Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sketchbook Woes No More!

For the past few days, I have been completely unimpressed with my journal for The Sketchbook Project. I was having trouble with the thin paper that came with it. I am more used to working on thicker paper and being able to use paints, inks, water, etc without too much trouble. But this paper was bleeding through, with it getting pretty wrinkly and warped, and even a light application of ink from stamps was showing through on the back of the page. As I worked, I was even starting to have trouble with the first and second page starting to rip out of the binding. I know that these books are going to be on display and (hopefully) viewed by lots of folks, so I just decided that this would not do at all. I got online, and started researching bookbinding and art journal making. I found some great youtube videos by Teesha Moore that were very helpful. Check them out.

I also reached out to my new friends online to ask for their help and to find out how they were handling this problem. Oh my - the response! Everyone was so sweet and helpful - they all know that I'm not a paper artist and that I'm doing this for fun. If you have a moment and want to see their awesome work, check out their blogs.

Tales from the Studio Mailbox
Bird from a Wire
Chasing Purple Dreams

So yesterday, I went to the world's best art store, Flax, and bought some paper, thread and bookbinding needle. I was so excited to get rid of that thin paper! When I got home, I measured out my paper, cut it up into the appropriate sizes, and ripped apart the old one. How satisfying THAT was! And then I proceeded to sew in the new paper, and you know what? It wasn't hard! I was so excited... this whole project was to be an experiment to try some new things and to document my time here in San Francisco. So this just felt right! I am almost jumpy with excitement to get going on the new journal now. But first, we are taking the kiddo to the Exploratorium here in SF today. Should be fun!


  1. Is the sketchbook a moleskine? I had that trouble too and started buying the watercolour ones just to sketch and fool about in. Your way sounds a lot more FUN and UNIQUE and rather lovely.

    Have fun exploring the Exploratorium!

  2. Oh good!

    So glad you worked this out & turned it into something creative and positive!

    Sending love.

  3. Yep, it was fun fun fun! And it didn't take long either. I would suggest doing this to anybody having trouble with thin pages or just wants to make a journal.

    Michele: Yes it was a Moleskin, but not the kind with the thicker sketch paper. I re-used the cover and just bound in the new paper in there. It was very freeing!
    And thanks for your kind words, Julia. I looked at it as a creative challenge, like you said to do, and tackled it with gusto! It made it fun! :)

  4. Super cool to see what you did with this challenge! NOW I can't wait to see what you put into it. Pretty great though that already you're doing something new and different and you haven't even really started on the "challenge" yet!

    PS thanks for the mention- I love creative problems so anytime... :)

  5. I think I am just going to have to bite the bullet and do this too. The disappointment with the paper has seen me put this to the side and lose enthusiasm for the whole project. Thanks for including the link for the tutorials I shall have to go and check it out and see if it is all as easy as you make out!!!!
    Thanks for the mention as well, I’m just glad to know I am not the only one struggling with the paper…

  6. you go girl! Way to turn a setback into an adventure!

  7. Juuuuu HUuuuuuu!!! It's looking like a new and improved book before you've even really gotten started... great work, totally proud of you. Now you are officially a book/paper artist too! ;)

  8. Oh great you found the answer already! Great work. How thick are your papers?

  9. Hey Hanna! I did already switch out the papers and I'm SO glad I did. I used thick 140 lb watercolor paper, just because I like to be pretty rough with the paper, but you could use something thinner, like 90 lb to get more pages in your journal...

    I'm really glad I did this. My excitement was really diminished with all the problems I was having so this has been an exciting thing to do!

  10. oh wow I haven't gotten my sketch book yet but did hear the sheets were thin. What a great way to bring back to life your journal thanks for the inspiration! Thank you for visiting me so happy to connect I am now a follower – your work is amazing ♥

  11. YEAH - when I first learned how to bind a book, I too was so excited. Who knows where this will lead you. I'm looking forward to seeing the pages.... I hope you will share them.

  12. Cool. I am just loving hearing about your life there :)

  13. This is such a good idea. I've been contemplating rebinding my sketchbook too. Wish the paper wasn't so thin! Did you sew the pages back in? I'm just not sure how to do it with multiple signatures!

    Love your blog!

  14. HI Sunset Stanley:
    Yes, that paper was way too thin. I am very, very glad it is gone! I did sew in the new paper using a waxed linen thread I found at the art store in the bookbinding section. I also found the needle and awl there too, that you could use for re-stitching your journal. Follow the link to Teesha Moore's tutorial if you want the simple way of doing things. If you really want to use multiple signatures, I would go to Youtube and search for "how to coptic stitch". Best wishes and let me know how it goes!

    thanks for stopping by my little space!


  15. Nice to find you and your blog, Kelly. I just received my sketchbook today, and was thrilled to find your post showing how you replace the flimsy paper ~~ a GREAT solution! Your journal pages are beautiful; I especially love your most recent one, memoralizing your dream of Mom. She would be very proud of your beautiful tribute to her. Looking forward to getting to know you, and sharing journaling pages with you on this great project! Happy Journaling! ~~ Jeanne

  16. Wow, that takes a lot of guts to rebind the sketchbook. I will not be rebinding mine, but I will probably wish that I did when all is said and done. Oh how I wish they supplied better sketchbooks! Oh wel, I am excited to be taking part any way!!