Bookbinding “How To” Guide

As I learned how to bind my own journals I began updating a step-by-step file on how to make a sewn-signature case-bound book. I’ve gotten lots of help from my friends ShirleyRoz,and Kate, as well as from numerous books and online videos which I’ve linked to in this guide. I continue to update it as I learn and bind more books.


Click here to download Jana’s Bookbinding Steps (pdf) that provides instructions for making a 5.5″ x 7.5″ case-bound journal like these.

Recommended Books

Sketching and Drawing

Sketching – from Square One … to Trafalgar Square (Learning to see and draw what you see. May be the best book on drawing ever!)

The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are (The book that inspired me to start drawing again. Danny Gregory kickstarted the sketching/illustrated journaling movement with this book. His writing and art continue to inspire me.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition (This is the book that got me drawing and first taught me how to see and draw way back when!)

The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World (The first book on Urban Sketching that celebrates the Urban Sketching movement and the artists who do it. I have several sketches in this book and on the spine.)

Alla Prima II Everything I Know about Painting–And More This is a comprehensive guide to Alla Prima painting from a living master. 

(More coming soon)

Figure and Portrait Online Resources

See this blog post for links to many excellent resources for studying human anatomy, figure and portrait drawing and painting.

Favorite Art Supplies and Tools


Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album, A4, (12 x 8.5) (Professional Folio Series)

Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album, (5 x 8.25)

Bee Paper Super Deluxe Sketch Pad, 9-Inch by 12-Inch Relatively inexpensive and not precious so freeing to use as a result, but good sturdy paper that allows some reworking and then doesn’t, forcing you to stop before you overwork it. Great for ink, watercolor,  mixed media, gouache. It does buckle a bit but relaxes to flat after it dries.

For Gouache:
Having the right brushes and palette really make a difference!

For Oil Painting sketches 
Grafix Matte 0.005 Dura-Lar Film, 9-Inch by 12-Inch, 25 Sheets I love using this material for oil painting studies. It is so inexpensive compared to panels of any kind. I just tape it to a piece of white plastic or foam board and start painting. It’s like painting on the finest oil-primed linen and is even more archival. When it is dry, if I want to frame it, it can be mounted to a Gessobord. For storage I keep it in a clear envelope with a cardboard backing board.

Arches Oil Paper

(More coming soon)

Studio Lights

I finally found what I think are perfect lights for painting still life. I used this LED 4000K spotlight, to light my still life set up and this LED 4000K floodlight clamped to a rafter above my easel to light my canvas. The 4000K lights are a nice middle point between warm and cool colored light bulbs and don’t produce heat that can affect flowers or produce. They also come in warmer colored versions 2800K and 3000K (like incandescent bulbs) as well as cooler 5000K (daylight) versions.

Watercolor Supply List

Download Jana’s watercolor workshop suggested Supply List (pdf)

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