View Full Version : Finally a Sketchbook I LOVE!

02-24-2013, 10:55 PM
I must have 30 different kinds of sketchbooks stored in my studio, waiting to be used. Moleskine watercolor sketchbooks are a favorite but that paper just isn't the same as "real" 140 lb cold press. And I always find myself wanting some kind of overlay sheet to write notes on without having to scribble all around my painting. So...I decided to make my own sketchbook.

I tore 3 sheets of Kilimanjaro 140 lb cold press into 1/8th sheet size (approx 7.5" x 11"), giving me 24 sheets. Then I cut tracing paper to the same size and interleaved it between the watercolor sheets. Next, I cut mat board covers 1/4" inch larger than the paper. I painted the outsides of the covers with acrylic craft paint and stamped a fern motif. To reinforce the edges, I applied reinforced gummed tape. Then I added manila envelopes inside the covers to hold stuff. At that point it was ready to bind.

Now, Staples would have coil bound the sketchbook for me for $8 or so, but timing got in the way so I manually punched holes and coil bound it myself. (I won't be doing that again. OMG, can you say TEDIOUS?! :lol: I'm dumb sometimes.)

Anyway...here are some photos of the sketchbook...I took it on a sketch outing today and wow, do I love it. The overlay sheets are so nice to have. And I can tear them to different sizes or out altogether if I prefer for a given page. Enjoy!






02-24-2013, 11:06 PM
love the paintings and the sketchbook!

02-25-2013, 03:42 AM
You did a first class job Carole, it's beautiful.


02-25-2013, 06:33 AM
Both the book itself and the sketches are beautiful.

02-26-2013, 06:29 PM
Awesome paintings and the sketchbook is beautiful. Good job.

02-26-2013, 07:43 PM
Awesome sketchbook. Lovely, lovely sketches and notes.

02-26-2013, 08:36 PM
Good job!!
That overlay is a great idea! Now you can scribble all over your artwork without scribbling all over your artwork!

Very pretty coverpage!:heart:

You need a new pencilcase, though.
That one is going to explode like an overripe tomato if you bump it...(lol).

02-27-2013, 04:11 AM
Lovely book and sketches :)

02-27-2013, 08:23 AM
Thanks everyone! In practice, this sketchbook is working out great.

Dragoon: I know! I did finally have to go back to a slightly larger zippered soft-sided box for my kit because I wanted to carry a few more colored pencils. Still fits nicely in my bag though.

Joan T
02-27-2013, 09:49 AM
What a great design for a sketchbook, and the custom design gives you everything you need. Great sketches too!!

02-27-2013, 10:34 AM
Excellent, Brindle! Great sketches and a G-R-E-A-T sketchbook. Isn't it totally satisfying to no longer be a victim of the sketchbook manufacturers' whims on paper quality choices?

You are now in control of your own fate!

Ahhhhhhhh! :thumbsup: Bravo!


02-27-2013, 07:08 PM
Great job on both the sketchbook AND the sketches! The pooch is just excellent.

02-28-2013, 12:49 AM
That is such a beautiful sketchbook!! Not to mention the art, both the dog and the horse. I need one of these too :D thanks for the instructions!!

02-28-2013, 11:05 AM
OH! Gasp! Beautiful! Wow!

02-28-2013, 12:29 PM
this is looking gorgeous, great start on what looks a super sketch book :D

02-28-2013, 05:30 PM
Ooooh, please elaborate on the "slightly larger zippered soft-sided box for my kit"...sounds like a good art supply to have!

We all must AMASS!

02-28-2013, 05:33 PM
ROFL!!! I'm the Queen of Amassing!

It's the same "box" as shown in my Big Fat Sketch Kit video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wzk-InILMk). I have no idea where I got it (have had it for many years) but if you search for cosmetic cases on Amazon you can find similarly sized and zippered soft-sided containers.

02-28-2013, 11:23 PM
Hmmm, that case is about to bust a seam, too...hahaha


Looks like you need the Dr. Ion Super Mega Pencilcase! Its about the same size, but has more pockets, and a carry handle and D rings for a shoulder strap. I got mine from Jet Pens!

Nice vid, thanks for sharing that!

03-01-2013, 07:23 AM
I *just* looked at that Dr. Ion case yesterday :) But my case is not as crowded as in that video these days...I've "cut down" on the stuff that's in it. A little bit!

I love JetPens, omg. I have to really stay away from there because I want to go crazy buying fountain pens and cute little animal erasers and stuff like that!

03-03-2013, 09:35 AM
Carole, first of all, I am really happy to see your work again! I've missed it lots. I love the torn edges on your pages, and of course the animal sketches are to die for.

Secondly, I am So Happy to see that you did a book of your dog portraits, and included the charming haikus you wrote. I can't tell you how much it brightened my day every time you posted a new page from that dog sketchbook you were working on. So, thank you for that! Can I buy a copy of your book directly and have it autographed?


03-03-2013, 10:13 AM
Cool, I'd missed that. I just got the kindle version :)

03-03-2013, 02:34 PM
Thanks for all the great comments! I find I am not too keen on this Kilimanjaro paper now that I've used it for a few sketches. It seems to be overly sized...water beads right up on top of it and yet it has this weird dry feel to it--like it sucks the water right out of my sable travel brush. I am wondering if synthetic brushes would work better...will try that for my next sketch. When I make another of these for myself, I'll be using Fabriano or Arches paper. Meanwhile...here is a sketch of a trout I did in a half hour or so last night from a photo posted by a friend on FB...


Jamie, thanks so much for your interest in my book (and your kind words about my work!). I will PM you.

Rainy: Thanks for buying the Kindle version. I almost didn't publish it in that format because due to the way text flow and sizing can be controlled by the user, it is almost impossible to format a digital book such that text stays with images as it should. But in the end, I looked at several other Kindle books with lots of photos and they all had the same issue so I just decided to go for it. No thrilled that it's not more controllable, though. I recently thought of a partial fix though: incorporating the haiku text as part of an image that includes the dog's portrait. However, I have to test that to see if it's feasible and readable on various devices. Creating the book content was only half the battle...publishing was a series of frustrating challenges!

03-03-2013, 03:31 PM
Fabulous trout.

03-03-2013, 04:45 PM
Carole, I only had that problem with watercolor paper one time, and wouldn't you know --- it was on a large order of 300 lb Saunders Waterford (rough)! What a nightmare! I couldn't imagine why folks rave about that paper. I showed it to Charles Reid, and he said he thought it was an old dried-out batch. I dunno. But it is possible to just get a bad batch I guess. I have used Saunders since then that did not have those issues. Strange.

I will get back to you soon via PM. Thank you!


03-03-2013, 04:54 PM
Jamie I use the SW 200lb rough. Not sure if this makes a difference. IMHO 200lb is sturdy enough not to need stretching.


03-03-2013, 05:55 PM
Jamie...I normally paint on 300 lb Fabriano so even being used to working pretty wet on paper that can take it, I struggle with getting paint "started" on this Kilimanjaro. Maybe it is a batch that just got too much sizing because once it gets wet, it's quite decent...though it buckles a tad as 140 will do. Or maybe it is designed for a style different from mine. But I think more and more that oversizing is the issue. When I used my brush pen with waterproof ink, even after letting the ink dry for a few minutes it still ran when I brushed a wash over it. That has never happened in my Moleskine.

03-07-2013, 11:18 PM
these are beautiful! great work and wonderful studies!