Thanks to Drew Steinbrecher’s free online class I have a growing collection of sketch books made from children’s board books. In the past I started sketch books, but didn’t keep up with them. If you ever started a daily exercise program on January 1, found it became weekly by January 20, and maybe every three weeks by February 5, you know the process.
Drew uses his gel prints, gluing them directly on the book pages, but almost any material, paint, or drawing tool can be used as long as you gesso the pages first. Why board books? Because they’re thick cardboard the pages don’t buckle and warp with glue, and they are cheap second hand finds. Library book sales, online auctions, and yard sales are potential sources of inexpensive used ones.
I won’t linger on the technical details as Drew covers them thoroughly, but so far I’ve finished two books and am almost done with a third. My leaf gel prints filled up one book by themselves.
I start a fresh page or add to an existing one whenever I get stuck on my current quilting struggle, and find creating something in 30 minutes or less with paper and a glue stick boosts my mood. Then I’m able to return to the slog in a better frame of mind.
A quick browse of Etsy for art journals will reveal a dizzying choice of journals that range in price from $15 to $150 plus. Some are so gorgeous that I would be afraid to even write my name in them for fear of sullying their loveliness.
For those of you who have yet to encounter the art journal, here’s a quick rundown. They are a way to express yourself visually in a blank book with no rules and no judgment. Some art journaling proponents claim that doing it will help you realize you’ve always been an artist. Whatever. Many descriptions of the process begin with the all important physical journal. It can be bought or hand made. There are many blogs and websites that will tell you how to make one and give you ideas for content.
Obviously the type of paper in one’s art journal depends on the medium you want to use. I decided to use collage simply because I have lots of papers thanks to all the less than stellar monoprints I’ve made and the papers I used to clean my brayer. My journal of choice? Used children’s board books.
I got the idea from Drew Steinbrecher who often features collaged board books on his Instagram feed.
I thought it was a great idea and scoured my local library’s book sale for such books. I bought six for a quarter each, and am now sorry I didn’t buy more. Some of my purchases looked brand new.
Yesterday my friend Penny and I began our collaged board books. Supplies were simple – board books, papers, matte medium, brushes, and some kind of nonstick paper to keep the finished pages apart. The process was simple, too. Design a layout and glue the pieces down. No prep needed. In an hour and a half I managed to create three full page spreads.
I’ll trim the edges once the book is full and everything is dry. That might take a while as the heavy board can absorb a lot of moisture.
Earlier in the week I dry collaged two more pieces made with papers coated with gloss gel medium. You can see the sheen from the medium in the first one.
I’ve have fun playing with glue and paper, but my excuse for not working on the quilt now on my design wall is gone. I just got the fabric I ordered for it. It even came early, drat it.