Sketchbook Project — A Change of Plans

It’s hard to believe that my last blog post was 2 weeks ago! In that time I finished up a big web design project, celebrated Thanksgiving, and caught a cold. That last item was the least enjoyable. I haven’t been doing a ton of art stuff, but I did get started on Sketchbook Project sketches.

My Sketchbook Project sketchbook finally arrived a couple of weeks ago. I had big plans for re-binding the sketchbook with watercolor paper, since that’s been my medium of choice lately. I got some great advice from my friend, Mia, who gave me a lot of tips and pointed me toward some very helpful tutorials on how to bind a book. I gathered my tools together, cut up the paper, and folded it carefully. I then arranged the folded paper into signatures and set them under some heavy books to flatten.

I knew I had to wait a day while the papers flatten before I could actually rebind the original sketchbook. I flipped through the cahier notebook and contemplated tearing out the stitches and cutting the cover in half. The paper is so thin that it’s somewhat transparent. Markers bleed right through and watercolor would ripple the paper badly. In general the paper is really not suitable for wet media. As I was contemplating all this, another thought crossed my mind and I realized I could use the paper to my advantage.

Since my theme is Lines and Grids, I was planning to do a lot of measuring and drawing grids with a ruler, but I realized that I wouldn’t have to do that if I used the existing moleskine paper. Once I had this realization, I almost immediately abandoned my plans for re-binding. Instead I’ve decided to leave the sketchbook as it is, and work with colored pencils and other dry media.

Decision made, I whipped up a few grids in Adobe Illustrator, and printed them out. Now I have a variety of grids to choose from to suit whatever I’m drawing.



See how well you can see the grid through the paper? For what I want to do with my theme (Lines & Grids), the existing paper is perfect!

My first drawing was drawn on a grid in pencil only.


I might add some color to it, but I’m not sure at this point.

For the following drawings, I drew the shapes first, and added the grid around the shapes.



Halfway through both of these, I thought they were looking kind of ugly, but both drawings evolved in a really neat way, and I’m quite pleased with the result.

I’ve done a few other drawings besides these, but I didn’t want to overload this post, so I’ll probably write about the next set early next week. If you can’t wait to see them, I’ve uploaded them to my Facebook page, so you can see them there if you want.

I like the idea of having each drawing evolve from the next, so that when flipping though the sketchbook, there is almost a story line that develops, but I don’t think my brain is organized that way. Instead of starting with the first page and making my way through the book, so far I’ve been opening the sketchbook at random and drawing on whatever page opens. Maybe I can link up the pages in some manner as I fill in the gaps. You never know!

lines & grids

I finally made up my mind about what theme to choose for the Sketchbook Project, and more importantly, I actually, officially signed up! For a long time I had my eye on the theme, “Make Mine a Double,” but could never quite take the plunge. Recently I checked out the website again, and that theme wasn’t available anymore. I was a little bummed, until I saw one that hadn’t been available when I was first checking it out. “Lines & Grids” is the theme I went for, and I’m really happy about it. In my opinion, it’s one of the most neutral themes I’ve seen, and I feel like there is so much that I can do with it.

After signing up, I kept coming up with all kinds of ideas for what I could do for the sketchbook, but I know that it’ll be a while before I get the actual sketchbook in the mail and can start drawing in it. Not able to contain myself any longer, I painted a plaid pattern on a small card with watercolor, and then cut out the shape of a heart.

I glued the cut out heart onto a plain sheet of paper, and continued the lines from the heart onto the clean background with pen.

too much plaid

I found it confusing and a little overwhelming when I was done. It seemed a little funny to me, but I cut it out again!

plaid heart

Ahhhh. Much better. The busy plaid needs the contrast of the plain background.

Not one to waste scraps, I also scanned in the background on its own, which also looks pretty good.

plaid background

Maybe something like this will end up in my Sketchbook Project sketchbook?