Bookbinding and Journaling, I Can Be Contrary In My Choices

February 15, 2021
An 8 x 8 inch hand-bound book I made using 90 lb. Hot Press Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper. Brush pen portrait.

I started the new year with one of the journals I bound in the fall of 2017. (I made 50 plus journals in a month while in a cast [foot and ankle] due to a fall down some stairs. Another contrary choice I see in hindsight—but the orthopedic surgeon had cleared me for activity.)

It was a lovely journal (I filled it on February 1). It was my favorite size of 8 inches square, so it favored my defaults with my favorite pens. Because of the pandemic I couldn’t go out and about and stand and sketch with it (another reason it’s my favorite size), but I was able to sit at the drawing table and work in it, or hold it in my lap late at night for sketching.

I bound it with magenta book cloth and some decorative paper that I hand-painted myself—in lavenders and magentas with complementary colors mixing in to create a subtle neutrality that made the magenta book cloth all the more dazzling.

It made me happy just to pick the book up; no, just to see it sitting across the room from me. My book, we had a friendship, we had secrets, we had plans.

That in two sentences covers what keeps me sketching and journaling every day, year after year. 

But what surprised me in January was that while I worked in a book with watercolor paper (lovely watercolor paper in fact) I spent most of the book drawing in pen. Ink drawing, ink drawing, ink drawing…

A close up of my scribbling. The Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pen I was using was getting deliciously dried out.

I’d throw in some watercolor or some ink wash. But I kept coming back to ink drawing, ink drawing, ink drawing.

I’ve been journaling my whole life now and something like this doesn’t worry me. I know that I have patterns: short patterns, and long patterns. I know that I have inklings that I tend to follow. I know that I don’t let scarcity rule my creative life so using the book only for ink doesn’t cause any worries.

It’s just unusual for me that in the past 20 years or so I haven’t had a streak like that with only ink drawings on watercolor paper. But go back a little further and you see it happening now and then.

This ability to go back and “check,” to cross reference and investigate our patterns—it’s just one more reason to have a healthy journal practice.

I suppose now I’ll have to get out an empty journal made with drawing paper and paint on every page. 

Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to it.

    • Jeanne
    • February 15, 2021

    While I have enjoyed and admired all your work, Roz, it’s been your ink drawings that have moved me most. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Thank you Jeanne, I’m always happy working in ink, which is what I had in childhood (after a paint purchasing incident which we won’t go into here!) And of course it played no small factor in my decision to get two black and white Alaskan Malamutes!

      I’m glad that you enjoyed this piece. I find that my line work is much more scribbly after the cataract operations left me with uncorrectable double vision, but I find that ink is also very forgiving for someone with double vision. And even if that isn’t the case it certainly makes me happy, so I’ll keep scribbling away!

    • Paul
    • February 15, 2021

    Drawing on watercolour paper and painting on drawing paper. Why comply with artistic “norms” when you can get results like you do🤩!!!

    1. Reply

      Well you know I’m one for using what I have, but it did seem a little over the top for me to work mostly in ink in that book. Especially since I started it because I intended to do more watercolor (which I did, just not in that book). I’m glad you enjoyed this sketch.

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