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February 5, 2013

February Book Project

I chose the Long Stitch or "limp binding" for my February bookbinding adventure.  As I walked to Dick Blick last month, I passed a leather store (for shoemakers) and bought some leather scraps.  It is a sturdy leather - perfect for this structure. 

For my first book, which is always lots of trial and error, I chose the smallest scrap.  The leather was easy to cut with my Olfa X-acto knife and to punch holes with my standard awl.  I searched all of my books, finding the best instructions in Cover to Cover by Shereen LaPlantz and watched YouTube videos to learn more. 

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The book is 5 3/4 by 4 1/4 inches - with 16 folios of card stock in 4 signatures.  I used LaPlantz's 6 hole pattern for my stitching, but look forward to using other patterns on future books.

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This book will be used for all of my research notes.  In addition, I'm adding stitching patterns to the pages by sewing them with a regular needle and thread. 

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 I envision 12 prototype books full of my research notes by the end of the year. 

Next month I'm planning to make a flag book!

February 2, 2013

More Elephants

I'm still drawing/painting elephants when I am home for the day and have 3 more to post today.  These were all done with different tools, to challenge myself to use more of the art supplies I accumulated over the last few years.

Yesterday I read Laure Ferlita's blog post about "Luring Back Her Muse" and realized that my elephant project is how I am doing the same thing.  I got to the point during these winter days where I was inspired to draw when out and about, but bored and apathetic when home. 

Elephant 6 was drawn with warm gray and black Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils and then painted with water. 

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Elephant 7 was drawn with a Zebra Sarasa Clip 07 Brown gel pen and then painted with water.  I have several brown pens to use for drawing and I tested their water solubility, finally selecting this one for the pale color that I could achieve.

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Elephant # 8 was drawn with a black Zig Millenium pen and then "painted" with a black Neocolor II watersoluble wax pastel - the only candidate in my box of 10 crayons.

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I still need to try other tools that I have, including inks and dip pens, acrylic paints, oil pastels, pan pastels, and a variety of pencils that I hate using - including charcoal and Conte.  This project turned out to be fun and that was my intention.  These cold winter days mean that I am busy at home and less likely to get inspiration from walks/trips around New York City.

January 29, 2013

Figure Drawing Practice

I missed live figure drawing this month, but did a little practice anyway during quiet evenings.  I set the timer on posemaniacs.com for 90 sec and then sketched quickly to get a basic shape drawn with a watercolor pencil during that time.  These are a few that I did.

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Portraits are still difficult for me - so I practice quick sketches on the bus or subway and when desperate for a model I sketch half a face from a photo.  I cut a face photo in half and then draw exacty what I see in the photo to complete the face.  I don't remember where I read about this xercise, but it's fun. 

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January 26, 2013

Bookbinding: A New Project for 2013

I LOVE books - all books - and always have.  It is probably the reason that I gravitated to sketchbook/visual journal art when I was getting close to retirement. 

I decided to recycle orphan books when I couldn't find watercolor sketchbooks that I loved.  After several years I broke down and took a weekend class to learn how to make a traditional cased-in book - cover and all.  In the last 5 years I expanded my bookbinding adventures, sometimes from information online, other times from projects with my friends Pat and Gwen.  But I still hadn't explored some of the oldest and most common bookbinding methods.

This year I plan to do a little research on specific bookbinding methods and to practice making books exploring some of the variations.  I have reference books here in my personal library and there are many websites and videos available - making this a good DIY project.  

The book project for January was coptic stitch bookbinding and so far I made two books using two different variations of the method. 

Book 1:  I made the cover using bookcloth I made from fabric I painted, and filled it with my favorite watercolor paper.  The bug was painted in a class by Judy Coates Perez using Tsukineko ink thickened with aloe vera.  The back cover was made with fabric I made testing a new batch of procion MX stock solutions.

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Book 2: I also made a smaller book, using decorative paper for the book covers, and card stock for the pages.  I am using this book to collect all of the information about coptic stitching that I want to remember and to document the methods that I used. 

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Plan for February:  Long Stitch with leather wrap covers. 

A tutorial for recycling orphan books, and all of my prior projects can be seen in the Bookbinding Category in the right column on my blog.

January 22, 2013

A Collection of Elephants

This time of year, when I'm recovering from lots of Holiday preparations and celebrations, and I'm indoors trying to  "catch up," I need something to shake me up.  Night after night I struggled with decisions re: what to draw and finally decided to play with my many tools (pencils, pens, inks etc) while drawing lots of elephants. 

Here are my first 5 - each drawn/"painted" with a different tool.

Elephant 1:  Drawn with a Dark Wash Soluble Graphite Pencil by Derwent and painted with clear water.

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Elephant 2:  Drawn with a Tombow marker, which is water soluble, and painted with clear water

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Elephant #3:  Cretacolor 9B graphite and Cretacolor white pastel pencils on gray paper

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Elephants #4:  Pigma micron ink pen and WN watercolors

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Elephant #5:  Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

I bind Fabriano Artistico 140 lb soft press paper in my handbound watercolor journals.  No one believes me, but the Pentel Pocket Brush Ink is completely water soluble on this paper and even drying the ink overnight makes no difference.  Here is an elephant drawn with the pen and then painted with clear water!

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