On and In Sketchbooks, Pt. 1 December 11, 2011

This is Part 1 in a series on sketchbooks, which will continue every now and then.

My birthday was this past week (30!) and it was characteristically awesome. I got three sketchbooks for presents, thanks to my amazing Ninang and Ninong and my friend Tony. I couldn’t be more excited, these arrived just in time. Lately I’ve been drawing on loose sheets of bristol, which is not only sloppy, it is completely against my nature.

I love sketchbooks. Almost all my work is done in sketchbooks. Getting a sketchbook feels like adopting a pet; I know it is going to be a long commitment and a certain amount of bonding is necessary. Also like a pet, the sketchbooks will be at my side constantly and will become an important part of my life. But this is for another time. On to the good stuff, the books themselves! From left to right:

1)  Stillman & Birn Beta Series, 7″ x 7″
Above all, I prefer square books. I think this is obvious to those who know me (see image above). This book was a nice surprise. I’ve been curious about this brand since seeing them pop up in art stores recently. I must say, it does not disappoint at all. The paper is a cold press natural color with a handsome grain and impressive durability. All my recent work has been in ink wash and this paper has held up well with heavy water saturation and ink. I’ve been trying to loosen up lately and draw faster; this book looks like the perfect venue. Hopefully I can tear through this and have some fun.

2) Flax (Cachet?) Sketchbook, 7″ x 7″
Ah, my beloved faux leather stamped 216 page bound sketchbook. This book has been my go-to sketchbook for the past ten years. To say that this book and I have history together is an understatement. Sometimes I’ll buy one, get a few pages in and just fizzle out. Other times, I’ll spend hundreds of hours drawing until I fill every last page with ink (see amen and devotion, both done in this type of book). In any case, there is no book that brings me more comfort or anxiety than this book. It is like an old friend who is always challenging me to be better.

3) Handmade book by Jose Moreno, 5.5″ x 5.5″
This was a gift from my friend and former student, Tony Huynh.  This one is a beauty. The paper is a heavy hot press paper; feels like Arches or something similar. I’ve never worked in this size, so I am pretty hyped to try it out. It is small enough to throw in my pocket, but prestige enough to spend some time in. It looks like it will hold up well with ink wash. I almost don’t want to ruin it by drawing in it…

As much as I love getting sketchbooks, I now have about 300 pages to fill. My goal is to just draw like a mad man and have all three done by the same time next year, absolute latest. Keep checking back for progress, and stay tuned for Part 2…

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2 Comments to On and In Sketchbooks, Pt. 1

  1. December 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    We appreciate your positive comments about the Stillman & Birn sketchbook you purchased. If you are using a square size, which you describe as “natural color” (rather than ivory) it is probably our Beta Series. This is a 180 lb. multi-media paper which you can confidently use with wet media, as you observed. Please consider friending us on our Facebook page and posting your work there. Many thanks for your purchase.

    • chris's Gravatar chris
      December 11, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Michael! So far I’m loving the book. It just feels like serious quality in the right size and weight. I am partial to case bound books, so I might check out some of their other series when I am done with this one…

  1. By on February 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm