How I Prepped My Sketchbook & Sample

When I first received the Moleskin Cahier sketchbook in the mail, I was a bit worried about the thinness of the paper. It would DEFINITELY show ghost images from the Sharpies I was planning on using. There were people who were rebinding their sketchbooks, but I didn’t want to mess with that when I am not confident with rebinding books.

Here is what I did to prep:
• Gessoed every single page (considerably thickened the book and warped it)
• Left it open to allow the moisture to escape. Next day pressed the shut book by placing the heaviest books I own on top of it for a couple of days. Pressing the pages helped A LOT.

Here are the cons to gessoing your pages:
• Sharpie tips? They will be nonexistent the more you use them on this now finely toothed paper.
• Pencil is not friendly with gesso. It LOVES to mix with the ink from your Sharpie and make dirty colors. (everything I was going to do a pencil sketch for, I ended up doing freehand with a Sharpie or pasted it in)
• Want to use a ballpoint pen? Well…it barely shows up & you will practically break the pen to make it darker.

Moral of the story? I will probably never gesso this type of Moleskin again for the kind of things I like to do.

I did end up pasting in several drawings using bookbinding glue (aka PVA glue). Since I wasn’t sure exactly where I was going to stick the drawing, I didn’t place much glue on the page it was going on which caused it to ripple and some of the edges didn’t want to stick down. 😛 I had to continually press the sketchbook with heavy books to help the rippling. What did help too was after I was done painting the pages, I painted Matte Gel on the edges of the pasted piece which did officially glue and seal the edges.

Now on to showing another spread from the sketchbook! Originally, I had created the drawings for this spread and thought it wasn’t going in, but the spread I had before it looked awful. I couldn’t stand it staying in the sketchbook and decided to gesso the left page and tear out the right. The left page ended up trapping some air bubbles kind of badly, but I enjoyed what it looked like in the end so I can’t complain.

Acrylic and ink WIP.

Final spread

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Sketchbook Project Sample

Over the past several weeks, I have been trying to finish a sketchbook for the Art House Coop’s The Sketchbook Project. Finally, last Tuesday I was happily able to mail it off on the due date! I was so thrilled to finish it because I was getting tired of staying up late to work on it and my hands were tired of the constant drawing and painting. Though I have to admit that I am extremely proud of myself for filling the sketchbook! It is exciting to know that it will be a part of a sketchbook tour traveling around the US. Once the tour is done, it will be in permanent collection at the Brooklyn Art Library.

I don’t want to show the sketchbook in it’s entirety yet. I will be stretching the pages over the course of this year, I believe. My theme I choose is Nighttime Stories. We didn’t have to stick with theme, but I interpreted it as a boy and girl tucked away safely in bed listening to stories. Then the rest of the book, I tried to make it seem like the fairy tale world was opening up in their dreams.

Technically, I wanted to do more with my cover, but my mom pressed me to keep it simple because she thought it looked great the way it was. I used metallic markers on the dark blue surface.

During the process, I tried to take a few WIP photographs. Here is one of my favorite spreads where I used a ballpoint sketch you may remember. I started out creating the background pattern freehand with a Sharpie. Enlarged and printed out a copy of my ballpoint sketch and pasted it in.

From there I continued to painted over top of everything with acrylics to make it a part of the page.

Now for the finished spread! With each character, I had a feeling about what their hair and skin would look like, and she looked like a redhead to me!