Bookbinding was the topic  at Fort Nisqually’s Crafts of the Past when I visited yesterday.

Jeff Wilson has been a volunteer at the Fort and a bookbinder for many years.  He had examples of various kinds of bindings.  He was teaching a simple pamphlet stitch with a small printed book, seen in the foreground here.

He also had a number of pieces of equipment.  These are from Making Simple Bookbinding Equipment byTony Firman Bookbiding

sewing frame

punching cradle

While I watched and waited for a chance to talk with him, I did a very quick sketch.

Moleskine pocket watercolor sketchbook; Staedtler pigment liner pen; Daniel Smith Watercolors

He gave some tips for inexpensive bookbinding supplies that do not require going to a specialty store.  However, both Daniel Smith and Artists and Craftsments Supply in Seattle have bookbinding supplies.

One can use Elmer’s glue instead of PVA Adhesive.  It’s not archival but much cheaper.  Book paste can also be made at home:  3 parts water and 1 part flour; whisk briskly; boil until thick.

Use a moderately thick crochet thread instead of linen thread for sewing books together.  I’ve also read to use bottonhole thread.
He recommended the YouTube tutorials by Sealemon.  While she has dozens of tutorials on a wide variety of DIY crafts, she is a treasure trove of bookbinding and book related tutorials!  Here is the summary listing of all her bookbinding tutorials.

Here is the one on coptic stitch
coptic stitch sketchbook
hardcover book with coptic stitch
Hardcover casebinding 
Other book-related tutorials
Pen Loop Holder 

He recommended Keith Smith’s books on Nonadhesive Bookbinding

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Paraty Pity Party

The group of Friday ad hoc sketchers from Urban Sketchers Seattle met in the UW Medicinal Herb Garden.  It was a cool, gray day with flat light.  It even sprinkled rain a bit, near the end.

The International Urban Sketchers symposium is going on this weekend in Paraty, Brazil.  So I called this outing the “Paraty Pity Party” and made badges to wear and/or stick on a sketchbook!

We spread out around the several acres of garden.  I was thinking of the USk weekly theme “doors and gates” when I chose this spot.  It is the entry to the garden, guarded by crazy monkey sculptures.  I could not find anything on the internet about them.  The phone guide indicated they are copies of Italian sculptures which graced the 1st medicinal garden.  They are thought to protect the garden.

I then went back to the wild artichokes to sketch the fruit.  It looks hazardous!

We gathered in the garden/bus shelter out of the rain to share sketches.

Then we had a group photo.

Linda, Frances, Michele, Linda, Kate, Peggy H (seated), Gloria, Logan

All the photos are here.

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More drawing than drinking

Last night was another Drink & Draw session at AFK Elixirs & Eatery in Renton.  We were fortunate to have two models:  Erica as Justicar Syndra from League of Legions and Judy Nails (an in-game character from Guitar Hero… no I did not know that; had to look it up).  Both of them were excellent models!  They could strike and hold dramatic poses.  Great for sketching.

As usual, we started with about an hour of 2-3 minute sketches.  Here are some samples

I did two color sketches during the 10 minute poses and one more detailed pencil drawing.

I had only soft drinks and the yummy Dagobah appetizer.  No drinking alcohol while I draw.  I’d just fall asleep and wouldn’t probably be safe to drive myself home in any case!

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Need more red!

Painting on the very first 747 (RA 001) continues in the Museum of Flight’s Air Park.  It’s getting close to being finished, so I went out to look and do a sketch after my volunteer shift.  I spoke again to Guy, the President of Global Jet Painting LLC , the company doing the work.

If you notice, the red stripe stops near the rear of the aircraft.  It’s supposed to continue all along the fuselage.  They ran out! They wanted to finish that last bit of red paint today, before it starts raining!

I also met Mike, from Akzo Nobel, the company that supplies the paint.    Mike said the paint comes from a plant on the East coast so he didn’t think he could get it here today.

But wait!  Mike has connections at Boeing.  The shop at Boeing mixed up a batch of the correct red paint which Mike picked up in Everett and delivered it here.  I wish I’d taken a photo of Guy hugging that gallon of paint!  I didn’t realize what was going on at the time.

Painting the 747 with a roller

Watch the Museum of Flight’s website for an announcement.  Once both the painting and the interior renovations are done, then they will have an event.  We’ll be able to tour inside the aircraft, too!  And, FYI, since the Museum is privately funded, they are seeking donations for this project, as well.

I had further interesting conversation with Mike.  His 80+ y/o father is an artist.  He paintings hanging all over the world and works in oil, watercolor, etc.  Turns out the father retired from the same federal agency from which I am retired, though  some decades before I retired!

Moleskine pocket watercolor sketchbook; Daniel Smith Watercolors

A few more photos are here.

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Eraser demo

Yesterday I attended demo hosted by Daniel Smith Seattle.  It was presented by Scott Bates, of Canson.  He talked about drawing papers and erasers.  I never knew there is so much to know about erasers.  He described them as a drawing tool which can both erase pencil marks and be used as a blender.











Since Scott represents Canson, the presentation was about their papers.  Canson was the first to use microperforations for easy removal of papers from the pad.  They also have “true size” in which the torn out sheet is the size noted for the pad.  They are the largest maker of pads.  All the paper is milled in France and the sketch books assembled in USA.

He told us about a cheat some makers use to make their paper seem heavier.  They use a larger sheet to calculate the pounds.  It might not really be 90 pound paper if the size used as larger than standard.  It is best to use grams per meter squared (gsm) to compare.

All Canson tinted papers are dyed in the pulp. Cheaper or inferior papers spray on tint.  These will perform poorly, especially when erased.

