Friday, November 4, 2016

Sketchbook Hacks

At Frances Buckmaster's suggestion, I'm posting this here.  It was originally on my personal blog, with a link to it on our USk Tacoma Facebook page.  So for those not on Facebook.....

In my meaning here, a "hack" is an alteration, usually a clever one.   There are 3 hacks in this photo.

First, I made the cover of this sketchbook black.  It's a spiral bound, 9x12 Montvall Watercolor 
sketchbook.  The cover has some text on it. I like to add stickers to my sketchbook covers, particularly of the places I've sketched in the book.   It's also paper and I prefer a thicker, more supportive cover.  I added a black heavy card stock by gluing it on to the existing cover.  It made it both plain black and a little heavier.  I've already added some stickers.

The next hack is the removal of the spiral binding.  This was not my idea.  I saw it on Steve Reddy's book a week ago.    He removed the spiral binding and replaced it with a few book rings.  These are available at any stationery store in a choice of sizes and even colors.

This makes it easy to remove and replace a sketch out of the book.  I scan my sketches and the spiral binding makes it really difficult to get good focus on the flat bed scanner.  Being able to remove the sketch, scan it flat and then put it back in the book is a good thing.

The spiral binding also takes up extra room in the sketch bag.  The book rings seem not as bulky.

The last little hack comes from Brenda Swenson.    She mentioned it during the workshop I took recently at Daniel Smith.  Many sketchbooks come with an attached elastic band to hold it closed.  Brenda uses an elastic hair band when the book doesn't come with an elastic!  The child size ones are good for smaller sketchbooks.  This large sketch book uses an adult one.  They are also available in many colors.  When I take it off to use the book, I just wrap it around my wrist so I don't loose it while on location.

There you have it.  Three hacks in one post.

And.... this is more information from Frances about why the book ring hack is very useful, added here on her suggestion, from her comment on Facebook:

"I belong to Peninsula Art League (Gig Harbor). Quite a few of the PAL members participate in the 2nd. and 4th. Thursday sketch-outs in Gig Harbor (15-20 attendees at outings.) Two of our co-administrators of USk-Tacoma are the regular Hosts of these Gig Harbor area sketch-outs--Mary J. McInnis and Pam Jenkins are members of PAL-- (as are their substitute Hosts--Kris Nail and Karen Wilsey--)..i.e. participation as members in PAL is quite important to a good sized batch of Urban Sketchers-Tacoma participants. What does all of this have to do with Kate's 3 great hacks? The Board of PAL, at their last meeting, made a decision that's very important to Urban Sketchers who are PAL members: We may now submit Urban Sketches into the required process leading to being a 'juried participant' in PAL member gallery shows. And, right on the point of Kate's hacks: only framed originals may be entered to be juried. Kate's hacks make this opportunity possible for those of us who hate to break apart our sketchbooks. (Of course, we are legion!) So, thanks a lot Kate! I will be 're-doing' the original format of some of my sketchbooks post haste!!"

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