes, while it may have been because my tension was to tight I thought it best to reinforce my cover just to be safe as it would be living in a library and I wanted it to last. Of course this meant more work for myself but Ive always been a bit obsessive with getting things right so I shouldn't be surprised. To reinforce my cover I used some backing board and covered the 2 layers (original cover and backing board) in lokta paper and used some washi origami paper to add a decorative finish to the inside.

sketchbook project rebound 1
sketchbook project rebound 2

When you get your sketchbook you are given some theme suggestions to help you get started. I thought this was great as often getting started is the hardest part. I've chosen the theme Melancholy, I felt it fit my style and I at once pictured a particular colour palette. I prefer to work with moody colours and enjoy playing around with different palette combinations. I feel my work is more balanced if I restrain myself to particular colours rather than having free rain of my paint box. The pallete Ive set up is Jaune Brilliant, Yellow Ochre, Shell pink, Light Red, Blue Grey, Lavender, Green Grey, Davys Grey, Grey Of Grey, Indigo and Sepia (All colours are Holbein). Its a slightly odd mix with some personal favourites and of course not all colours will be used in each illustration but this process helps me to picture things and keep some harmony and balance through out.

So far Ive completed the first 2 pages in my sketchbook, Ill keep adding illustrations to it between other projects and share them here and on instagram

 plant specimens I found while wandering old paths

plant specimens I found while wandering old paths

sketchbook project rebound 3

I'm really happy with how my binding turned out, it was well worth the extra work. I love learning a new skills and look forward to binding more sketchbooks in the future.

If you'd like more details on how I rebound my sketchbook, let me know, Id love to help