Using your own selfmade sketchbooks
I started sketching in august 2019, so I am relatively new to this. I started with children‘s colored pencils and an organizer and changed a lot of drawing medium on my way to urban sketching, and each medium had different challenges. I soon noticed I really need a sketchbook, to collect all my sketches, to carry with me easily, and why not, because is cooler.
The next thing was : what type of paper? I needed sketchbooks for watercolor, for markers, for pencil. Using watercolor paper to draw only with pencil, when a normal paper will do - seemed to me like a waste. So definitely, I needed more then one sketchbook at a time. Maybe it is not the same for all, maybe you are already confident and already have your own well define style, but I like to experiment different paper, different materials, different styles and sizes. Now, of course, a normal paper and a pencil will do, will be enough for you to keep exercising, but, just like all other domains, the materials matter. The quality matters. So, if you want to do it well, it can cost you an impressive amount of money. And the sketchbooks I found looked all the same : same style, same cover - efficient, no less, but I don‘t know : a little boring :) And I was (oops, I am) changing my paper size preferences constantly.
So I started thinking binding my own books. I could make any number of them, at any hour, any formats, paper size, paper thickness, and all that with a cute (always different) cover. On a rash search on internet and youtube: lots and lots of information, styles and techniques. I even test two of them : using sewing and using glue. None of them perfect.
First problem : cutting the paper perfectly. I like the most A5 format, and sometimes I find only A4, and I have to cut it. So no matter what method are you going to use, you definitely need a tool to cut paper. To cut it professionally, right, Believe me, you and your scissors : no way to do it perfectly. So this was my first investment: a paper cutter. Pretty straight forward, simple, pretty much cheap and easy to use.
Second issue here : I needed something to make my life easier, create a sketchbook and then spend most of my free time drawing. It is fun to create the sketchbook, but if it takes hours and you don‘t have much time left to draw, it is for nothing.
So I opted for a plastic binder machine, with a good proportion price - quality- positive reviews on internet. I bought also the plastic binders, and had default some covers too. I like that the plastic binders come in different sizes, so I can make a bigger or a smaller sketchbook, just like I want. It is easy to use.
The covers are really simple, one color, but doesn‘t bother me much : you can paint it if you want it cheerier, or you can use something else, like I did. I bought some time ago some thicker paper, I thought it was wrapping paper… it was not. Turns out, I can successfully use it now as covers, and the happy templates are making a really special sketchbook, none identical with the other.
I am now using some rules, for examples the drawing books have a simple cover, the urban sketching books a special one. This way, I can retrieve it easily from my bag when I am not home, not having to look on the cover which one is which.
In conclusion, this is my way of creating my selfmade sketchbooks, it doesn‘t mean it applies to everybody, it doesn‘t mean it‘s perfect for all of you. It works for me and I am really happy with it.