Tuesday 18 December 2012

Making Watercolour Sketchbooks: Japanese Binding

I spent this Saturday doing the dreaded Christmas shopping, then rewarded myself on Sunday by taking a day to play in the studio. I have been trying for ages to find time to make some watercolour sketchbooks. I did a trial run with regular cartridge paper yonks ago and that worked out brilliantly so, with a whole day to myself, I cut enough paper for 3 new books.

I have been collecting scraps of fabric - these are made from a shirt from Oxfam, some felt from my workshops bag and a top I don't wear: 

The joy of the Japanese binding system is that there is no paper folding and the sewing part is much simpler and quicker. I learned how to do in on YouTube of course. There are several videos, but this and this proved the most informative and easy to follow.

I thought the plain books were a little understated for me, so I ferreted around and found some funky paper for the endpapers. The swirly one is just regular gift-wrap which, to be honest, was a bit thin so I won't do that again, but the stripy stuff is cut from a wine gift-bag, nice and thick - ideal.

I didn't get them sewn up yet - you should let the glue dry overnight (ideally under several heavy books) before drilling the holes, but the bulk of the work is done. You can see how the sewing will look from the previous one I made:

The disadvantage to Japanese binding, for a sketchbook, is that you can't really do drawings which span the gutter, because the book doesn't open as flat as a conventional binding. That's why I have made them landscape format - for me it makes it easier to resist the need to sketch across the gutter.


aylin kaplan said...

Thanks for sharing.this is great :)

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Very nice looking sketchbooks... your sketches just HAVE to be better inside such lovely book covers.