Friday, December 31, 2010

Inbound New Year

This coming year I am signed up to be involved in two different sketchbook/visual journal classes. Well, one is a series of classes being offered online by Strathmore and the other is the Sketchbook Challenge. Both should encourage my daily art journal and sketch practice as well as stretch my comfort zone by exploring new things.
For the Strathmore classes, they are recommending the use of their new line of visual journals, which is great, the paper is wonderful, and I love a wirebound journal. But the three sizes they come in stink; two sizes are small (for page size) and one is too big (to carry around). I had been given one of the Strathmore journals (5.5 x 8 - mixed media variety) as a member of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective. The journal closed:

I hadn't used the journal yet, mostly because the pages seemed too small after using a 9 x 9 square journal for the last year. Needless to say I spent yesterday altering said journal to make at least some of the page spreads larger. The journal below, showing it open to the first page, left regular size.

The following page spread, showing an added on accordion page (left) and its original sized neighbor (right).
First, I cut out about 1/3 of the pages. I did this carefully at the spiral binding with a small scissors, clipping next to the wire hole. Then, I measured in 1.5 cm from the bound edge (with the holes) and made a fold. Next, I used this fold like a flap to glue the pages back into the book as fold outs. This has created a book that has some small pages, some single foldouts, some double spread foldouts, and one accordion style fold out, all in a convenient to carry about size.

Finally, I prepainted the pages with liquid acrylic washes in green/blue/yellow. I have to say I am quite happy with the book now and looking forward to using it.

In addition to journaling, I am hoping to take a watercolor class at MCAD and just be generally more involved in my own art making in the coming year. I made the same commitment last year and I feel as though I was successful, but I am continuing to challenge myself artistically in the coming year.


  1. Great idea! Thanks for sharing how you did it. :o)

    Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
    Psalm 63:3

  2. Suzanne, I loved seeing this at the Sketch night last Thursday. Your alterations really make it an attractive size. I am posting a link to your post on my blog on Thursday. Thanks for sending the link. Also good luck with your art goals for 2011. They sound wonderful. Cecile Hartlieb (last name?) teaches watercolor over at the Atelier. I don't know how she is as a teacher, but I see her stuff in the Minnesota Watercolor Society shows and stuff about her when I go over to the Atelier for shows and demos. If you can't get that MCAD class to work out you might want to try her. And there are some other folks in the watercolor society who also give classes. Roz

  3. This is an inspired alteration. Many thanks for showing the way.

  4. Brilliant idea!!! I had the same feeling about these journals, but if I had been given one I would have struggled to use it- now that you have shared this there will no longer be a wrong sized journal!!! BRAVO!!!

  5. I think this is a great idea. I'm using that same journal but the small size is limiting. Never even occurred to me to try something like this!!! You're the best!

  6. What a wonderful way to expand your book! Thanks for sharing this idea.