Scott also showed us how a black-light can be used to detect optical brighteners.  If these are used in the making of the paper it will yellow over time.  Most Canson papers do not have optical brighteners.  Strathmore 400 drawing paper does.  Canson Artist series paper are their better papers within the line.


While he talked, Scott had us using pencil, paper and erasers.  We laid down 5 different pencil lines on 6 different Canson papers.  Then we erased a line with each different eraser.  We were to note how each pencil felt on the paper and then how each eraser performed on the various pencil marks and the various papers.

I really don’t use pencil much at all, so I did not discern very much from the exercise.  He said that experts at Canson can determine the type of paper blindfolded, just by how it feels when marking with pencil!  When I was young and taking art classes, I kept a pencil sketchbook.  Now I only use pencils for the 2-5 minute poses during the AFK Drink & Draw sessions!

All the ones we tested were Milan brand.  DS doesn’t carry them, though there are erasers in stock that are similar.  Scott advised us that every artist should have a range of erasers available that are used for different purposes.  Softer erasers are better on more textured papers.  I really liked the 1420 Master Gum.  Of course, the kneaded eraser is my most used in the sort of sketching I do.

Before the demo, I had an interesting discussion with staffer Leslie about her experiences with 3 different Urban Sketching groups.

Justin helped me in picking out a sable brush…. my first (given the curren embargo on importation… maybe my only one).  Then he gave me a sample of Daniel Smith watercolor Pearlescent Shimmer.  I haven’t tried either the brush or the paint yet!

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Magnuson Park

The Friday Ad Hoc group of Urban Sketchers Seattle went to Magnuson  Park today. It covers a point that extends into Lake Washington.  Some people sketched the climbing wall at the Mountaineer Club.  I was inspired by Mark Ryan’s sketch of the Fin Project, done the last time USk Seattle was here in May 2012.   I was determined to find my way to this sculpture installation.  “Made from submarine fins, this sculptural installation is arranged to represent a pod of whales. Dedicated in 1998, this art work was created by John T. Young.”  More about Fin Art can be found here.

I had time for 2 sketches.

Fins and Kite Hill

Michele took a photo of me sketching among the Fins.

We gathered again to share our sketches.

Since I’d battle the traffic through Seattle to get there, I decided to find Sound Garden.  It is on the grounds of the NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration).  Brochure
This installation features pipes that generate muted tones, with the pitch dependent on the direction and velocity of the wind….. made in 1983 by Douglas R. Hollis”

I sat in the middle of the installation to do this sketch.  As the wind increased, so did the sounds, which were quite pleasant.

All the photos are here. 



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Darth Malice

This was my third Drink and Draw at AFK. (website down at the moment… or on Facebook )   Our model tonight is “Darth Malice” a Sith (think Darth Vader in Star Wars).  While driving down to the restaurant, I had the bright idea to use black and red watercolor pencils for the quick sketches.   As usual, we started with 2 minute sketches, progressed to 5 minutes and then a couple longer poses of 10 minutes or so.

A friend of the model lay on the floor as a “victim”.  I focused on him rather than our formal model as I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to draw the figure in such a foreshortened form!

Finally, a watercolor sketch in the Stillman & Birn Beta book during a 10 minute pose:

It has been 3 weeks since I last attended. I was gone, then the organizers were gone.  During that time, AFK has changed their menu.  Now I have a new favorite, very fitting for my Jedi side: Dagobah Bruschetta (“There is no try.  There is only pesto brushed crostine, topped with tomato, basil and provalone”).  Yum

At the end of the evening, our model, Darth Malice, posed with the boss.

I did geek out with her a little on props.  Her lightsabers are from  Ultrasabers, which is where I’ve gotten a couple of mine.  She also has the original covertec clip, that is hard to fine now.  I got mine in about 2001 (for far less than listed at that link…. I got it from the company, which no longer sells this type that was actually used in the films).

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This week’s Urban Sketchers weekly theme is “Reflections”.   I’ve sketched this astronaut statue at the Museum of Flight before.  Today I did just the detail of the helmet with the reflection.

Moleskine pocket watercolor sketchbook
watercolor pencils
Daniel Smith Watercolors

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Two Years

WordPress tells me I registered 2 years ago 21 August.  Time flies when you’re having fun making ART!

I’ve been blogging about my sketching longer than that.  I just uploaded a lot of older posts transferred from Livejournal to WordPress on that day in 2012.

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Who knew?!

I certainly didn’t.  I know I’ve checked the Pentalic website but did not see this.  One of my favorite watercolor sketchbooks is the Pentalic Aqua 5×8 inches , which I’ve mentioned before.  (ooo…. that’s a good price at the link!).   I was in the University of Washington bookstore at the Tacoma campus today.  I saw a 3×5 inch version!

I’ve been buying up all the old style Moleskine pocket watercolor books I can find on sale (or with a coupon…. 50% off at Aaron Brothers!) because of Liz Steel’s review of the change that’s coming.  I use them in my tiny every-day-carry sketchkit that is always in my purse-like-Timbuk2-bag

The paper in the Pentalic Aqua is superior to Moleskine’s.  It’s 140 pound cold pressed watercolor.  Recently Jame Gurney posted that he contacted Pentalic and was told it is 100% cotton.

Compared to the Moleskine pocket watercolor book


It has more pages

This small version was $13 at the UW Tacoma bookstore.  UW Seattle is the only place in town to buy the 5×8 version but I’ve never noticed the 3×5 one there.

Update:  Received an email in reply to my question:  “Our smaller version Watercolor Sketch is still available (018033). I couldn’t find any sold online”.

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