State of the Art: Filling a Sketchbook

This weekend I realized that I’m about 10 pages away from filling my current sketchbook. I knew I was nearing the end but I’ve had a flurry of ideas to record and noodle out, each time I’ve made sure that my sketchbook is within easy reach. With a mere 10 pages left, my first thought was, “Ohhhh now I have a reason to go to Artist & Craftsman to pick up a new one!”

I did not have access to the car in my moment of weakness, so instead of driving, I dug through my bin of notebooks and sketchbooks. These are books I picked up on a whim at a variety of places when I see them. The first book I grabbed was a traditional hardback black sketchbook with heavy mixed media paper- too “good” for my kick around idea noodling sketchbook. Then I grabbed a dot gridded journal, also not quite right. Then another hardbound sketchbook.

Finally I grabbed a different black sketchbook, and realized that I’d grabbed a black Hand•Book journal, one older than my current version. I had forgotten at one point that I’d bought the black version, and bought a green one about a year and a half ago.  Maybe less. It was before I had my interview for my new workplace. Anyway, I had forgotten that I’d bought a black one as back up for my previous journal, blue I think. So I immediately dug into the new red one and left the black one in a drawer. These have been my go to sketchbook for the last few years. The earliest I remember using one was in 2012 or 2013. I know I was using them before i went to grad school- I carried one with me everywhere through grad school.

This does come with a downside- the elastic needs to be replaced or at the very least tightened. Which is a problem I’ve never had with a Hand•Book Journal before. Their elastics have always been snug and perfect, even years later. This is the first of a half dozen or so of this brand where the elastic has been anything but perfect. (I will note that this is a pre-Speedball distribution Hand•Book.)

I do very little to prepare a sketchbook for use, I write my name, address, phone number, and email inside the front cover. For this sketchbook I’m adding some washi tape to the back pocket- the washi will stick but peel off the plastic pocket with ease. Unlike notebooks I don’t do much prep for a sketchbook, the whole point of one is the clear empty expanse of paper for ideas to blossom.