Art supplies Bookbinding

Journal Binding How-To Sheet & My Shrinking Sketch Kit

Not So Rosie Journal Cover

This is the cover of the journal I’ve just filled. I name my journals and I’d planned on calling this one “Rosie” because I started it at the same time my roses started blooming like mad in June. But given the struggles I’ve gone through, written about, and resolved in this journal, I named it “Not So Rosie” instead.

If you wonder what those weird white bumps are on the rose bud, when I put the tiny rose bud under my magnifying lamp to draw it I discovered it was covered with aphids. Yick! I enjoyed drawing it anyway until I noticed an aphid jumping ship and landing on my drawing table. I declared the artwork and the journal done, dumped the roses and spent a little time admiring my newly bound journal (below), its blank pages full of promise.

This is the fourth case-bound sewn-signature journal I’ve bound. With each one I’ve made fewer mistakes and learned more. I’ve continued to update my illustrated instruction sheet I wrote for myself, simplifying and correcting it. So many people have helped me that I wanted to share what I’ve learned in case it might help someone else. If you’d like a copy, it’s available to download on my website’s “Comments & Resources page.

Meanwhile, my sketch kit has been shrinking. A friend brought back a tiny, $13 watercolor travel palette from a recent journey to Minnesota that included a stop at famous Wet Paint. I had to call them and order one for myself.

Mini-Sketch Kit
Mini-Palette and Sketch Kit

The palette is 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ and has a ring on the bottom for easy holding. I found it a little hard to open and so super-glued 2 little wedge-shaped pieces of a rubber washer on the front edge of the lid and base which gives me a better grip to snap it open. Another customization suggested by Cathy was gluing an empty watercolor pan inside for holding water (sticking up on the right side).

My favorite pens are (from the front) a Micron Pigma, a Lamy Safari fountain pen filled from a jar of Platinum Carbon ink (waterproof and safe for fountain pens), a Pitt Artist Brush Pen, a Papermate Titanium .07 pencil with F lead, and a Niji Waterbrush. All of this fits nicely in a little zipper pencil case, including the palette.

Journal and sketch kit ready to go
Newly Bound Journal and sketch kit ready to go

This little water container is surprisingly spill proof, and about the size and shape of a film canister. I can actually do just fine with the water in my water brush and/or the bottle of drinking water I carry around. The tape on top of the palette is a list of the pigments I’ve filled it this time.