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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2 thoughts on “How I Prepped My Sketchbook & Sample

  1. Wow! They end up looking great! I’m impressed by your know-how (materials, and handling them). It says “experiment” to me (in my case, that is). I’m curious about making finished sketchbooks in the future, and you’re giving me a good tour here. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you, Jose! Even though I do know about my materials, I still felt this sketchbook was an experiment for me. I should have known about the pencil line problem because that has happened to me on canvas. Oops. Oh well! I like to think that I try to work through my problems and make them work to my satisfaction. 🙂 I hope I can help people experiment as well by giving them an insight to what I had to go through. 😉

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