Thursday, 14 May 2015

A New Invention: Improving My Sketchbook


I have come up with a new idea that I thought I'd share with you...

At the back of my mind, I am preparing for my up-coming residency with The Morgan Centre in Manchester, thinking about the art materials I will need and how to make things run as smoothly as possible. I have tried out my new concertina sketchbook design and am satisfied that will work well. There is one drawback to concertinas though - in order to make one page flow into another, you often need to open 3 pages at once, which means the paper is wider than the book and you have nothing to rest on. It can all get a bit cack-handed! 

While I was thinking about this, I got a tip from another sketcher about water pots, which I thought might improve upon my hairspray-lid system (which does impinge upon my palette's mixing space). My friend suggested using the little, metal clip-on container that oil painters use for their linseed oil and white spirit. Sounded good, so I bought one. Trouble was, when I tried it out, there was no excess on my sketchbook to clip them to.

As it happens, these two problems have a common solution. I cut up one of those plastic folders you buy in stationers and created a sheet of plastic just over an inch taller than my concertina book and about half as wide again. This provides somewhere to clip the water-containers, while also providing an extended back-board to rest on: 


The plastic is really light and flexible, so won't be a nuisance to carry around, but with the aid of the sketchbook cover, it is still stiff enough to support the water. I'll be able to tuck the plastic into my bag with my sketchbook and clip it on when I am working:


I've yet to give it a test-run, but it feels really comfortable. As you can see, the plastic doesn't extend quite as wide as 3 sections of paper, but doesn't really need to - that width is enough, because the 140lb watercolour paper is sufficiently stiff to support itself for the little bit of overhang. I didn't want to create something that would be too big and awkward to fit in my bag.

4 comments:

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Very clever solution, I have those same clip on cups and have never used them because there was no way to clip it to an open sketchbook.. Now to find some plastic to use, thanks for the tip.

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Great idea! I do have the same cups, though I was able to clip them onto some palette or other, I've forgotten which one one...and now have put them away somewhere.

I usually use a bit of Blue-tack to hold my water cup in place, wherever I want it...

Jagoda Pado said...

That sounds like a clever solution to the problem... :)

Anonymous said...

How about cutting down a plastic place mat - or cutting board? They are easily found at a "dollar" store. I lined by fridge with her clear cutting boards and lined my cabinets with the place mats. I use them for everything.