Sunday 26 February 2017

Making New Mini-Concertina Sketchbooks

I am starting my new Dementia research-sketching job next week! It's not blocks of time, like last year's residency: it's odd days dotted around randomly, but the first one is on Monday. So I need sketchbooks to draw in...

All the concertinas that I made for the residency got used up, so I had to make a new batch. Also a new cover, as the residency one was used almost to destruction. The 2m long concertinas I created previously had to be made from a big roll, and that was a bit of a performance. Plus I won't need so many this time, so I decided to make shorter ones, using regular sheets. I thought you might like to know the details, in case you fancy making some for yourself.

I bought full imperial sheets of Bockingford paper, which are 30 x 22inches. I started with the 300gm, but it felt overkill for the shorter length books, so I started using the 190gm instead, which is much easier to fold.

I got 3 books out of each sheet. From the 22 inch, short side of the sheet, I measured for three strips (3 x 7.4 inches), for the height of each concertina. Then I measured down the longer edge, for the folds. Allowing for each facet to be 5 inches, you get 6 facets per book.

The trick is to score and fold the whole sheet at once, before cutting it into strips. This saves a lot of time. You only score every other fold by the way, because the folds are going to go in opposite directions. You can easily hand-fold the ones going the other way, once you've folded the scored ones. Make sense?

Then you flatten out the sheet again and use a long ruler to cut it into the 3 strips. They are only short, but will still work fine.

I made my cover the same way as before, but with the little embellishment of a decorative fabric strip you can see in the top picture, plus another more important modification: I extended the back cover by 1.5 inches, so that I could clip on a water container. It's actually designed for oil painting, for oil and turps, but the two little tubs will be perfect for dirty and clean water and mean I can paint more easily in awkward places where I need to stand.

They have a clip on the back which fits just right on the board - good and tight.

While I was in sketchbook-making mode, I played with some different sizes. I cut the paper differently and got different shaped books. Out of the same imperial sheet, I got two books of 6 inches x 9 inches, plus one diddy, landscape-format book from the waste, which measures 4 inches x 6 inches.

I had to make covers to fit them too. I did the water-extension for the big one, but decided to keep the little one more compact, for slipping in a rucksack when we go out walking.

The great thing about this system is that you can use the cover over and over - you just pop in a new strip of paper. You can use an elastic band to hold the book shut when you're not using it. I did away with the fancy Velcro tab I used before: I quickly lost the tab!

You are supposed to use book board to make the covers, but I ran out, so I used regular mount board, which worked fine except for a very slight warping, which I put right by clipping the cover shut while it was drying (using a couple of bits of scrap card to protect it from getting dints from the clip):

The other thing I didn't bother with was the card insert on the back cover, for sliding the concertina paper into. I found that I generally wanted to fold the paper in different ways as I was working, so I could paint on more than 2 facets at once, which meant I stopped using the insert. It works perfectly well just tucked in loose.


dinahmow said...

Great stuff! For people who get a bit too precious about making their sketchbooks perfect, this is nice and clear.Thanks. :-)

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Terrific, Lynn, I've bookmarked it to share!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Have fun!

Miriam said...

Brilliant, I will have to try the extension! Thanks for sharing! Also, I was wondering if the warp of your board is because of the grain direction not running parallel to the spine?

molon said...

Thanks for sharing. Two questions : where does the paper slip into at the back, & where do you have your watercolours when sketching in awkward places ?

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thank you.

Miriam - it's because or the wet glue. The clip corrected it in half an hour though.

Molon- the paper doesn't slip in on this model - follow the link to the earlier post about that.

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Lynne the Pencil said...

Thats great! Thanks:-)

Ginny Stiles said...

I SO adore your blog.
Do you think there is a chance you could enlarge your font slightly?
I find the posts difficult to read because of how small the print is.

Lynne the Pencil said...

I'm sorry you are having difficulty Ginny. I write in a slightly smaller font because some of the posts can be a bit long. I have never had any body mention it before. Thank you for the feedback- I will give it thought!