Monday, 28 March 2016


I hope you've all had a happy Easter, I haven't done a lot of artwork this weekend so I thought it was time to show you my new sketchbook, no 35.  This photo shows all the ingredients I used to make a map themed sketchbook.

Last year I ordered a batch of samples from Ruscombe paper mill where they make beautiful drawing and watercolour papers.  They came in square, stapled batches with the name printed on one side and I spent quite a while pondering how I was going to use them in a sketchbook as I didn't want to just have loose sheets with drawings on them.

I had acquired a collection of unused Michelin maps from Marius, our neighbour, who used to do attic sales before his wife had a stroke.  The map paper is rather thin so I devised a way to attach the samples with a couple of stitches in the inner corners after sticking down the outer edge to the map and folding it over to protect the edge and make a border.  I added a strip down the middle of each sheet where it would be stitched into the signatures as reinforcement.

I didn't want to waste the other side of the pages so I painted a square of gesso on each sheet so that I could draw and paint freely without the paper becoming waterlogged.

The cover is cut from a printed fabric I found in Brighton when we were there last year and I used a strip of fake leather for the spine to complete the look.

Opened out you can see where I've alternated the pages so that I can test all the samples as I work through the book and as the corners are only stitched I can unpick to check the label if I decide to purchase a particular type of paper from the mill.

I love the combination of bright pink and turquoise I've used for the end papers and title page.

Here is a test I did on one of the gessoed maps to see how it performed and the watercolour works very well as the gesso seals the paper perfectly.
As soon as I've completed sketchbook no 33 I'll be getting started on this exciting new project, maybe when we go to Italy for our summer trip.