Friday, August 27, 2010


I have been freaking out thinking about my Sketchbook Project sketchbook a lot the last few days. What to do? Where to go with it?

When in doubt, make a list. Or that is my motto at the very least. The sketchbook arrived and it was a great size, but the paper was like negative weight. I found this blog which actually tested different medium on the paper and photographed the back of the paper. It isn't pretty. (Maken Art: Sketchbook Project 2010.)I am so grateful to the blog author for testing this all out for us coming in late in the game.

So the paper is a problem, especially for someone like me who is a watercolor illustrator. can't watercolor on it. Shit. I also had the idea that some pages would be mixed media, some illustrations, others funkier. I just don't want to be limited to a medium by the paper. I began by doubling sheets and gluing them together. They bubbled and were not really attractive or usable. Double shit.

I read on Curls o Fred that Rachel rebound hers. She said she had experience doing this, but it really seemed like the only option save pasting 140lb watercolor paper to each page, which I imagine would have looked totally ghetto at the end of the day. Not that I'm not into the Ghet-to, but I just wanted the viewer to focus on my work, rather than the craptastic suck that is my journal. I emailed Rachel and found some stuff on line. In the end, I had to head into the city and check out Utrecht on my own. And what a sacrifice! To go to an incredible art store to shop for something.

I am being sarcastic. Of course. My husband had the day off yesterday, so he took the kids for a long hike/playground/running thing, and I headed off. I brought my current Sketchbook pieces. The sketchbook. The paper I have pre-folded for the inside (to check fatness). My poem and thumbnails to guesstimate the page count.

I got there at an ungodly hour for the art school art store (9a), which was great, because one of the girls asked if I needed help and she guided me on the process. She really really was trying her damnedest to talk me out of rebinding, one thing she said was, "Oh, oh, why not glue all the pages together and make on page that pops up?" Ever have your consciousness expanded suddenly? Yeah. I could suddenly imagine my book three-dimensionally.

I bought all the binding stuff anyway, and some YUPO paper. Anyone ever work with this paper? It is 74 lb. shiny watercolor paper. I thought I would try an illustration on it, and maybe bind my book with it, since it is much thinner than traditional watercolor paper. It is really cool paper. I have to play with it more, because the marketing campaign seems to be how YUPO paper creates effects unattainable in other watercolor paper and never ever warps, which seems to be true. I just made a typical Angie sketch of a jizo. The colors were much more muted than I was used to and keeping a color was difficult. I usually lay down a base wash on my paintings, then come in with other colors for the background. That was like trying to herd kittens, the colors I was so used to achieving drifted away and lay atop the paper. This morning though, the painting is a really cool consistency. I also think you can erase? this painting. I have to do more research and the sketchbook project is not the place to conduct it.

As originally intended, I decided just to bind it with the 140 lb. cold-pressed Arches paper I had sitting around. I have a few pads of 9" x12" paper from when the local art nook had a sale, so I used to the ones I pre-folded to check thickness. I unbound the old one, then laid everything out. I first glued some watercolor paper to the inside cover to reinforce it, and give me an extra spread. I then punched holes in the crease with an awl. I used the same holes that already existed in my cover. And I guess I didn't secure the paper well enough, because the line was off kilter with the crease I had created. *sigh* So, I pre-cut, but didn't pre-fold, new paper. I guess those 9"x 12" pages with holes in it will be cut down for 4" x 6" postcard sized paper. Though last night in bed, I thought maybe I should make a little thumbnail book of my sketchbook project for myself first, play with images and paintings then recreate it in the bigger Sketchbook piece. I guess I liked making the book, because right after finishing it, I was thinking of doing another one. Good sign.

Interestingly, I could not find a description of the stitch one used for binding with only one signature, so I just used a backstitch, but later remembered I should have used a blanket stitch. Whatever. It looks strong. And then I folded it and eh, voila!

It was both much easier and more of a pain in the ass than I imagined. I hope it stays.

Here is the completed book, complete with all the supplies and scraps and the bourbon on the rocks that it took to finish it.

And here are some of my thumbnails from my poem. Still contemplating whether or not the poem is what I want to use. I keep rewriting it. My theme is "I'm sorry I forgot you."

Last night in bed, I kept thinking of this line that I thought I wanted to incorporate into my sketchbook with the theme, "I'm sorry I lost you."

When she said 'I am sorry you lost your baby', it gave me hope that one afternoon I would lift the cushion and find you smiling and giggling. "Oh, there you are, you silly baby." And later, when I would be putting you to sleep in my arms, I would whisper, "I am sorry I lost you, my darling. How could I be so bloody foolish?"


Anonymous said...

Exciting... thanks for sharing your process with us. There's just something very intriguing about seeing another artist's workspace.

And yay for your motto "when in doubt, make a list". I can't remember how many lists I have written in my life, but they seem to help me when my thoughts are all over the place.

Curls O Fred said...

Well done Angie! I'm interested to hear more about the yupo paper, and of course to see your final sketchbook. I nodded when I read your quote...