When I got back from my trip to Europe, my adult nephew from Brisbane came down to visit. I showed him my travel sketchbook. after a while he said, ‘I would like to do that. But I failed drawing when I was six’. And then he said, ‘But then again, I do technical drawings for my work.’ I said, well, in that case you can do it. Anyone can do it. I showed him Danny Gregory’s book The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are. I also gave him some paper and a pen. He sketched several times a day for the next few days, and when he wasn’t doing that, he was reading Danny’s book. He got on to amazon.com and ordered it too.
Then I gave him a sketchbook – a bought one – but he expressed the wish to make one like mine. A few weekends later he came down again ‘to go sketching’. The weather forecast wasn’t good, so I went up to the art shop and bought enough Canaletto paper to make two books. Just as well.
So Friday night we talked sketching and painting and he ordered The Art of Perspective: The Ultimate Guide for Artists in Every Medium. I have a review half-written to post on this blog. This book is perspective but so much more. He also ordered The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook: A treasury of watercolor secrets discovered through decades of painting and experimentation. This is two books in one and has everything you need to know about watercolour, particularly for landscape.
Saturday it poured with rain. I made the blue book above. I really loved this format while I was travelling, and I think I will stick to it for a while. My nephew chose some of my paste paper in burnt sienna and green for his covers, and an old map for the end papers. He had never done this before, but he took to coptic binding like a duck to water. Stitching faster than me, and a beautiful professional result. He has every right to be proud of it.
Then later he looked at some more of my books and ordered Danny Gregory’s An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers, and also The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World. I think you could say he is hooked.
Just before I went to Bali recently, I made two tiny notebooks. One for Broni, one for me. They were for writing down things like phone numbers, exchange rates, things like that. They were so useful that we pretty much filled them up. Well, when you’re working in millions of rupiah, all those zeros take up a lot of space.
We decided that we would need new ones for Europe, and that they would need to be a bit bigger. We will have train times to write down, a few more hotel phone numbers, and besides that, the trip goes on a lot longer. So, these new ones are A6 size, and the structure is a concertina with a signature sewn into each valley fold. They are stitched with pamphlet stitch, and a band of paper has been threaded through the stitching on the spine and glued into the cover to stop the concertina unfolding. The covers and endpapers are made from credit card papers.
We will be off at the end of the month…….Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Thailand. Send me a message if you want to catch up.
I’m going travelling with my friend BB who i have known since the 1970s when we worked together in Christchurch in New Zealand. Yes, the place where the earthquakes were.
At Easter I made a largish Coptic bound sketchbook for each of us, using my own paste paper for the covers, and Canaletto watercolour paper for the signatures. Then I made an ox plough book for BB from Fabriano Hot Press paper, using some Balinese fabric I had turned into book cloth. I had previously made a reverse piano hinge book from this book cloth and I found there was enough left to make a book for BB too.
We are going to Bali in June and I can’t wait. This will be my twelfth visit to Bali and I am looking forward to seeing my friends there. It will be a bit of an adventure though, because we are going to Lovina Beach, up on the north coast where I haven’t been since the1980s. We are staying at Rambutan Boutique Hotel. If you look at the photos on Tripadvisor, you will see that there is enough to sketch without leaving the gardens. It’s at Kalibukbuk. Don’t you love the name of the place?
After a few days there we go to Ubud, my second home, and because Ubud Village Hotel is full we are staying somewhere else. That will be a change for me. I have always stayed there since it opened but they are renovating right now.
Then in late August we are going for a longer trip to Europe. Starting in Switzerland, then spending most of the time in Italy and finishing in Barcelona.
Currently I am working on my Indonesian language skills, then after that trip I have to brush up my Italian. As far as getting in shape for sketching, I am planning to sketch some of the Balinese things around my house, starting now.
Finally I got to photograph the book that Julia won, as runner-up. It is made with pages of BFK Rives printmaking paper. The structure is Australian Reverse Piano hinge. That means you can remove pages and replace them if you want to. The pages are held together by a long (yellow) concertina strip of paper that goes through slots between the pages.
The cover paper is, again, my own paste paper. The end papers are my own credit card paper. The colours I used for the paste paper are Matisse Indigo, Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Orange. Once I had made the paste paper, I made a few different pieces of credit card paper, using the same colours in different ways. I decided to use the bright one without the indigo because the cover is fairly dark. You’ll see that I also used one of the other ones as part of the little collage I made to indicate which is the front.
The book has six signatures of two folios each, and is six inches high by about eight inches wide. Julia is coming to get it tomorrow and we’re going to Hoochie Mamma’s for lunch.
When I made the giveaway book for the 500th post, I was also making a sketchbook with toned paper for myself.
I decided to cover mine with itajime paper as I hadn’t done that before. I’ve used itajime on boxes, and you can see some on the first box I ever made, here. That box has been sealed with shellac whereas these have been sealed with matt varnish.
The Japanese paper I used to make this itajime is very robust, but still needs a sealant. I had hoped to use varnish and keep the white white, however somehow the grey board underneath showed through. As you see, it didn’t really show on the boxes and I’m not sure why. Maybe it was just more obvious because of the larger area. So if I wanted to make another one and keep the whites, I would cover the grey boards with white paper first. I used shellac to seal the covers and that gives it all a golden glow and gets rid of the grey.
The top photo is the right way up – how I plan to use the book, whereas the second photo the book is upside down. I decided before I cut the paper for the covers that I liked the way the design tailed away to a dot, and that would be the front. The solid stripes will be the back of the book, and that way I will always know the front.
I still have a couple of EDiM sketches to post, but I thought we’d have something different today.
I am entering in this swap and I have to make 6 pages, 4″ x6″. I have to decorate the back as well as the front. Well, as you know I’m also a printmaker. A while ago I sorted out my failed prints, proofs and just prints I generally didn’t like, from the good prints, in the hope of finding a project for them. Well, I found one.
I got a bunch of prints and Gelli printed layers right over the top of them. The back of the print has become the clean paper I am going to sketch on. It’s BFK Rives paper, which is my favourite paper of all. There are some interesting embossing marks from the plate’s edge on some of them. Most but not all were solar plate etchings. I did the Gelli printing before cutting to size, and before any drawing. I did my best not to smear any paint on the clean paper and that worked fine. I then cut to size. Jeepers they are small!
I made nine of them, (three in each picture) and that allows for less successful things to happen on the other side without it being a crisis. Most, though not all, of my prints were marine/industrial subjects. This is not what you’d normally choose to go with my chosen theme for the swap – tropical plants, but I think it makes it more edgy, and that’s what we’re aiming for, right?
It’s a bank holiday Monday today and still mostly dark at 8.30 am. It’s bucketing with rain again and I expect it will be as cold. Yesterday I completed two of these pages. I was going to make them totally unrealistic, but somehow I wasn’t in the mood and it seemed that actual tropical plants are as weird and strange as anything I could make up.
Not sure if I will do more today as I might start to make the sketchbooks. I also have to prepare for the demo I’m doing at The Art Scene on Thursday.