Art Techniques | 4 August 2016Make Your Own Sketchbook Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Summer could not be a more perfect time to take your sketchbook, observe the world around you, and draw what you see. Sketch Your World by James Hobbs gives you the essential tips and tricks for getting out there, and becoming an ‘on-location’ sketcher. From urban architecture to crowds and landscapes, the world is your oyster when you’ve got a little sketchbook and nature at your door. But did you know you can even make your own sketchbook? Like our accordion book tutorial a short while ago, we’re going to show you how to make your own sketchbook – with a little help from Sketch Your World! How to Make Your Own Sketchbook The joy of making your own sketchbook is that you can choose exactly what you want it to be, including its paper, size, format, number of pages and cover design. They can be made from things as simple as cheap cartridge paper and cereal box covers backed with old brown envelopes as a cost-cutting measure, or specialist or homemade papers to take them to a different level of personal expression. A specialist bookbinding shop can assist with a variety of bookcloths, acid-free self-adhesive tapes to strengthen the spine, adhesives that combine PVA and starch paste and linen sewing thread, all of which will enhance the finished object. You will need: One or two large sheets of paper PVA glue Card for cover Backing paper for cover Linen strip Thread and needle Awl Size and Format Fold a large sheet of paper into sixteen equal pieces. Create a section, or ‘signature’, of your sketchbook by folding four pieces together as shown. The rest of the paper is enough to create another three similar signatures. How you tear and fold the paper will dictate whether the book is portrait or landscape format: think carefully before you rip. Binding Pages Starting with the first of these signatures, make four evenly spaced marks along its outside folded edge and pierce through each with a large needle or awl – this makes sewing the paper together easier. Using a good length of thread, start to bind the first section together by passing the thread through from the outside. Leave a few inches outside, and tie it fast with the thread when it passes back out the first time. Then alternate in and out of the holes to join the four sheets. Joining Signatures Line up the second signature with the first, and continue as you did for the first using the same line of thread, pulling the thread tight as you go. As you finish the second signature, weave the thread through the exposed loops on the outside of the spine of the first signature to hold them loosely together before starting on the third. Keeping Things Tidy The inside of the centre pages of each signature should show neat lines of thread. The outside of the spine will be hidden later by the cover, so there is no pressure to keep it so tidy. Join the Final Section Follow on in the same way with the other signatures until the thread holds all four together, and finish with a knot to secure the thread’s end. It is not a disaster if you need to replenish the thread midway through: just tie up any loose ends, and continue with the new thread where you left off. Glue the Spine A linen strip or other strong, flexible material glued with PVA along the spine of the book will give it greater strength. Allow it to dry by leaving the book under a heavy object or clamping the spine together. Glue the Cover Cut two pieces of card a little bigger than the size of the bound paper, along with a thin section for the spine of the book, and glue these with PVA to the paper chosen for the cover, then fold and paste down the overlap, and leave to dry. Attach the Cover Glue the end pages of the bound paper to the inside of the front and back cover – don’t glue the spine of the pages to the spine of the cover as leaving space here will make the book easier to open. The positioning of this pasting process will dictate how easily the sketchbook will lay flat on a table. Leave it to dry under a heavy object. **One sheet of A1 paper (84.1 x 59.4, 33.1 x 23.4’’) will make an A6 (14.8 x 10.5cm, 5.8 x 4.1’’) sketchbook with 64 pages if you use both sides of a page. Buy from an Online Retailer UK: Packed with accessible tutorials and inside tips and advice from contemporary artists, Sketch your World by James Hobbs is the ultimate handbook for anyone seeking to explore the exciting creative possibilities afforded by sketching on location, whether in a bustling café, colorful street market, or leafy park. Combining a winning formula of practical instruction and creative inspiration, James Hobbs’ Sketch your World examines a range of techniques for capturing great sketches on the go, covering topics such as how to improve observation skills, sketch moving subjects, and create depth and mood in order to convey a sense of atmosphere. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.