View Full Version : All purpose wet media sketchbook

WC Lee
06-03-2010, 07:09 PM
During the time that I had the urge to learn book making, among the couple of books I practiced binding is one that uses some cheap watercolor paper that was sitting around. The pages measure 4.5 x 6 inches but the sketches will be approximately 3 x 4 inches.It will be used for a general all purpose wet media sketchbook (watercolor, acrylics, gouache, and oil), however, don't know how often it will be updated but I will try to keep it going.

EDIT: I printed a watercolor sketch I did months ago and glued it onto the cover of the book, it serves 2 purposes: 1. lets me know it is the front cover and 2. makes it easier on the eyes :lol:


and this is the original sketch :)


This is the first page is a view from my window on the third floor using watercolor which is still a complete mystery to me, I keep trying to get the colors more opaque. Maybe in time I will learn to embrace its transparent nature :)


Cotman Sketcher 12 Half-Pan Watercolor Set and a water brush pen (can't recall the brand)

06-03-2010, 07:25 PM
Good start in the new book. I, too, have yet to embrace the transparency of watercolours.

06-03-2010, 08:45 PM
Nice little sketches. Care to tell us exactly how you made the book?


06-03-2010, 09:01 PM
Great start, WC. I wouldn't have known you weren't used to the transparency from these paintings, both are so light-filled and beautiful.

06-03-2010, 09:59 PM
Great start on your journal. I really like your sketches so far. I too don't notice things like transparency and oacity in my watercolours, just whatever effect I am after or achieve at the time :)

Like the cover, very nice. How did you make the journal? I have thought of doing this but not sure how to go about it.

06-03-2010, 10:51 PM
Awesome water in that painting on the cover. The trees in the second picture are great. You can see the sun slanting down through them.

Are you still making books?

06-04-2010, 12:14 AM
Landscapes?:eek: :lol: I remember a time when neither one of us would even try to paint a tree. Now look at us.:cool: Great start to the journal. It's a neat idea for a theme too. Catch you later.


WC Lee
06-04-2010, 11:54 PM
thanks EP :) it's hard adjusting to watercolors when being accustomed to opaque mediums such as oil and pastel.

thanks David and jacquip :) most of the information and how-to that you would need to make your own book can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joi3_WsUxE0&feature=related, there are 4 parts to it but it is pretty simple and straight-forward. However, I use a different method of stitching the signatures together and skip the part where she glue stuff to the spine of the stitched signatures.

thanks Robert :) believe me, both of them has so many layers of washes, it is anything but transparent :D

thanks Debby :) I just made a 4 x 6 sketchbook before logging in and it looks much nicer than the practice ones, it actually resembles a book.

thanks Doug :) yah but I still try to avoid painting trees or any kind of foliage if I can :lol:


Since I mentioned that I binded a new sketchbook, I'll show it (though I was going to regardless :lol: just wasn't sure where) Next one I do make will have better quality paper than the cheap sketch paper I used.

Here it is when closed

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Jun-2010/122017-sbclosed.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Jun-2010/122017-sbclosed2.jpg

and when opened


06-05-2010, 12:24 AM
Great looking book you made. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

06-05-2010, 05:50 AM
that looks really professionally bound

06-05-2010, 06:54 AM
Wow! That is a great looking book!

I've never heard anyone complain about transparency in watercolor before. LOL Usually the problem is getting it to be transparent enough. You can always add some gouache to places where you need opacity.

I like your two landscapes, especially the cover one. I think a great book like that definitely deserved having a painting for it's cover. Hope to see more of your landscapes soon.

06-05-2010, 11:41 AM
Very nice sketchbook. It is great to be able to have a sketchbook with just the paper you like to use in it. I think making your own may be the only way to go.

WC Lee
06-06-2010, 04:22 AM
thanks jacquip :) it's actually quite easy to bind your own book, but most likely the pages won't be lined up as good as the commercial ones but it's cheaper to make and can use any type of paper.

thanks viv :)

thanks michelle :) oh I'm not complaining about the transparency of watercolor, the problem is that I am so used to painting with oil or pastel, I have the tendency to paint watercolor as if I am painting with oils and I tend to forget to preserve my light areas.

The landscape that is used for the cover was done on Strathmore series 400 watercolor paper which I like better than the paper that is used for the sketchbook. It's more absorbent and the colors doesn't lift when adding another wash layer (that's because I'm too impatient to let it completely dry first)

thanks Deb :) having the paper you like in it is great but having paper you hate is good too because it is one way to use it up :lol:

06-06-2010, 02:18 PM
That's a great new sketchbook. It looks professionally bound and so tempting. Well done!

WC Lee
06-10-2010, 08:51 PM
thanks Robert :) I was surprised that bookbinding was easier than I had expected. The hardest part is getting the measurement and placement of the covers correct which I did not get right .. you should give it a try, it doesn't take long to make one though waiting for the glue to dry seems to take forever :lol:

06-10-2010, 09:45 PM
Maybe I will someday, though I don't know if it would take too much running around once I get the materials. Right now I don't have a place to spread out and set up the stuff to do it. There's no open table space in my room at all.

WC Lee
06-10-2010, 10:08 PM
It doesn't take much running around at all nor does it take much space to do, I do everything right at my computer desk with the exception of cutting the paper and the boards for the covers and spine. One thing about making your own is that it can be with any type of paper, any size, and any number of pages. I'm thinking of making a bunch of small 2.5 x 3.5 or 3 x 5 soft-cover sketchbooks with around 20-30 pages that I can carry around in my shirt pocket.

WC Lee
06-12-2010, 07:23 AM
Couldn't sleep .. got up and did this small watercolor, didn't want to make this thread feel neglected :) This WC paper actually isn't all that bad for what I paid for it ..


06-12-2010, 10:19 AM
That little landscape is lovely! Very cool, WC.

As for running around, that depends on how your stuff is stored. We moved here last year and things still aren't sorted -- it's hard to get at the mat board and the full sheets of paper that aren't cut up yet, or to cut them down. So that's relative to situation.

I don't know when I'll have easy access to those things or space to cut large sheets down to size. Right now it would take a lot of running around and then getting down on the floor to do the cutting. I agree the assembly may not take much, but you probably have more space on your computer desk than I do on my table.

06-12-2010, 10:45 AM
Very nice little WC sketch. I love all the different greens. Some people complain about this time of year being too green, I personally love it! It's amazing to me how many varied greens there are, and you captured a lot of them there. A very productive use of sleep loss time. :)


06-12-2010, 11:06 AM
Ooh, I like that WC sketch. The greens and bronzes are just so lovely.

:eek: David! How can the world be too green? I love all the greens in the spring time. All that lovely green after the gray of winter is gorgeous!

06-13-2010, 08:09 AM
WC Lee great little watercolour, I love all the greens too. Nice way to use some time when you can't sleep, better than stressing.

06-13-2010, 11:03 AM
Very nice book you created! Great sketches and wc's! I looked at your blog too and you are a really good portrait painter!


06-13-2010, 07:30 PM
I don't know how anyone can complain about too much green either, let alone artists but there are some who do!


07-01-2010, 12:56 AM
Hi W.C.!

There is something so charming about all of these small paintings. I love the books that you made. I have done that in the past and am thinking about it, but time is such a shortage for me right now that I will have to wait. I would love to mix some really good watercolor paper and some good sketch paper in the same book. Then I could do wet or dry media all in the same book without the paper giving me fits!

My favorite of your sketches in the one you put on the cover. I love the light sparkling off the water. And like Dave, I really like the variety of greens you achieved in the last one.

Very nice work!